What’s Happening in Ohio

With all the polls and chest thumping by both sides, it’s been hard to find real, serious data that provides some insight into what may happen here in Ohio.
Until this morning.
Dave Wasserman of the Cook Political Report has a comprehensive list of absentee/early voting results by county that indicate very good news for Ohio Republicans.
You can read it for yourself by clicking here.
But here’s the down and dirty.
Wasserman looked at absentee/early data by county from 2004 and 2008, and compared it to what has been officially reported by the Secretary of State.
The results?

In counties that voted Kerry in ’04 and Obama in ’08, total votes are down 4.1%. Total votes are down 40,395.
In counties that voted Bush in ’04 and McCain in ’08, total votes are up 14.4%. Total votes are up 81,696.
It’s important to note that these aren’t all votes for Obama or Romney.
But they are a strong indication of the likely turnout problems facing Democrats in their key blue counties. And more importantly, it shows the incredible bump in enthusiasm in key red counties.
These results actually prompted Wasserman to tweet, “In my view, Obama can’t afford for E-Day turnout ’08-’12 trend to mirror early vote trend and still win OH”.

 In other words, Obama needs to hope for an incredible turnout of his own supporters. On top of that, he also needs to pray the hundreds of thousands of Republicans who stayed home in 2008 decide to stay home.
And if those enthusiasm numbers in early voting are reflected in today’s vote, President Obama is in big trouble.
At the end of the day, it’s the same story – get out the vote. 
Find your Ohio GOP e-slate card here: http://ohiogop.org/ballot
Tell your friends. Tell your neighbors.
The Republican ones, anyway. And the ones who are still struggling to get a job.
We’ve heard from sources that the ORP slate card already has over 103,500 downloads. With an election that could be decided by hundreds, that could make the difference.

President Obama Doesn’t Support Small Business

President Obama’s visit to Cleveland yesterday included plenty of rhetoric but little else for those wondering what he stands for.

Plenty of Ohioans still can’t figure out whether President Obama stands in support of small business owners.  He claims to support the American worker, but how can you support the worker but not the person that employs them?

Ultimately, Ohio’s small business owners are left to deal with his unnecessary rules and regulations that do nothing but slow their growth.  These are the same people that hire the workers Obama claims to support.

I think most people would agree that 4,200 incoming regulations upon small businesses makes it harder them to expand their business and hire new employees.

How about $515 billion; the estimated cost of these regulations?  You can’t be pro worker by forcing small business owners to lay off employees so they can pay for duplicate and overbearing regulations.


I’ve wrote about it before but it’s worth mentioning again, if President Obama wants to get a good look at government encouraging business growth he should look no further than Ohio.

Our unemployment rate is significantly lower than the national average.  Part of the reason is because Ohio has made it a priority to create a business friendly environment.  Governor Kasich recognizes the need to streamline the bureaucracy that business owners face and knows that small businesses will only hire more employees if they aren’t bogged down in duplicative and expensive paperwork.

It isn’t hard to tell that Ohio is doing things right.  The rest of the country could use our model as a blueprint for success. 

Obama’s Regulatory Mess

President Obama is visiting Columbus today to boost his campaign and will no doubt celebrate Friday’s news that the unemployment rate has dropped below 8%. 
Ohio’s message to President Obama; welcome to the club.

How much better would the national unemployment rate be if the President followed Ohio’s model of actually encouraging business growth?

 

According to the NFIB the Obama Administration has over 4,000 regulations in the pipeline just waiting to be enacted upon small business owners.  This avalanche of over- regulation could cost our economy over $500 billion and stifle small businesses that are already struggling to stay afloat.

Nobody is disputing the fact that reasonable government regulation of business is warranted and necessary, it clearly is.  However, enacting duplicate and needless regulations requires small business owners to shift resources from actually growing their business and hiring new employees to responding to mountains of paperwork.


If the Obama Administration is actually looking for an alternative to their overregulation of small businesses they should look no further than Ohio.

Governor Kasich knows that small businesses operate on small margins, and simply can’t afford to spend money and manpower on burdensome regulations.  So instead of placing additional burdens upon business owners Governor Kasich has created the Common Sense Initiative (CSI) to create a jobs and business friendly regulatory climate in Ohio.
All you have to do is look at CSI’s four principles and you know why the business climate in Ohio is greatly improved:


  • Regulations should facilitate, not hinder, economic growth.
  • Regulations should be transparent and responsive.
  • Compliance should be as easy and inexpensive as possible.
  • Regulations should be enforced fairly and consistently. 

