Sunday, October 31, 2010

DarkeJournal endorsement: vote for John Kasich

The Ohio Constitution requires our lawmakers to pass a balanced budget every two years. When this was last done in 2009, projected revenues were far short of existing liabilities. Our state needed a leader who was willing to be courageous and make some bold decisions. Unfortunately our leader was Ted Strickland.

Rather than make the difficult decisions necessary to bridge the shortfall (and risk alienating certain voters before an election), Strickland ducked the problem and left our state with an $8 billion ticking time bomb. Strickland ended up balancing the budget by: 1) accepting one-time stimulus money from Washington, 2) emptying out the state’s $1 billion rainy day fund, and 3) implementing a plan for slot machines after saying he was against gambling.

When Ohio’s budget is completed again in just a few short months, it will be difficult. Whoever’s in charge will have to bridge an $8 billion gap. It will be painful. And much more painful than it had to be, thanks to Ted Strickland.

John Kasich served 18 years in Congress representing a district near Columbus. He gained some notoriety early in his career publicly criticizing the president of his own party (Bush 41) for his deficit budget. Kasich became ranking member of the budget committee in 1993. He began submitting balanced budgets to Congress at a time when it was unheard of, and in opposition to his party’s own proposed budgets. Kasich later became chair of the budget committee, and eventually those balanced budgets were embraced by both parties and passed on a bipartisan basis. Kasich left Congress in 2000 with our federal budget running a surplus. It’s hard to even conceive of a balanced federal budget these days, but this is something John Kasich helped to accomplish just ten years ago.

What Ohio needs more than anything else right now is a courageous leader who can handle our budget and economic issues. When the pressure was on and we needed bold leadership, Ted Strickland ran. By contrast, John Kasich attacked cuts head-on and helped balance the federal budget at a time when the political winds weren’t even pushing for it. We can no longer afford the politics of protecting constituencies and avoiding difficult decisions.

In addition to punting on the 2009 budget, Ted Strickland has managed to occupy the governor’s office for four years without achieving any significant accomplishments. If you don’t believe that statement, just watch his campaign commercials (and those of his outside supporters). Do they speak of Strickland’s accomplishments? No - they attack John Kasich. Having no record to run on, Strickland and his supporters know that it’s too late in the game to gain votes on their own. So they have chosen to try to take votes from John Kasich by smearing him with different groups. Strickland, and in particular his union supporters, are trying to scare seniors. The Strickland team is trying to scare gun owners. More recently, the Strickland team is trying to proliferate the false notion that John Kasich will combine school districts. Millions are being spent just this weekend by outside PACs to continue these smears through election day. The idea behind this strategy is that if enough seniors, gun owners, educators, and others withhold their support for John Kasich, then an otherwise poor incumbent with no accomplishments might just be able to pull it out. This is the worst form of cynical political campaigning. People are sick of this type of politics. Do not reward Ted Strickland for this.

John Kasich is a solid conservative who will reduce the size of government and not raise taxes. His goal is the same as all of ours: for Ohio to return to greatness and be a place where our children can stay and prosper. His focus will be jobs and reducing the regulations that paralyze Ohio businesses (and he will use our guys Zehringer and Faber as his point men on this). Kasich is pro-life, and he is a gun owner who will protect and preserve your second amendment rights. Most importantly, John Kasich will have the courage to confront the difficult problems currently facing Ohio. Vote for John Kasich on Tuesday.

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