One of the most ridiculous criticisms I’ve seen of John Kasich since he entered the Ohio Governor’s race has been an obsession with demanding details of his policy initiatives were he to become Governor.
Yep, with 396 days still to go until election day, some are actually saying, “he has no plan.”
As we’ve discussed before, it’s politically advantageous for Kasich to take a back seat to Strickland’s bad press and allow the Governor to become saturated with negative media without the distraction of an opponent to peel away the heat.
But for argument’s sake, let’s ignore the purely political perspective and honestly compare Kasich’s policy rollout timeline, or lack thereof, to Strickland’s when he was running for Governor in 2006.
The Governor’s plan to enhance the state’s economic well-being was known as Turnaround Ohio. It included a number of policy initiatives and was rolled out in several steps, beginning with a focus on Early Education.
And he released the first part of the plan only 37 weeks out from the election.
From the February 15, 2006 issue of the Columbus Dispatch:
Pledging to restore vision and leadership to Ohio government, U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland, the Democratic front-runner for governor, yesterday outlined an early-education plan that he said will produce more socially responsible and economically viable future adults. Joined by his running mate, Lee Fisher, at the St. Stephen’s Community House in Columbus, Strickland included the plan in an initiative dubbed “Turnaround Ohio,” which he said will link education, health reform and the state’s economic strengths to rescue Ohio from its economic doldrums.
So, if we go by Ted Strickland’s own timeline when he ran for Governor, Kasich shouldn’t even consider rolling out any major policy initiatives for five more months.
Of course, starting that late didn’t exactly mean Strickland had any actual specifics for his plan to “Turnaround Ohio.”
Don’t believe me? See for yourself:
The Plain Dealer, Editorial: “Ohioans deserve to know more from Strickland on these and other issues.” (The Plain Dealer, 4/9/06)
Michael Douglas, Akron Beacon Journal: “The U.S. House member and Democratic candidate for governor isn’t sharing details. He doesn’t have specifics.” (Akron Beacon Journal, 9/10/06)
Joe Hallett, Columbus Dispatch: “So far, Strickland has played it safe, eschewing sweeping proposals for fixing Ohio’s economy and schools in favor of a series of relative baby steps encompassed in his ‘Turnaround Ohio’ plan.” (The Columbus Dispatch, 9/3/06)
Phillip Morris, The Plain Dealer: “The far greater issue is, can the man lead? And on that score, he remains a mystery – and vulnerable, despite his lead in the polls. Strickland has yet to evidence anything approaching talented, senior-level leadership, either in his past or in his current uninspired and timid campaign for governor.” (The Plain Dealer, 8/29/06)
Dennis J. Willard, Akron Beacon Journal: “Beyond those platitudes, however, Strickland admits his plans are still in the developmental stage.” (Akron Beacon Journal, 8/27/06)
Aaron Marshall, The Plain Dealer: ” The Democrat offered no plan to fix school funding… Strickland offers only ‘basic principles’ and the promise to create a blue ribbon task force involving all of the stakeholders to fashion a school funding solution.” (Openers: Plain Dealer weblog, 8/18/06)
Jim Tankersley, Toledo Blade: “In a brief press conference afterward, Mr. Strickland struggled to answer a basic question about the plan: How much would it cost? He told a television reporter the figure was on his Web site, and that he couldn’t remember it — not because he didn’t know it, he said, but because he didn’t have it in front of him.” (Toledo Blade, 9/5/06)
Jim Siegel, Columbus Dispatch: “He provided no details, and asked afterward when he would unveil those details, Strickland said, ‘I will do that if I win this election.’” (The Columbus Dispatch, 8/18/06)
Bill Cohen, Ohio Public Radio: “Strickland almost admittedly doesn’t have as great a grasp on state issues. You won’t hear him give a lot of details or offer risk-taking ideas.” (Middletown Journal, 8/18/06)
Toledo Blade, Editorial: “He needs to put a little more meat on the bones of his Turn Around Ohio plan. … He will need to show that he offers more than the Jimmy Carter formula of good looks and a bit of a southern accent.” (Toledo Blade, 7/30/06)
Jim Siegel & Joe Hallett, Columbus Dispatch: “[State Sen. Eric] Fingerhut struggled to give Strickland’s ‘Turnaround Ohio’ ideas high praise, calling them ‘thoughtful.’ ‘Do I think it’s a comprehensive platform yet? No,’ Fingerhut said.” (The Columbus Dispatch, 8/3/06)
Matt Hutton, Norwalk Reflector: “Hans Hoffman, a Norwalk resident who said he always votes Democrat, wanted to hear more specific details of the Democrats plan to ‘turnaround Ohio.’ ‘I was disappointed with the partisan rallying. I wanted to hear about actual issues and solutions,’ Hoffman said. He still is voting Democrat, but added, ‘It just makes it hard to convince my Republican friends.’” (Matt Hutton, Norwalk Reflector, 8/21/06)
In retrospect, Ohio’s current situation makes so much more sense after reading these concerns from across the state. In reality, Ted Strickland never had a plan. And that’s why Ohio has been floating aimlessly into the economic abyss.
If we only knew….