To be fair, the Obama Administration might even have something like CSI, but if so they are definitely keeping it a secret.  However, while they ignore the problem there are millions of small business owners struggling daily under their burdensome regulations.

It’s unfortunate that the President doesn’t recognize the need to promote a more business friendly approach to governing.  Especially when all he has to do is look no further than the state he is campaigning in today.

The Democrats Unemployment Fantasy

Good news for Ohioans last week; we aren’t like the rest of America.

If we were, our unemployment rate would have went up the way it did in 44 states and nationally.  Despite the Administration’s best efforts, ours stayed the same at 7.2%. 

It’s worth mentioning that Ohio’s unemployment rate in July 2011 was 8.9%.  We have dropped 1.7% in the past twelve months, a significant shift in the right direction.  The national unemployment rate for the same period dropped from 9.1% to 8.3%, a drop of only .8%.

So why is Ohio greatly outpacing the rest of the country?

Ohio Democrats, in an effort to boost up Obama and soften the Governor for 2014, are going to tell you that it’s their leadership that set Ohio on the right path.  They will argue that the auto bailout and Ted Strickland’s leadership helped Ohio turn the corner well before Governor Kasich took office.

What’s the huge glaring problem with this argument?  Numbers don’t lie. 
Anyone that considers losing 400,000 jobs during Ted Strickland’s administration a step in the right direction needs their head examined.  I realize the economy was tough during his time in office, but at what point do you start taking responsibility for your actions? 

Obama also points to the auto bailout as the reason for Ohio’s recovery.  This would be great except that it’s not true.  In fact, auto-manufacturingjobs are actually down 3,200 when compared to January 2011.   

The Democrat argument that Ohio’s recovery began on their watch is ludicrous; it simply mirrored the national recovery.  Don’t believe me?  Take a look at this graph that Democrats have used to try and make their point:

         
I went into more detail in a previous post about this.  The takeaway is the chart that the ODP is using to prove their point actually proves mine.  Ohio was on pace with the rest of the country until the Governor’s budget went into effect at which time the drop in our unemployment rate began to outpace the national rate.

You might notice that our unemployment rate started to outpace the national rate in July 2011.  What else happened that month?  Governor Kasich’s Jobs Budget went into effect.  Since that time Ohio has consistently outperformed the rest of the nation.

Yet somehow Democrats continue to take credit for Governor Kasich’s success. 

If their policies are the reason Ohio’s economy is rebounding why is the rest of the nation still hurting?

Dems Attack Kasich, Fail Miserably

Not a huge shock, but Democrats have recently been trying to attack Governor Kasich on a number of fronts.

First they claim that Mitt Romney is trying to distance himself from Kasich. The proof?  Governor Kasich didn’t attend Romney’s event in Ohio this past Sunday, on Father’s Day. 

This barely even warrants a response, because how dare a father choose to spend time with his family on Fathers Day.  I know it’s crazy, but maybe the Governor wanted to spend time with his daughters privately instead of taking them to a full day of campaign events. 

Also, if Mitt is trying to distance himself from the Governor I doubt he would he have said this:

… Instead, it’s governors like Gov. (John) Kasich, who have put in place pro-                growth polices and balanced the state budget, that are doing the job that’s creating economic good news in places like Ohio, and the entire nation deserves the same kind of agenda.”
Romney gave this quote to the Dispatch last weekend which shows a new narrative coming from his campaign.  They realized that highlighting Kasich’s ability to outpace the nation is a good way to highlight the President’s failures.  

Governor Kasich’s success is due to pro-growth policies that actually encourages entrepeneaurs instead Obama’s anti-business agenda.

The Governor’s office released a graph that details the pro-growth policies that encourage business to grow and hire more employees.  The Ohio Model of doing business includes taxes being cut, a balanced budget and streamlined regulations.  

Democrats are also trying to take credit for Kasich’s success in Ohio.  They’re doing this to prop up the President, Sherrod Brown and especially Ted Strickland.

If you follow politics in Ohio it should be pretty clear that Ted Strickland is going to run for Governor again.  The problem is that he’s facing is explaining the 400,000 jobs lost under his watch and counter the success that Governor Kasich has had since he took over.

