Stepping Back

A week ago today a friend sent me a link to a Third Base Politics post which announced, while discussing Governor Kasich’s plan to pay for an income tax cut by raising oil & gas severance taxes, “that’s exactly why we at GOHP & 3BP wholeheartedly support this proposal.” Given that my name is still in the author list here at Third Base Politics and I no-heartedly support the governor’s severance tax proposal, I felt compelled to write a brief response.
 
This week I agreed (happily, I might add) not to post anything further about the severance tax issue here. Then I saw that I was being quoted and subsequently ridiculed for reporting on what the governor’s office is characterizing as a “push poll” because it demonstrates broad opposition to the logic the severance tax plan is built on.

In lieu of some entertainingly epic meltdown, I will simply link to a recent Third Base Politics story endorsing a huge tax hike in Cleveland.


Considering that I cover nearly everything I’m interested in writing about in my work for Media Trackers Ohio, I’ve decided there is little upside in continuing to write intermittent posts for Third Base Politics. You can find me on Twitter at @jasonahart, and I’ll continue submitting the occasional story to Breitbart.com in my free time so long as they keep publishing ’em.


Thanks for reading!

Severance Tax Counterpoints

A conservative in Ohio has no shortage of union-funded foes, so I try to avoid arguments with friends. But I want to note that I still think the governor’s severance tax proposal is a bad idea.

For the legion of 3BP readers who have been marching outside 3BP Global Headquarters chanting “WHERE IS JASON?” and for the benefit of anyone just discovering the site, I’ve been critical of the governor’s plan in work for my day job at Media Trackers Ohio. Lest anyone think this is a case of me trying to draw some silly line in the sand, keep in mind the proposal is also opposed by AFP Ohio, the Ohio Liberty Coalition, and the National Taxpayers Union.

Several weeks of researching this topic have hardly made me an expert on the oil & gas industry, so let’s just look at the logic here: the governor is proposing we raise taxes on a specific industry to fund an income tax cut statewide. That’s the absolute bottom line, when you distill the issue. Is this something conservatives ought to support?

Big Oil, with Ohio taxpayers innocuously along for the ride

The governor has alluded to the many aspects of Ohio’s government that remain broken, so why double down on the severance tax proposal when it faces broad opposition? Why not use the power of the bully pulpit to drive repairs to one of those other innumerable broken things?

Obviously an income tax cut would be great for businesses and individuals, but I’m baffled by the decision to make a small income tax cut paid for by a tax hike on fracking the metaphorical hill to fight on. Needless to say, I resent the implication that any opposition to the plan means opponents are in Big Oil’s pocket.

The administration assures us that even at the rate the governor proposes, taxes would be outrageously low and wouldn’t deter investment. If that’s the case and the administration knows the exact point where investment will be deterred, why not push the rate higher? After all, the tax revenue is going to be used for a tax cut.

That’s a big part of my personal opposition: Governor Kasich’s populist don’t-let-the-oil-barons-drink-your-milkshake sales pitch veers into the territory of, as AFP puts it, “picking winners and losers.” Regardless of who’s in office, I’m suspicious of suggestions that we can make Ohio better with revenue-neutral number juggling.

Completely off-topic, did Blogger make the visual editor worse again? I must be spoiled from using WordPress, because every time I log in to Blogger it seems like the editor has been zapped again with a de-evolution ray.

…and with that reference to the live-action Mario Bros. movie I’ve mercifully forgotten most of, everyone have a good weekend!

Media Trackers Recap: June 11, 2012

Here’s a review of some stories you may have missed at Media Trackers Ohio recently!

To keep up with everything we cover at Media Trackers Ohio, bookmark http://ohio.mediatrackers.org, “Like” us on Facebook, and follow @MediaTrackersOH on Twitter!

Follow @jasonahart

Media Trackers Month-in-Review

Regular Third Base Politics readers may know I recently left a web development position at The Ohio State University to take on the role of Communications Director in the new Columbus office of Media Trackers. Media Trackers is a conservative nonprofit dedicated to covering stories legacy media outlets botch or simply ignore. In what I’m planning to make a more regular feature here at 3BP, here’s what we’ve been working on at my day job!

The first Media Trackers Ohio analysis focused on We Are Ohio’s funding — which will remain important going forward, as the union bosses have clearly decided the “We Are Ohio” brand helps their cause. Looking at final numbers as only GOHP Blog bothered to do after last fall’s election, we found that We Are Ohio took more than $20 million from unions outside the state.

