That was a close one.

When Ohio voters elected John Kasich as Governor, they also voted to end the 3-C passenger rail project.

And a recent column from Brent Larkin at the Cleveland Plain Dealer helped us realize just how close we came to making a huge mistake.

…in a vain attempt to sell this project to the public, state officials changed their story so often it made the head swim. Truth is, one needn’t be Nostradamus to project cost overruns totaling hundreds of millions of dollars — with the money to cover those overruns coming directly from the pockets of Ohio taxpayers.

When the Obama administration offered Ohio $400 million for the rail project, Strickland administration officials essentially said, “Sure, that should cover it.” But just months earlier, as part of the state’s application to the feds, the administration placed the startup cost at $563.7 million.

It gets worse.

A Government Accounting Office study of transportation projects, requested by Congress, concluded in March 2009 that passenger rail projects “had the highest cost escalation out of all the transportation modes studied — averaging 45 percent higher than estimated.”

ODOT’s ridership predictions called for an annual taxpayer subsidy of $17 million over 20 years. But that same GAO report cited a study of 27 rail projects that found ridership forecasts for 90 percent of the projects were overestimated, with 67 percent overestimated by more than two-thirds.

What a mess.

Members of the train cult will keep making up projections about jobs lost. Of course, these were the same people that said Ted Strickland’s internal poll numbers had him up six points.

The fact is, it’s easy to make numbers up.

But with an $8 billion deficit reality staring us in the face, we can’t afford to play games with the exact kind of project that has been historically proven to be a net negative.

To solve the budget crisis Ted Strickland leaves behind, we need to go with what works – reducing government, not increasing its obligations.

3BP: The Best of 2010

Well, it’s the end of 2010.

And it’s been one hell of a ride.

This is the 1,361st post on 3BP this year. For the mathematically challenged, that’s nearly four posts a day, every day. Considering how rarely I posted on weekends, that’s pretty ridiculous.

Here are a few of my favorites, with a little commentary to go with them…

January
The State of the State is…
A hysterical list of guesses from several 3BP fans on twitter on how Strickland would describe the State of the State.
Day 1 Fail.

A breakdown of Strickland’s awful rollout.
More Buzz about the White House worrying about Ohio…

One of my favorite pictures of the 2010 campaign: The Organizing for America grassroots powerhouse.
Kasich’s LG – Who will it be?
3BP nails Kasich’s pick.

February
Breaking it Down – The 2/23 Quinnipiac Ohio Gubernatorial Poll
A poll showing Strickland in the lead also showed some of the first indications of a Kasich victory. 
Where in Ohio is Yvette McGee Brown? – THE MUSIC VIDEO!!!
The funniest in the “Where is Yvette” series. 
Ganley’s Big Move – What it means in Ohio & the Nation
Tom Ganley may have lost, but his challenge to Sutton helped the dominos drop across Ohio. 
Ted Strickland and Chris Redfern keep finding ways to lose.
The first hint that Cuyahoga County was going to cause major problems for Team Strickland. 
“Green” Jobs in Ohio – The big joke.
A breakdown of the Strickland green job fallacy.

March 
An Interview with Rick May: On the Front Lines of the Balanced Budget Battle
A 3BP exclusive interview with Kasich’s Budget Committee Staff Director from his days in Congress. 
Ted Strickland: Mission Accomplished! 
Some of my absolutely favorite photoshops mocking Strickland’s ALL IS WELL moment. 
Strickland wins Governor’s Cup! Ohio Saved!
“Say JELLO to prosperity!” 

April 
Democrats blew it with Lee.
I finally get to speak my mind about why the ODP was so incredibly stupid in backing Lee Fisher over Jennifer Brunner. 
Lis Smith thinks Ted Strickland has a “glass jaw”.
The Lis Smith screw-up that finally got me unblocked from Ted Strickland’s twitter feed. 
BREAKING: YVETTE FOUND!
After a few months of searching, Strickland’s LG candidate was found…and the results were hysterical. 
Lee Fisher is a hypocrite.
Video showing just how big a schmuck Lee Fisher really was for the Dems.  
The best of “Ohio Democratic Party Books”…
Easily in my top three favorite posts of the year.

May 
The stimulus is not working. Unless you’re in the 43215 zip code.
Convenient. 
Hallett is wrong: Ted Strickland is responsible for job loss.
Whether he likes it or not. 
It’s the jobs, stupid.
A headline from the Cincy Enquirer that defined the campaign.  
You want to talk voter enthusiasm?
The primary vote tallies really did indicate bad news for Dems. 
Ted TV
Strickland showed his hand early. And we laughed.

