The primary lines of attack from both Strickland and Fisher are obvious by now.
Kasich is the Congressman from Wall Street that destroyed the economy.
Portman is the Bush crony that destroyed the economy.
And this weekend, Jack Torry laid it out very clearly as to whether these lines of attack were accurate.
In many ways, the Democratic attacks are an exaggeration. Kasich is not in any way responsible for the collapse of Lehman Brothers. And free-trade policies backed by Bush and Portman helped Ohio become the only state in the country to increase its exports every year from 1998 to 2008 — a fact Fisher and Strickland both have boasted about.
Well, that’s that, right?
Unfortunately not. Whether it’s fair or not, these lines of attack are going to have a negative effect on each Republican candidate. Enough of an effect to make Ohioans forget about the record under Democratic leadership? I’d argue no, but that’s to be seen.
And they are obviously the kinds of negative attacks that repeatedly frustrate the Dispatch’s Joe Hallett.
But are the critical messages on job loss heard from the Kasich and Portman campaigns just as invalid as those coming from the Democrats?
Lee Fisher himself said he and his boss, Ted Strickland made jobs their number one priority.
And just by calling his primary plan “Turnaround Ohio”, Ted Strickland proudly asserted himself as able to shape Ohio’s economy.
In other words, the top two elected officials in Ohio the past four years said they were in charge of bringing jobs to Ohio.
What happened? Ohio lost over 400,000 jobs.
Does that mean all those lost jobs lost were Strickland and Fisher’s fault? Of course not. And Kasich and Portman have never said as much.
But it is fair to say that the policies and efforts(or lack thereof) under Strickland/Fisher led Ohio to be underprepared for the recession by failing to make the state as resilient as so many others around the country.
The evidence is clear as day. An unemployment rate higher than the national average. A business tax climate 47th in the nation. A ranking of 44th in a poll of nearly 700 CEOs asking the best states to do business. Even more damning, in that same survey of CEOs, Ohio has plummeted 24 spots from where it was just five years ago.
It’s very simple. Four years ago, Strickland and Fisher happily accepted responsibility for Ohio’s economy. Now, with 652,000 Ohioans unemployed, they want to pretend they never promised to Turnaround Ohio.
It didn’t have to be this way.