In a follow-up piece, we dug even deeper into We Are Ohio contribution data. All said and done, the union front group got more than 95% of its funding from unions in 2011. Donations from individual Ohioans were outweighed by money from unions at a ratio of 91:1.

How’s that for a grassroots, citizen-driven movement? Makes you wish you listened more closely to the union shills who troll 3BP comments, I bet!

Media Trackers Ohio has reported on the Newark City Schools decision to spend textbook money on expensive Mac hardware instead, state bailouts of several school districts, and the response of one bailed-out district.

We’ve covered an attempt by Ohio University board members to block “fracking,” as well as legal issues with the OU board’s arguments.

We reported on the alleged bomb plot by Occupy Cleveland leaders, the extensive ties (with pictures!) between ProgressOhio and the Occupy movement, the trend of folding Occupy camps across the state, and the many warning signs displayed by Occupy Cleveland before the FBI bust.

We did a post-mortem on HB 194, the election reform bill kneecapped by Secretary of State Husted, and looked at “progressive” efforts to kill any changes that could impede their favored candidates this fall.

We’ve discussed redistricting, starting with some background analysis of the complex issue and then looking at the forces behind “Voters First Ohio.” When We Are Ohio joined Voters First, we reported how this proved Voters First is little more than another union front.

We recapped delays in Ohio’s Obamacare-mandated health insurance exchange and shared an update from Lt. Governor Taylor — the state plans to hold off until the upcoming Supreme Court decision, but should refuse to implement any portion of the miserable Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Recently, we’ve reported on the angry, pathetic socialists at Occupy Columbus and uncovered a long list of warning signs from Occupy Columbus leader “Verbz Vegas,” aka Jesse Kloth.

As you can see, we’ve been busy. For the latest coverage on all these issues and as much other Ohio news as two guys can keep tabs on, check out http://ohio.mediatrackers.org, follow @MediaTrackersOH on Twitter, or visit Media Trackers Ohio on Facebook!

Follow @jasonahart

Do Your Part: Soak The Rich!

SoakTheRich.us started as a series of pie charts and turned into something much bigger.  Here’s why!

Promising the moon and hoping no one will ask, “hey, what’s a moon cost these days, anyway?” turns out to be the one business model Progressives endorse. If you’re an Obama bundler, a union boss, or Ezra Klein, it’s great news — you can get rich selling snake oil, riding a limo to Occupy Wall Street rallies, or trying to make intensely stupid things sound smart. If you’re a productive human being, the results are less sunny: national debt now exceeds GDP and has piled up to roughly $50,000 per American.

That’s where Soak The Rich comes in. Corporations and CEOs have tons of money, and the U.S. has tons of debt, so the math should work out: Tons – Tons = No worries! Using Soak The Rich, you can track the impact of doubling corporate income taxes and taking CEO pay from S&P 500 companies simply by clicking industries in a list. There’s even a “Soak All Industries” button for the benefit of MSNBC employees! When you’re done, you can see detailed results and brag about your good deed on Twitter.

Hear a friend or relative parroting the “fair share” meme? Share Soak The Rich and then ask if they have any better ideas!

Follow Jason on Twitter: @jasonahart

Sherrod Brown’s Record

A quick response to Bytor’s entry about the first Sherrod Brown campaign ad of the cycle, if you’ll indulge me. The recent plunge in my posting rate here at 3BP is likely to continue, as I’m now the communications director for Media Trackers Ohio. With that in mind, I won’t be eliciting votes or donations for or against any candidates in the future.

For one of my last big free-time projects, I translated past ACU scorecards into a timeline view of Sherrod Brown’s votes since he entered Congress in 1993. Check out facebook.com/SherrodVotes, and share the page with your friends! I would suggest that you “Like” any of the votes that you, well, like… but that’s probably a lost cause.

Then again, maybe I’ve misread the readership of 3BP and the citizens of Ohio. Sherrod shares your priorities if you:

  • support Obamacare …and…
  • think robbing Peter to pay Paul “stimulates” the economy …and…
  • want to raise taxes rather than reform entitlement programs …and…
  • support increased government control of all those evil Wall Street companies (which anyone holding shares of a mutual fund has a stake in) …and…
  • oppose the Second Amendment …and…
  • support abortion up to the moment of birth, and demand taxpayers pay for it …and…
  • trust the United Nations and the International Criminal Court more than the United States …and…
  • oppose tax cuts unless they’re used to reward a special interest group or nudge the populace into acting more “Progressive” …and…
  • oppose free trade

If you think I’m making stuff up, look at Sherrod Brown’s record. If you wonder why an incumbent backed by the bottomless pockets of Big Labor is attacking straight out of the gate, look at Sherrod Brown’s record.