June 
If it walks like a duck, and talks like a duck, then it’s probably….
The OSFC scandal may have defined Strickland best. 
Fisher campaign in total and complete disarray
We start wondering less about whether Fisher can win, and more about how badly he will effect down ticket races. Which is exactly what happened.  
BREAKING: Kilroy staff kicks public out of official congressional event
Classy move, Mary Jo.  
The Domino’s Theory
Another in my top three favorite posts of the year. This theory turned out more accurate than I ever expected.

July
Kasich is winning the New Media war
Winning the war online, and why it’s so important.
Kasich supporters should welcome President Obama with open arms
An early analysis of why Obama’s appearance would only help Kasich
Guess which Chairman is the grown-up.
The ODP should consider taking Chris Redfern’s twitter privileges away.
Lee Fisher can’t even be honest about Independence Day parades.
This is just sad.

August 
Worst Campaign Literature of the year?
Hysterical.
[EXCLUSIVE!!!] OMGZ!!11!!!! SNEAKZ PREVIEWZ OF NEW STRICKKKKKLAND COMMURCIAL!!!!
And you saw it here first.
Enthusiasm!
This was just embarrassing.

September 
Oh no. Not another one.
Trying to list all of Strickland’s scandals is exhausting work.
Ohio Dems: Feel the Enthusiasm!!! – Part 396
The first official sign that things were going to go badly for Dems in November.
Is Strickland closing the gap on Independents?
Dems said yes. I said no. And the exit polls proved me right.
“How to Alienate People and Stoke Class Warfare” by Lis Smith
One of the many times Strickland asked for an endorsement, got denied, then said they didn’t want it anyway.

October
Team Strickland overly optimistic in Cleveland [UPDATE: Really funny pic added]
The picture that defined the end of Strickland’s campaign.
What I did on my Saturday afternoon.
I get stalked at a Strickland rally. Hilarity ensues.
I believe.
Ted failed.
Absentees show the enthusiasm gap is for real in Ohio
More previews of the bad news to come for Ohio Dems.
Has Strickland given up on winning over Independents?
Yes, he did.
How bad has it gotten for Ohio House Democrats?
They were paying to promote Libertarian candidates. Ouch.

November 
Getting real on Ohio’s jobs crisis
WCMH in Columbus steps up and teaches us a thing or two about unemployment numbers.
Is Strickland’s shadow government already in place?
Ted Strickland isn’t taking losing too well.
A final look at the Ohio Gubernatorial 2010 Exit Poll
What worked. What didn’t. What mattered.
That’ll show ya.
I tried to teach my readers a few things about reading polls these past few months. The results proved me right.
Congratulations Governor-Elect Kasich!
My favorite post of the year. 3BP is the first to call it!

December
Kasich gets it.
Unlike Strickland, Kasich understands he’s there to do a job first, and not worry about re-election.
Strickland hates Cleveland. Cleveland responds, “who?”
LOL!
In defeat, Strickland shows the NRA his true colors
Ted proves he was no friend to supporters of the 2nd Amendment.
Historic.
Kasich’s win was more impressive than you knew.
Victory!
The 3-C is no more.

That’s it.

Here’s to a happy new year.

A New Day. And a New Way.

Kasich gets it.

I absolutely love this quote from John Kasich’s recent appearance on Fox to discuss budget issues.

I got elected to be a servant. I did not get elected to get re-elected. I told everyone what I was going to do. I’m going to balance the budget. I’m going to reduce taxes. And I’m going to make Ohio business friendly and competitive with states around the country. Period. Exclamation point.”

Awesome.

Now, I know what our friends on the left would say in response.

“Strickland balanced the budget.” …by using billions in one-time federal funding and raising taxes.
“Strickland cut taxes.” Actually, only once did Strickland get in the way of the tax cuts that were passed and signed by a previous Administration.
“Strickland made Ohio business friendly.” LOLOLOLOL! 

The fact is, John Kasich stands in direct contrast from Governor Strickland.

  • He’s not going to use a federal bailout to kick the can down the road.
  • Despite the massive hole left him by Strickland, he’s not going to break on the principles of the NTU No New Taxes pledge he signed during the campaign.
  • He won’t embrace the status quo.