The idea the ODP came up with, and will continue to push, is that Ohio’s economy was on its way to recovery when Ted was in office.  In all fairness, I’d try that argument too because how else do you explain the loss of 400,000 jobs while your guy was in charge?

They even responded to the graph from the Governor’s office with a witty graph of their own:


Does anyone see a problem with this graph?  It shows what we have been saying all along; it wasn’t until Kasich came into office that Ohio began outperforming the sputtering national economy. 

Furthermore, their graph shows that Ohio was actually doing far worse than the rest of the nation under Ted Strickland’s leadership. The ODP, who is supposed to be allied with Ted Strickland, actually reinforces the narrative that John Kasich has turned Ohio around.

So I guess we should all be thanking the ODP for pointing out the facts??

Keep up the good work.

Ohio Succeeds Despite Washington’s Efforts

All Ohioans received great news on Friday when the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that Ohio, unlike the rest of the nation, gained jobs in May and had a slight drop in the unemployment rate. 

For those keeping track, the entire country added 69,000 jobs in the month of May.  19,600 of those came from Ohio.  This puts Ohio’s unemployment rate almost a full percent below the national average.  The last time our rate was this low compared to the national rate was in 1995.

Great news of course, but there is still work to be done and obstacles in the way.

Businesses in Ohio continue to struggle under the weight of the Obama Administration’s overbearing regulations.  The problem with our unemployment numbers is while they continue to move in the right direction, the headwinds created by the Obama’s over-regulation could easily stall our growth. 

Needless and unnecessary regulations increase costs to business owners who want to operate and hire Ohioans.  What’s the end result?  Businesses stop hiring because they are losing money faster than they can bring it in. 

Business owners like Kelley Moore and her husband Greg who own and operate four NAPA Auto Parts stores in Ohio have seen firsthand the effects of Obama’s over-regulation.  Her story was highlighted by Speaker Boehner on his website, where she discussed how they cannot afford to replace staff members when they leave due to the rising costs of the products that they sell. 

Kelley highlights, in two sentences, the problem with needless government regulations. “…And customers, they can’t afford the products.  It’s hard to stay profitable, keep your doors open and keep local people employed if customers aren’t coming in.  Eventually, there only are so many costs you can absorb.”


Obviously it’s important that products on the shelves at the stores we shop at are safe along with the employees working in those stores.  However, instead of bureaucrats in DC imposing one-size-fits-all regulations to “fix” issues that may or may not exist maybe it’s time to work with the business community and outline the problem they’re trying to address.

Ultimately I have no doubt that the President and his allies are going to attempt to take credit for Ohio’s success.  The glaring hole in their argument is that President Obama can’t take credit for one state’s progress but blame the other 49 on someone else.

You can’t have it both ways.  If Ohio’s drastic improvement is thanks to Obama’s leadership why isn’t the rest of the nation experiencing such good news?

The President cannot take credit for Ohio’s success in the morning and enact job and small business killing regulations in the afternoon.  He would be well served by listening to people like Kelley Moore whose livelihood, and that of her employees, is being negatively affected by senseless regulations by folks who are clueless about the day-to-day struggles of small businesses.

Ohio is succeeding despite Washington, not because of it. Governor Kasich’s efforts in Ohio have seen him engage businesses, work with them to make it easier to operate, and allow them an opportunity to flourish. 

It’s time for President Obama to follow Governor Kasich’s lead. 

Bad to Worse for Richard Cordray (and Ted Strickland)

Could it get much worse for Richard Cordray right now?

Yes.  Apparently it can.


First he gets pummeled in his attempt to install a loyalist as Chairman of the ODP, then the press calls him out for being a lousy politician and now his top staffer in Ohio is being investigated for campaign finance misconduct
The article talks about a significant amount of money that Richard Cordray’s fundraiser says is owed to her by the Franklin County Democrat Party.  Apparently the debts that she claims are owed didn’t show up in campaign finance reports that the county party has to file.  The worst part is that the folks that are supposed to be backing her claims are keeping their distance.

The article also mentions a previous client of Cordray’s fundraiser, John Reardon, who ran for state Auditor in 2006 when he was Mahoning County Treasurer.  Apparently Reardon listed false loans to his campaign as a way to beef up his fundraising report, which is obviously not allowed under campaign finance law. 