Not only has Sherrod Brown been a leading cheerleader for every policy President Obama has pushed, Sherrod was voting for Obama-grade leftism long before Barack Obama came onto the scene. This is a fact established by simply looking at his record. I hope you’ll do so, and I hope you’ll remind your family and friends to do the same.

DeWine Out as Ohio GOP Chairman

As Bytor just noted, Kevin DeWine has submitted his resignation as Chairman of the Ohio Republican Party:

DeWine, 44, has prepared a letter to the 66 members of the GOP state central committee, saying he will step down when the party’s governing body meets to reorganize on April 13.

Joe Hallett of The Columbus Dispatch remains fixated on Kasich’s insistence that DeWine step down, painting DeWine as the victim in a nefarious Kasich power play. At Third Base Politics, GOHP Blog, and elsewhere, we’ve listed more than a few reasons Ohio conservatives wanted DeWine out, but oh well. We’re not the first conservative bloggers to be ignored by the local paper!

To his credit, Hallett does mention Governor Kasich and Speaker Batchelder’s complaints about DeWine… in the next-to-last paragraph:

Kasich and his allies, including House Speaker William G. Batchelder, a Medina Republican, complained that DeWine was a divisive leader who showed favoritism to certain Republican candidates and elected officials and hostility to others.

There are two ways of looking at this story, which seems to be approaching an overdue conclusion:

  1.  In the Dispatch version, touted by dwindling numbers of DeWine loyalists, Kasich is a whiny grump who wants to control everything. This telling is also popular among Democrats, who are fighting internally over whether the contemptible Chris “Tea Party F***ers” Redfern should remain their chairman.
  2. As Bytor and I have tried to convey, there were serious issues with DeWine’s chairmanship before the governor asked him to step down in 2010. We don’t know who the ORP State Central Committee will choose in his place, but DeWine’s public dust-up with Kasich and Batchelder proved he was not the man for the job.

Whatever the backstory, DeWine’s response to the March election bounced from “I won” to “I won but I won’t run for reelection in 2013,” to “the party is more important so I’m resigning immediately, even though I won” in less than a month. History may prove us wrong for siding with Governor Kasich, but the argument that DeWine is loved by all save a few angry rubes has completely dissolved.

Now the State Central Committee will have the difficult task of choosing a new chairman. In the meantime…

Former Ohio GOP Chairman Robert T. Bennett, 73, is poised to come out of retirement to lead the party, at least on an interim basis. He is expected to take over at the April 13 meeting.

Bennett, the most successful party chairman in state history, was an intermediary in the past week between DeWine and Kasich allies, including Beth Hansen, Kasich’s chief of staff, and former Ohio House Speaker Jo Ann Davidson of Reynoldsburg.

I commend Kevin DeWine’s decision to step down and end this ugly chapter of ORP history; now let’s get back to work. Barack Obama will be punching below the belt, especially in Ohio – and you know wherever there are Progressive economic fallacies pushed with Big Labor money and media complicity, Sherrod Brown is never far away!

For Kevin DeWine’s complete resignation letter, see Ohio Capital Blog.

Follow Jason on Twitter: @jasonahart

Sherrod Brown Compares GOP Governors to Hitler, Stalin

Last year while governors across the Midwest worked to reform broken public union laws, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) slandered them in a speech that could have easily been written by one of the millionaire “leaders” at SEIU, NEA, or AFSCME.

During one of his stemwinders about the wondrous things unions do, Sherrod dropped a reductio ad Hitlerum on Governor Kasich (OH), Governor Walker (WI), and Governor Christie (NJ):

Bizarrely, Sherrod claims he’s not comparing Kasich, Walker, and Christie to Hitler, Stalin, and Mubarak in the middle of comparing them to Hitler, Stalin, and Mubarak. While he’s conflating overdue reforms with mass murder, Sherrod also repeats one of his favorite deceptions by pretending government unions are the same as private industry unions.

Several media outlets noted the dictatorial portion of Sherrod’s rant, and the next day he apologized for stepping in it:

“But in speaking about this, I should not have mentioned the hostility of tyrants like Hitler to unions,” Brown said. “I don’t want my mistake to distract from the critical debate in Ohio, and I apologize for it.”

Sherrod didn’t want “to distract from the critical debate” over public union reform! Even now, slamming Ohio’s Senate Bill 5 as an “attack on workers” is the cornerstone of Sherrod’s stump speech – yet he always runs out of time before debating any of the critical specifics. Big Labor’s opponents are evil because it’s evil to oppose Big Labor.