Now compare that style of leadership with the absolutely devastating editorial hitting Strickland in today’s Plain Dealer:

…voters here were also put off by Strickland’s failure to anticipate the recession and begin retooling state spending in the way that Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson did before the deluge hit. Had he taken similar steps, Strickland might not have to be so worried about what Gov.-elect John Kasich will do to escape the fiscal crater he inherits. Some real salesmanship might also have built public support for the 3C rail project that Kasich has killed and Strickland now mourns.

What do every one of these failures have in common? Timid leadership. That’s what drove Strickland out of office. Maybe some day, he’ll look in a mirror and understand.

Ka-blammo.

A New Day can’t get here soon enough.

Strickland hates Cleveland. Cleveland responds, "who?"

If Strickland ever considers a rematch with Kasich in 2014, this article in today’s Cleveland Plain Dealer won’t help.

Strickland says he wants to stay relevant in Ohio politics. Apparently to him, the best way to do that is give his political base the middle finger on the front page of the Plain Dealer.

If you’ll recall, the lack of Democratic turnout in Cuyahoga County was a major factor in how the race turned out. So, to be fair, Strickland should be bummed about his lack of support up there.

But he has no one to blame but himself.

I take you back to an article in the Plain Dealer back in February

Nationally known Democratic strategist Jerry Austin of Cleveland said this ticket will prove what elected officials in Northeast Ohio had suspected all along from the Strickland administration.

“Politicians up here have expressed frustration about the lack of attention from this administration for a while,” Austin said. “And now you turn around and there is no one on the ballot from Cuyahoga County. Well, now people think there is absolutely a disregard for Northeast Ohio going on.”

Strickland ignored Cuyahoga for four years. Then all of a sudden he’s up in arms when they didn’t turn out to vote for him.

Well, I hate to say I told ya so, Governor. But I did.

3BP in February…

The vitally important Democratic political activists of Northeast Ohio are clearly unhappy with the Ohio Democratic Party and their slate of statewide candidates.

This kind of frustration, if it can’t be turned around quick, will make it extremely difficult for Ted Strickland & Co. to get out the vote in the all-important Democratic bastion of Northeast Ohio.

And it could cost them dearly.

Oops.

Two down.

It’s official. Per the U.S. Census, Ohio will lose two congressional seats.

Not only does that mean less clout in Congress, but also fewer electoral votes and lesser importance in the Presidential race.

Unfortunately for Ohio, people don’t just vote in November. They also use their feet.

The state of the state can be just as well defined by whom it elects as by who stays and who leaves. If people like living here, they stay. If they don’t, they leave. It sounds so simple, but it’s very important.

People may move for weather, but Ohio’s weather hasn’t changed much since its founding in 1803, and yet it’s over the past couple decades we’ve lost population to other states. That means other factors are coming into play.

Ohio isn’t attractive anymore. We need to change the way we do business.

Ohio needs a reboot.

As for redistricting itself, we all know it’s up to the Republicans in Ohio who will lose those seats.

Will it be two Democrats? Will they split it?

Who goes?

All kinds of theories are out there right now.

Nate Silver at the New York Times has some ideas

Quite a few Ohio districts have lost population outright since 2000. The one that has lost the most is 11th district, which covers most of Cleveland, but it is so blue that a core of Democratic voters will remain to ensure Marcia Fudge’s re-election to Congress. Dennis Kucinich’s neighboring 10th district, however, has also lost ground, and he could be vulnerable. Some of Ohio’s Republican-leaning and swing areas, like the Appalachian 6th district that Republicans took over in November, have lost population as well. But the Republicans in control of the redistricting process will do their best to see that the two seats the state loses both come from the Democratic column.

So what do you think? Who goes? Who stays?

This is how you want to go out? Really?

“He brought jobs to Ohio.”

“He made the tough decisions to solve Ohio’s budget crisis.”

“He gave us the 3-C passenger rail project.”

None of those will be Ted Strickland’s legacy in Ohio.

So, with nothing else to hang his hat on, this seems to be how Strickland wants to go out…

A whiny, grumpy, old, do-nothing.

The article goes on to quote the Governor…

The Democratic governor also said he is concerned that Kasich’s “bombastic rhetoric” could presage an irresponsible approach to governing with the state facing a projected $8 billion budget shortfall.

