Do Americans, even in anxious times, prefer an optimistic leader or an angry one?
Are Ohio Republicans in a suicide mode?
The ability of the Republicans to design Congressional districts to benefit its candidates certainly helped them here and elsewhere to retain control of the U. S. Congress.
However, those Congressional districts do not apply to offices of the State of Ohio. You have to run statewide, not in a district conveniently created for you. A bit harder for statewide candidates. It demands candidates that identify with more than true believers.
And I believe this 2012 election in Ohio did great injury to Republican state office holders.
Ohio Republicans are damaged goods.
They did it to themselves. It's always bad when you think you're better than you are.
Treasurer Josh Mandel -- despite all the money thrown against Sen. Sherrod Brown -- went down in flames. Outside corporate sources spent $31 million added to Mandel's $12.6 million, say reports. More than $43 million. To do what? To lose.
Mandel didn't seem to serve but a short time as Ohio Treasurer before wanting another job. Greed is not becoming. Voters remember.
Mandel's brashness -- a quality of these brassy Republicans -- made one want to slap him soundly. A wise ass without the standing to justify such behavior.
Secretary of State Jon Husted -- despite court rulings telling him to back off -- continued to try to deny Ohio voters access to the voting booth. Voter suppression became a futile attempt by Republicans in many states to block those they considered Democratic voters. Voter suppression backfired on Republicans. It has a lasting odor I'm betting.
Do you think voters won't remember? Do you think there won't be forces to remind voters of Husted's behavior? He was doing the opposite of what his state job suggests he do? Husted's duplicity won't be forgotten.
Gov. John Kasich -- despite hiding in the tall grass of late -- set himself up for opposition by his brash beginning. He's has backed away some but his record as a union-buster now indelibly marks his tenure. Voters will be reminded again and again come 2014 when he must run for re-election.
Kasich's push of Sen. Bill 5 blew up in his face. He seemed to think that his 2010 election gave him the mandate to do as he pleased. His push to break collective bargaining rights "awakened a giant," one labor leader told the Huffington Post. Another said a poll suggested 70 percent of AFL-CIO workers would vote for Obama. That's payback.
It's like poking a hornet's nest. You must expect blowback.
Kasich epitomizes that wise guy quality of today's Ohio Republicans. He may have thereby encouraged Mandel and Husted. It becomes infectious.
It gave Kasich free rein to be a smart ass. As when he called a policeman who gave him a ticket "an idiot." This brashness reveals much of someone's personality. Better to hide it.
Kasich's attack on public workers awakened a rather languid and beaten labor movement here. Labor lashed back by putting Kasich's move against public workers on the ballot. Let the voters decide. They soundly defeated Sen. Bill 5. (Interesting that President Obama took both Ohio and Wisconsin where its governor acts similarly toward workers.)
Kasich has been damaged goods since.
Kasich has made a practice of stealing revenue from every city and town -- not to mention school systems. This makes for an issue that should come back to haunt him. Do as you please governing.
It's a very good campaign slam on Kasich that while he builds a huge reservoir of money at the state level (for a tax cut for the rich?) he forces local communities to put new taxes on residents -- regressive taxes on ordinary earners. I can't see that not being an issue in 2014 when he has to run again. That's a very close time as political campaigns go these days.
These brash young men of the Ohio Republican Party overstepped what they considered their mandate. And the voters have slapped them down.
But they keep doing it.
The voter suppression of Husted puts him on very weak ground.
Despite all his efforts to limit votes for President Barack Obama, he and the Republicans lost that one, too.
Kasich now better watch himself on the give-away of the turnpike. That may be the decision that turns off lots more voters. Again, time is running out for him with the 2014 election so close.
Ohio Republicans should examine how they are playing the political game. They seem to think they're invulnerable. We all know what happens when that disease sets in.
Roldo Bartimole has been reporting since 1959. He came to Cleveland in 1965 to report for the Plain Dealer where he worked twice in the 1960s, left for the Wall Street Journal in 1967. He started publishing his newsletter Point of View in 1968 and ended it in 2000. In 1991 he was awarded the Second Annual Joe Callaway Award for Civic Courage in Washington, D.C. He received the Distinguished Service Award of the Society of Professional Journalists, Cleveland chapter, in 2002, and was named to the Cleveland Journalism Hall of Fame, 2004.
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