Reardon claims that Cordray’s fundraiser suggested that he ask for a contribution from the state party in exchange for getting out the race.  Soon after Reardon dropped out he received $50,000 from the state party.  He subsequently made a $10,000 contribution to Richard Cordray’s campaign for Ohio Treasurer.

Honestly, it doesn’t even matter whether these allegations against Cordray’s fundraiser are true.  The story here is that Cordray, and his people, are diminishing his chances of winning a primary for Governor by the second.  The only people stepping up to their defense are former elected officials like Jennifer Brunner who are not well liked by the ODP and Chairman Redfern.


You’d think that all of this bad news for Cordray would be great for Ted Strickland. Right?

Not so much.

Joe Vardon from the Dispatch posted a story yesterday that added a Ted Strickland link to this scandal.  Apparently John Reardon received a call from then candidate Strickland in 2006 that, in his opinion, was a job offer from the Strickland administration if Reardon got out of the Auditor race.

Ted’s response was to be expected; “I would not and I have not offered anyone a job for doing something like that – dropping out of a race – or whatever,” Strickland said. “It’s not my style, it’s not (chief of staff) John Haseley’s style.

It turns out this is exactly his style.

A Cincinnati Enquirer article from 2010 details exactly how Ted Strickland, and his staff, found a job for a Cincinnati Councilwoman 4 days after she agreed to withdraw from a potentially divisive Democrat primary for a vacant Ohio House seat.  Councilwoman Laketa Cole was given a $78,354 a year job at PUCO after her resume was sent around by top staffers in Strickland’s office.

In all fairness this whole story could be a giant coincidence.  Maybe she just happened to finally get the job within a week of withdrawing from a race that would cause Democrats a huge headache.  However, I think you might have trouble finding anyone who would actually thinks this is a coincidence.

So let’s review.  Two of the Democrats most likely to run against Governor Kasich are in a heap of trouble; one has zero political infrastructure left in Ohio and the other lost 400,000 jobs on his watch and just got caught lying.

Who’s left to lead Ohio’s Democrats?

Say Hello To Congressman Moonbeam UPDATED

It’s no secret that plenty of political figures use a book as a way to introduce themselves to voters before a campaign. 


However, I think we’d be hard pressed to find a politician selling a book that describes how one stares at a raisin to gain a greater appreciation of self.


Seriously.

Congressman Tim Ryan, about a week after making it known he was interested in running for Governor, has chosen this as his introduction to Ohio’s voters.  His book, A Mindful Nation, discusses his interest in the idea of “mindfulness” and it’s applications to daily life.

A Plain Dealer article from Saturday goes into more detail, but the idea of staring at a raisin comes from one of the first exercises behind this way of thinking.  A student gazes at a raisin and holds it to their lips without eating it then they squeeze the raisin to hear its sound.  By the time they actually eat the raisin they are aware of all of the sensory urges that it elicits.  Apparently the awareness is the lesson.

I’m not debating whether “mindfulness” is good or bad, because I frankly don’t care.  I’m just surprised that he thinks the study and teaching of this style of thinking is more important than saving jobs in his district.


The Vindicator had an article last week that discussed upcoming teacher layoffs in Ryan’s district.  The teachers were told to start looking for new jobs now because many will be laid off this summer.

So what does Tim Ryan do?  Instead of finding ways for Youngstown to save money, he spends his time securing $982,000 in grants for the teaching of his preferred style of thinking to elementary and middle school students in Youngstown and Warren.  Instead of encouraging shared services and union reform, he spends his time hawking his book in an attempt to lay groundwork for a future political race.

He even refrained from the typical Democrat response and didn’t call for more money to be thrown at the problem.  Instead, he found it far more worthy to teach kids how to meditate.

But don’t worry Youngtown teachers, Congressman Ryan has a suggestion on how to deal with your upcoming unemployment.  Just remember, “Happiness is found by deeply experiencing the exact moment we are in.”

So don’t worry about that whole “employment” thing.  Tim Ryan’s got your back, just enjoy the exact moment you are in and everything else will be fine.

Right?

UPDATE (Bytor): Not only did Congressman Moonbeam start a program to teach Warren and Youngstown school kids how to meditate with raisins, he did it using almost 1 million of YOUR federal tax dollars.

