COLUMBUS, OH—July has been cruel to John Kasich: he signed a budget panned by observers in every corner of the state, for myriad reasons; his ‘Ohio Miracle’ rhetoric was exposed by a dismal jobs report; and JobsOhio continued to draw criticism for its lack of transparency, not to mention its apparent ineffectiveness. Ohioans aren’t surprised – this month looks like a lot of months with John Kasich in charge – but it was inconvenient for the Governor: it comes just as he has started dipping his toe into the 2016 Presidential waters (best evidenced in a flattering profile in POLITICO).
Ohio Democratic Party adviser Matt McGrath issued a memo regarding Governor Kasich’s bad month, writing: “What Ohioans have come to know about John Kasich – he’s an out-of-touch, extreme conservative who puts the interests of the wealthy and well-connected ahead of everyone else – has been perfectly encapsulated during his July to forget.”
Read the full memo below, or access it HERE:
TO: Interested Parties
FROM: Matt McGrath, ODP Adviser
DATE: July 24, 2013
Re: John Kasich’s Awful Month
Barely three weeks ago John Kasich deflected but did not deny interest in a 2016 Presidential run in a flattering POLITICO piece (primarily sourced by John Kasich). Kasich’s White House ambitions have never been a secret, nor were they much dampened after his brief run in 2000. “If I can fix my fund-raising problems, I will run again,” he said in a 2001interview. His solution: lucrative, network-building stints at Fox News and Lehman Brothers – not to mention the relationships he’s cultivating through the increasingly opaque practices of JobsOhio.
But just as Kasich turns a longing gaze toward Washington, D.C., the challenges of his day job seem to have gotten the best of him. Or perhaps he jinxed himself. Either way, July has been a brutal month full of self-inflicted wounds for the one-time (and possibly future) Presidential also-ran:
1) The Re-Election Budget Reviews Are In, and They Are BRUTAL
Across Ohio, newspaper editorials and columnists have panned Kasich’s budget, noting that it shifts the tax burden onto middle-class families, shortchanges schools and public safety, and represents an unprecedented attack on women’s healthcare and reproductive rights. The state’s largest newspaper called the budget ‘dismal’ and ‘unworthy of a governor intent on reelection.’ Below, a mere sampling of the savage response:
Cleveland Plain Dealer: A dismal document… that puts the needs of the well-off ahead of those of Ohio’s poorest and middle-class citizens….Overall, this is a budget unworthy of boasting – or of a governor intent on re-election. It is a plan to be endured, not embraced. [Cleveland Plain Dealer, 6/29/13]
Cincinnati Enquirer: “Laden with stuff that has nothing to do with the budget…inflame(s) the culture wars anew with a series of restrictions on abortion. The most egregious is a last-minute amendment to require doctors to perform ultrasounds to detect a fetal heartbeat. This is a back-door effort to avoid public debate on a highly controversial issue. [Cincinnati Enquirer, 6/27/13]
An Enquirer analysis of the new tax cut – pitched as a big boost for Ohio’s small businesses – finds that most will save just a few hundred dollars a year. [Cincinnati Enquirer, 7/7/13]
Toledo Blade: Throws Ohio in reverse…Gov. John Kasich and the Republican-controlled General Assembly couldn’t be any clearer about where they and their party are taking this state. Ohioans who don’t want to be dragged along for the ride — folks who aren’t rich, women, and anyone else who would rather move forward than backward — need to insist on a different route. [Toledo Blade, 7/7/13]
Like explosives-sniffing dogs in a minefield, experts who analyze Ohio’s new budget are finding destructive devices nearly everywhere they search. [Toledo Blade, 7/21/13]
Akron Beacon Journal: [Kasich’s small business tax cuts] not exactly an amount that leads to additional hiring… The tax system still will require more of those in greater need. [The Akron Beacon Journal, 7/15/13]
WBNS-TV 10: [Paul Beck, OSU professor]: Expert: the tax cut is going to be minimal… Ohioans will barely see it…And they will face every time they buy something a somewhat higher sales tax…The Kasich plan is unbalanced because the sales tax is regressive. [10TV.com, 7/2/13]
Columbus Dispatch: Tax plan unpopular in schools…Associations representing superintendents, treasurers and school boards said they don’t like the proposal, arguing that it will make it more difficult to pass levies because they will cost taxpayers more. [Columbus Dispatch, 6/22/13]
Newark Advocate: GOP budget likely means higher local taxes…hypocritical. [Newark Advocate, 7/21/13]
Youngstown Vindicator: Ohio’s intrusion into personal health care decisions — aimed exclusively at women and organizations such as Planned Parenthood that serve them — serves the narrow political interests of Kasich and the Legislature, not the people of the state.[Youngstown Vindicator, 7/3/13]
2) A Picture Worth a Thousand Words, and an Agenda That Harms Thousands of Ohio Women
From the signing ceremony that made Governor Kasich’s widely-panned budget official, this photo of Kasich and his all-male budget team went viral:
Photo credit: Karen Kasler
As bad – and tone deaf – as this image is, the content of the budget itself is a disaster for Ohio women: defunding Planned Parenthood, imposing a ‘gag rule’ on rape crisis centers, mandating medically unnecessary ultrasounds for women considering an abortion, and creating new red tape that threatens to close women’s health clinics all over the state.
3) Move over, Mitt Romney …there’s a new Mr. 47%
The previously underappreciated number 47 earned a distinguished place during the 2012 election, thanks to Mitt Romney. Of course, long before Governor Romney was caught on camera dismissing 47 percent of his fellow Americans as takers and layabouts at a closed-door fundraiser, he had another inopportune connection to that number: under his watch Massachusetts ranked 47th in job creation – a fact that was always hard for Romney to square with his ‘I know how to create jobs’ rhetoric.
Fast forward to July, 2013, and John Kasich’s faltering jobs record. Last month, Ohio lost more jobs than every other state but one. In March, it lost the most jobs in the country. Individual monthly reports have been up and down, but the long-term trend is unmistakable: over the last year, Ohio ranks… 47th in job creation.
Meanwhile, the United States has added jobs for 40 consecutive months.
4) Ethics for Thee, But Not For Me
Last week, two different government accountability watchdog groups found Governor Kasich’s ethical record wanting – and getting worse. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) listed Kasich among its list of the “Worst Governors in America,” citing JobsOhio and saying “Kasich will do whatever it takes to keep the public in the dark about the non-profit he created, and played partisan politics with his state’s voting laws.” Also last week, the nonprofit Better Government Association ranked Ohio 40th in its “Integrity Index,” a measure of a state’s willingness to enable its citizens ‘to fight corruption by attending public meetings, reviewing government documents and raising questions without fear of retribution.”
Meanwhile, JobsOhio was named a finalist last month for the Golden Padlock Award, given out by Investigative Reporters and Editors’ Transparency Watch. Clearly when it comes to ethics, transparency, and accountability, Governor Kasich believes less is more.
In the June POLITCO profile, Kasich’s main attributes were described as “competence, consistency and actually creating jobs rather than just talking about it.” You could almost hear the Governor ticking off those items as part of his own self-assessment – although we doubt even he would be so bold as to declare himself “disciplined on the stump,” the most eyebrow-raising assertion in an article full of them.
Regardless, it’s a good story – particularly given how unpopular Washington Republicans are – and Kasich’s self-mythology is understandable. The only problem, as seen above, is that it’s not true.
What Ohioans have come to know about John Kasich – he’s an out-of-touch, extreme conservative who puts the interests of the wealthy and well-connected ahead of everyone else – has been perfectly encapsulated during his July to forget.