The Corner

Obama vs. Suburbs: In Ohio!

If suburban swing voters in the ultimate swing-state of Ohio knew what Obama had in store for them in a second term, they’d swing to Romney in a heartbeat. I spell it all out today in a piece called “Obama’s Plan for Ohio.” Here’s the gist.

The very left-leaning “regional equity movement” (“regionalism” for short) is extraordinarily strong in Ohio. The goal of Ohio’s left-regionalists is to force “tax-base sharing” on the suburbs. In other words, regionalists want to bail out Ohio’s cities by forcibly diverting suburban tax receipts to urban treasuries. Ohio’s regionalists also hope to block further highway construction and commercial development in the suburbs. Regionalists blame the troubles of Ohio’s cities on taxpayer flight. By blocking suburban highway construction and commercial development, they want to prevent more city-dwellers from moving to suburbs, and also hope to press suburbanites back to the cities. Unfortunately, development bans would be job-killers as well as tax-killers for Ohio’s suburbs.

Based in Cleveland and other urban centers of Northeast Ohio, the state’s regionalists came surprisingly close to enacting this decidedly anti-suburban agenda back when the Democrats controlled Columbus in 2009–2010. The rise of the Tea Party in 2010 and a major corruption scandal in Cleveland-centric Cuyahoga County dashed these plans. The idea of forcing suburban taxpayers to bail out a blatantly corrupt and mismanaged Cuyahoga County government in an election year was a non-starter.#more#

Ohio’s regionalist agenda hasn’t disappeared, however. A major grant to Northeast Ohio under President Obama’s little-known but potentially revolutionary Sustainable Communities Initiative has given the state’s regionalists a second shot. A longtime supporter of the left-regionalist agenda, Obama has been on board, not only with federal recognition and financial support for Ohio’s regionalists, but with pro-regionalist lobbying of local politicians coordinated from the White House. In fact, White House lobbying for the full left-regionalist agenda in Ohio has been channeled through the very same Alinskyite community organizers who trained and worked with Obama in Chicago.

Should Obama be re-elected, he could very well place aid leverage behind the recommendations of the now-federally-recognized regionalist planners in Northeast Ohio. Between the strings Obama could put on federal aid and continued White House lobbying of local politicos, the full regionalist agenda could well be enacted in Columbus in 2013. Should Obama sit in the White House as a Democrat retook the Ohio Governor’s mansion in 2014, passage of the full regionalist agenda in the state would have to be reckoned more likely than not.

I explore these themes in my new book, Spreading the Wealth: How Obama is Robbing the Suburbs to Pay for the Cities, but today for the first time I show how the regionalist agenda could easily sweep over the ultimate battleground state of Ohio in a second Obama term. That would gore the ox of the very suburban Ohio swing-voters who hold the outcome of this election in their hands. Will they learn what’s in store for them before it’s too late?

When Obama said in that newly released 2007 video, “We don’t need to build more highways out in the suburbs,” it was no passing remark. It was part of Obama’s deep and longstanding commitment to the heavily redistributionist regionalist agenda, and it applies very directly to the president’s second-term plans for the suburban swing voters of Ohio. For the play-by-play, see “Obama’s Plan for Ohio.”


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