Sherrod Brown is desperate to get additional mileage out of the union bosses’ $40 million smear campaign, but remember what was actually in Ohio’s union reform bill:

  • Replace automatic step increases with merit pay for public workers.
  • Require public employees to pay 10% of their pension costs and 15% of their health insurance costs.
  • End forced payment of “fair-share” fees for public workers who don’t want to join a union.
  • End last-in, first-out firing policies, requiring considerations other than tenure when local governments must make layoffs.
  • Public workers retain the privilege of collective bargaining for wages & working conditions, but may no longer go on strike against the public.

No less the Progressive than FDR, patron saint of caring Democrats, knew public unions are an awful idea. Either Sherrod Brown is too dense to recognize government and private industry are different, or he’s been lying for years to protect his favorite interest group.


Footnote: This clip is from the same speech where Sherrod claimed public union reform violates Christian principles. Refer again to the bullet points above; those are the sort of hateful reforms that get you slandered on the Senate floor as a tyrannical heathen by Sherrod Brown.

Transcript of the C-SPAN clip follows.

Sherrod Brown: Because we, as a country, we stand for a more egalitarian workforce. We stand for worker rights. We believe workers should organize and bargain collectively, if they choose. We believe in a minimum wage. We believe in workers’ compensation. We believe in worker safety. We believe in human rights, and all of that is about the labor movement, and, you know, you can support labor rights in Guatemala, but you better damn be sure you’re supporting labor rights in Wilmington, and Columbus, and Cleveland, and, and Detroit, and Dover, Delaware, and everywhere else.

And that’s, um, that’s, those were, those were some of the words Secretary Clinton said – I’m obviously expanding on them – but, as a nation, you know, I I I I look back at history and some of the worst governments we’ve ever had, you know one of the first things they did? They went after the trade unions. Hitler didn’t want unions, Stalin didn’t want unions, Mubarak didn’t want independent unions. These, these autocrats in history don’t want independent unions. So when I see, when I see in Egypt, or if I see in, in the old Soviet Russia, or I see – history tells me about Germany – I, I, I’m not, I’m not comparing what’s happening to the workers in Madison or in Columbus to Hitler and Stalin, but I am saying that history teaches us that unions are a very positive force in society that creates a middle class and that protects our freedom.

End in Sight for ORP Fight?

If you’ve followed the recent head-butting between Governor Kasich and Ohio Republican Party (ORP) Chairman Kevin DeWine, you know Tuesday was not DeWine’s day. If you’re a Third Base Politics regular, you also know where I stand on the subject: Kevin DeWine has squandered the trust of conservative activists whose support ORP desperately needs this year, and should step down.

Following a couple of posts in January, I’ve been happy to defer to more knowledgeable observers for ORP State Central Committee coverage. The inside baseball of this dispute doesn’t interest me much, but Kevin DeWine’s actions over the past two months validate the concerns I shared in December.

Yesterday Bytor posted a list of Central Committee winners, highlighting known losses for DeWine. Today ONN’s Jim Heath tweeted a series of updates & questions about the post-election Central Committee meeting DeWine has scheduled:

Actually, the meeting will determine who leads ORP only if a vote is called. Will Kevin DeWine (who has convinced at least 1 person of his success Tuesday) include an up-or-down vote on his continued chairmanship in the agenda?

My impression is that Team Kasich sought candidates who shared the governor’s belief DeWine should be replaced, as opposed to candidates who would support a specific replacement. I would be surprised if Governor Kasich endorsed anyone between now and April 13th.

This gets back to inside baseball: I don’t know enough to comment on the good, bad, or ugly attributes of any potential candidates. I do know that instead of discreetly resolving his issues with Kasich and Speaker Batchelder, Kevin DeWine turned a dispute into a debacle – after pouring big bucks into electing his cousin Mike DeWine and his pal Jon Husted, dishonestly appropriating the Tea Party brand in the process.

The fact that DeWine is calling a meeting does indeed suggest he’s confident of his position. The fact that the meeting is the same day as the post-primary campaign finance filing deadline tells a different story! Given recent history, Committee members will want to know: how much donor money did DeWine spend defending himself, and how much of that went to disgraced consultant Brett Buerck?

Smoldering in the background is DeWine’s implausible claim to have disqualified several Kasich-backed Central Committee candidates with a last-minute rule change. If DeWine attempts to block elected Committee members from being placed, this whole mess could get a whole lot messier.

Regardless of whether you think DeWine should stay or go, a vote of the new ORP State Central Committee is the only way for this fight to end. Friday the 13th can’t come soon enough.

Cross-posted at jasonahart.com.