Deep breathing exercises, meditation, instructions on how to think before acting, and methods on how to talk through a problem are all part of a curriculum being implemented in specified kindergarten and elementary classes in the Youngstown and Warren school districts. The Skills for Life program was made possible by a $982,000 earmark secured in 2009 by U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-17 Ohio, for the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning. Ryan is a champion of the effort and a strong advocate of developing “mindfulness” for personal and institutional growth in the United States.

What an appalling waste of taxpayer dollars. For Democrats like Congressman Moonbeam Tim Ryan, I suppose trillion dollar deficits are OK, as long as we are teaching kids important subjects like “mindfulness” and “raisin meditation.”

Cordray = Isolated

The hits keep coming for Richard Cordray.


As I wrote a couple weeks ago, the attempt to dethrone Chris Redfern as Chairman of the ODP was nothing more than a fight between the Cordray and Strickland camps of the party.  


For those not paying attention, Team Cordray really embarrassed themselves once the votes were counted and Redfern/Strickland easily won in a landslide.  To make matters worse, Democrat county chairman across the state were speaking on the record about Cordray’s blundered attempt to take over the state party.


Today, Brent Larkin wrote an article that describes Team Cordray’s failure and the isolation that Cordray is likely to feel from Democrats throughout Ohio as a result.


Although his people claim he wasn’t involved, anyone that thinks Richard Cordray didn’t have a hand in this effort isn’t living in reality.  These were his people, led by his closest aide, actively trying to knock off Redfern and clear a path for Cordray to run in 2014.


It certainly doesn’t help his cause when reporters from the Plain Dealer are calling him “a lousy politician.’  Those who might have previously disagreed with that statement might be singing a different tune after the debacle that was Cordray’s coup attempt.



The Cordray style of political organizing is what one might expect from a middle school student council race, not a candidate for Governor.


The bottom line is that Richard Cordray is boxed into a corner.  The Strickland camp is in control and is going to keep chipping away at him until he can’t run in 2014.  Tim Ryan, another potential candidate, has already fallen in line behind Strickland and Ed Fitzgerald in Cleveland isn’t known by anyone outside Cuyohoga County.


I can’t fathom why Democrats want Strickland to be their standard bearer again (OHIO LOST 400,000 JOBS UNDER HIS WATCH!) but that’s definitely fine with me.


It’s kind of a bummer for Richard Cordray though.  He’s now put himself on the outside looking in.

The House’s Hiccup

Although I fervently believe that their intentions are good and they are doing a great job, I can’t help but wonder what the deal is with some House Republicans lately.

First they decide not to back Governor Kasich’s income tax cut proposal despite the fact that it will put an additional $500 million back into taxpayers and small businesses hands.  I understand their concern with keeping Ohio competitive, but even with Kasich’s proposal in place our severance taxes would maintain Ohio’s advantage over other states.

Bytor goes into more detail here but it’s important to recognize that this is a reasonable request by the Governor that should be enacted by the legislature.  If you need more convincing just check with the Columbus Chamber and Columbus Partnership, both have encouraged the legislature to support this plan.

Next they insert very vague language into the MBR designed to de-fund Planned Parenthood.  Again, good intentions for the pro-life crowd but this language was so poorly worded that it could have potentially restricted a massive amount of funding to hospitals and welfare centers that provide services to the poor.


Thankfully they realized how poor this language was and pulled it yesterday before a vote was held.  However, that still gave plenty of political ammunition for Democrats to repeatedly beat Republicans over the head with.   All we did with this effort was give Democrats another talking point to use against us in the fall.

Now some are suggesting that we spend the surplus that they, and Governor Kasich, have worked so hard to build.  Throwing another $30 million to nursing homes is exactly the type of thinking that got us into an $8 billion hole in the first place.

Fortunately, Governor Kasich recognizes this and has already said no to additional spending.  In remarks yesterday to the Toledo Regional Chamber, Kasich said: “I want to let you all know, they can pass whatever they want to in the legislature, we’re not spending the surplus.”  “We’re not going back to $8 billion in the hole.”

House Republicans have a lot to be proud of; they have fixed the deficit and helped create jobs across Ohio.  With their support, Ohio has turned a corner and is back on track.

As I said before, I know that their intentions are good but I think it’s possible we’ve lost sight of the big picture lately. I hope they will move away from ill-advised legislation and ideas and get back to what has been working, creating jobs.