Yesterday, Joe Hallett of the Columbus Dispatch wrote yet another article complaining about the negativity of the Ohio gubernatorial race.
And he’s right, it is negative.
Ted Strickland is smearing Kasich for being responsible for the demise of Lehman Brothers despite all reports saying otherwise.
And John Kasich is talking about Ted Strickland’s record.
Fortunately, Hallett recognized that there isn’t sufficient evidence to show Kasich having any connection to Lehman’s downfall.
But in the same breath he claims Strickland isn’t to blame for one of the 427,000 jobs lost under the Governor’s watch.
I’m with Matt from WMD on this one.
Mr. Hallett? In the words of Colonel Sherman T. Potter: “Horsehockey!”
Let’s start with the very safe assumption that a business environment better than the competition (i.e. other states and countries) provides a higher incentive for jobs to be retained or created.
The people that ultimately judge the quality of the business environment are the ones that run businesses. The CEOs.
Well, last week, CEO Magazine released their results of their survey of 651 CEOs from across the nation. They asked them to grade the best states for business. Each state was scored in three categories; taxation and regulation, quality of workforce and living environment. Each one of these categories can be directly affected by the Governor of a state.
And where did Ohio rank?
Additionally, in the past five years, Ohio has plummeted 24 spots.
It’s very simple. If a state isn’t attractive to those that retain and create jobs, then jobs will ultimately be lost.
Does that mean Strickland is to blame for the recession? Of course not. But he is to blame for failing to put Ohio in a position to recover faster than other states and to retain as many jobs as possible.
Four years ago, Ted Strickland said he would Turnaround Ohio. That is an admission that the Governor can have an effect on the state’s economy. In reality, our position has only worsened under his watch, and that evidence can be seen in the massive survey completed by CEO magazine.
The sooner Ohio’s media wakes up to this reality, the better.
But another quote also frustrated me from Hallett’s column, but it came from Larry Sabato rather than Hallett.
When discussing Strickland’s sole strategy of attacking Kasich, Sabato states:
“If Strickland simply sat back and made his case for a second-term, he’d lose,” said Larry J. Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. “What he has to do is make the alternative unacceptable, and that’s exactly what he’s trying to do. People really don’t know who John Kasich is. I think it’s a very smart move, and it’s the only way Strickland can win.”
Now to be fair, 3BP has consistently stated that it’s in Strickland’s best interests to attack Kasich and define him first. But that’s only if he’s also able to repair his own reputation at the same time. That’s the difficulty where Strickland finds himself. Finding balance.
Ultimately, elections with incumbents are referendums first and foremost.
Right now, all polls show Ohioans with very negative perceptions of the state of the state. And those perceptions will ultimately be blamed on the incumbent. Until those perceptions are repaired, Strickland is in jeopardy. And they become more difficult to fix when your first advertisements are negative. It digs you deeper.
Additionally, Kasich can already count on a national wave of conservatism as well as the natural voting trends of primaries to help with his GOTV efforts. Meanwhile, Strickland must find a way to inspire Democrats to vote. It’s much easier to GOTV by encouraging people to vote for than against something. And Strickland seemingly refuses to give them a “for”.
I’m not complaining.