“I would have less concern if I felt like there was any compassion coming from Mr. Kasich when he talks about what he’s going to do,” Strickland said. “I don’t hear it; I don’t sense it; I don’t feel it. And that troubles me.”

Anyone else see the irony of an outgoing Governor complaining about “bombastic rhetoric” in an article where he spends the entire time throwing bombs at the incoming Governor?

Did Taft do this to Strickland?

Did Celeste give this kind of treatment to Voinovich?

Is this classless and surprisingly childish rhetoric really how Ted Strickland wants to be remembered?

Considering the historic nature of Kasich’s victory, I can understand being upset about losing. These kind of wins just don’t happen in Ohio.

But ladies and gentlemen, things get even more weird.

Strickland also invoked what he called his “black helicopter theory,” a popular reference to conspiracy theories such as the military using black helicopters for clandestine purposes.

In the governor’s theory, Kasich and legislative Republicans want to weaken public-employee unions by blaming their pay and benefits for the state’s economic woes. The real culprits for the worst recession since the Great Depression, Strickland said, are international forces and failure of the federal government to police greed on Wall Street.

Uhhhhh….

Black helicopters?

Really? That’s what you’re talking about in your big exit interview with the state media?

To their credit, this was the Kasich team’s response…

Kasich’s office declined to respond to the governor’s comments.

Their restraint is admirable.

Ted Strickland should have wished Kasich well, offered to help however he can, and move on.

That’s the dignified thing to do as an outgoing Governor.

But considering how he ran the state into the ground, I can’t say I’m all that surprised at how this interview of his turned out.

Goodbye, Governor.

In defeat, Strickland shows the NRA his true colors

This fall, to the frustration of many conservatives, Ted Strickland won the endorsement of the National Rifle Association and Buckeye Firearms Association.

According to the NRA, Strickland earned an A+ for being “a legislator with not only an excellent voting record on all critical NRA issues, but who has also made a vigorous effort to promote and defend the Second Amendment.”

Well, it seems his bitter loss this past November has helped show Ted Strickland’s true colors.

Twice the Governor had an opportunity to put forth a “vigorous effort to promote and defend the second amendment”. Twice he failed.

First came the opportunity presented to Strickland from State Representative Danny Bubp:

Rep. Danny Bubp says he has collected the 50 signatures needed to force a House floor vote on a controversial bill that would allow Ohio permit holders to carry concealed handguns into bars and other places that serve alcohol.

The West Union Republican, is utilizing a rare discharge petition to force a pair of bills out of a House committee and into the full House, circumventing Speaker Armond Budish’s control of the matter. Both bills have already passed the Senate.

This is a bill that would have passed the House and been sent to the Governor for signature, if just given the opportunity by Speaker Budish.

While the Governor announced he would sign the bill, he never utilized the bully pulpit to call for his fellow Democrat to allow the bill to go to the floor for a vote. It was so simple. If Strickland had publicly lobbied the Speaker, the pressure would have been too great and Budish would have needed to relent. Alas, he didn’t, and Budish never reconvened the House, leaving the bill to die. Is that a “vigorous effort”?

But it’s Strickland’s appointment to the Ohio Supreme Court that was a full-on moon to the NRA and Buckeye Firearms Association.

In mid-December, Ted Strickland appointed his running mate, Yvette McGee Brown, to the highest court in Ohio.

Yvette McGee Brown received an F from the NRA.

What do F’s mean? “True enemy of gun owners’ rights. A consistent anti-gun candidate who always opposes gun owners’ rights and/or actively leads anti-gun legislative efforts, or sponsors anti-gun legislation.”

And this is the person Ted Strickland deems most qualified to interpret and rule on Ohio’s gun laws.

When he appointed her, the Governor said Brown would be “a wise and compassionate voice for the most vulnerable.”

With all due respect, that’s ri-damn-diculous.

The job description of a Supreme Court Justice has nothing to do with working to represent one constituency over another. Instead it requires interpreting the law equally and fairly, no matter who it affects.

So is this appointment Strickland’s way of putting forth a “vigorous effort to promote and defend the second amendment”?

Absolutely not.

In fact, it’s just the opposite. His rationale for appointing her speaks directly to her politics and perspective – not her ability to do her job properly. Well, Governor, her politics and perspective earned her an F from the NRA and you deemed her fit to have a seat on the Supreme Court.

Ted Strickland is not the champion of 2nd amendment activists that they thought he was. And now that he’s leaving office, he’s shown his true colors.