Gov. John Kasich’s Medicaid expansion is a faith-based mistake

Cross-posted from Washington Examiner.

Ohio’s Republican Gov. John Kasich seems to have settled on “it’s what God wants” as his best talking point for the Obamacare Medicaid expansion, which he has been fighting to implement for more than eight months.

In his State of the State address in February, Kasich cited his “personal faith” and lessons “from the Good Book” as driving forces behind his embrace of the Obamacare expansion.

Kasich made it clear he viewed Ohio’s options as expanding Medicaid or leaving the poor “out in the street. The Lord doesn’t want us to ignore them.”

Discussing Medicaid expansion with reporters in June, Kasich said he had told a conservative legislator that Saint Peter is “probably not gonna ask you much about what you did about keeping government small, but he’s going to ask you what you did for the poor.”

Ohio’s traditional media treated as a charming personal anecdote the governor’s warning that opposing him on Obamacare could mean an eternity in hell.

During an August radio interview, Kasich again insisted the Bible demands bigger government to serve the poor, adding, “we have to help them, and we’re expected to do that, and I believe the Lord expects us to do that.”

He reiterated the message with an “it’s what the Lord wants” comment during a September response to Medicaid expansion questions from statehouse reporters.

At an annual “Celebration of Goodness” luncheon in Cleveland on Sept. 12, Kasich was honored for supporting Medicaid expansion and for working with Cleveland’s Democratic mayor on school reform.

After singling out a local legislator who hadn’t fallen in line for the Obamacare expansion, Kasich said, “we need this program because we need to treat the addicted, and we need this program because we need to treat the mentally ill, and we need this program because we need to treat and help the working poor get comprehensive health care.”

Kasich said “all these decisions are, frankly, pretty easy for me,” then said “the Lord created the world, and He created us, men and women, to manage that creation.”

Kasich spoke at length of the need “to repair that creation in whatever way we can,” describing a broken world he seeks to fix with increased entitlement spending.

The former congressman who was elected Ohio’s governor in 2010 — who said at the beginning of that election year that he “was in the Tea Party before there was a Tea Party” — would be appalled at Kasich’s use of Christianity to validate his generosity by increasing the reach and cost of state government.

On Sept. 12, Kasich mentioned studying “the great theologians throughout history,” but late 20th century philosopher Puff Daddy best justified Kasich’s push for Medicaid expansion: It’s all about the Benjamins.

For the next three years, Obamacare promises to pay 100 percent of the coverage costs for newly eligible Medicaid recipients in states that agree to the law’s Medicaid expansion. The federal government will supposedly pay 90 percent of states’ expansion costs into perpetuity.

Concurrent with his “compassionate” equation of coercion with charity, Kasich has deceptively warned that Ohio’s Medicaid expansion dollars will go to other states if the Buckeye State rejects the expansion.

Kasich also falsely claims the billions in new federal funding Ohio could secure through compliance with Obamacare would be made up entirely of “Ohio’s tax dollars.”

Kasich’s arguments have won the hearts and minds of the media, at least. Across Ohio, reporters have spent the past seven months belting “The Battle Hymn of The Bankrupt Republic”:

“We love to tell the story of more gover’ment free stuff;

“While the bill goes to somebody else, the karma comes to us …”

Because the press shares his new-found faith in big government, Kasich is cheered as the victor in a debate that hasn’t taken place.

The Columbus Dispatch is even encouraging the governor to circumvent the General Assembly, expanding Medicaid by executive order and then asking the state Controlling Board to appropriate the resulting Obamacare funds — which may be illegal, but seems the path Columbus insiders now expect Kasich to take.

Although Kasich’s crusade for the Obamacare Medicaid expansion is backed by the traditional media and an army of lobbying groups, the governor’s sudden interest in a federal balanced budget amendment suggests his advisers realize he has damaged his credibility for 2014 and beyond.

While a balanced budget amendment is a great topic for a presumed presidential hopeful to discuss on national talk shows, in Ohio, the campaign serves to highlight how far Kasich has strayed from his stated principles by using pseudo-Christian emotional blackmail to enact a vast expansion of the welfare state.

Post to Twitter

The incoherence of John Kasich’s cave-in on Obamacare

Cross-posted from Rare.

Voters who treat politics as a process of picking and then sticking with a party or politician rather than wrestling with principles should consider the cautionary tale of Ohio Governor John Kasich.

Gov. Kasich was elected in the Tea Party wave of 2010. “I think I was in the Tea Party before there was a Tea Party,” Kasich – a plainspoken critic of Obamacare, leftist labor unions, and big government in all its forms – told Ohioans in January 2010.

If John Kasich was the first arrival to the Tea Party, he certainly wasn’t the last to leave.

Since signing a repeal of Ohio’s death tax, battling a union smear campaign against public union reform, and balancing the budget without hiking taxes in 2011, Kasich has devoted most of his energy to the Obamacare Medicaid expansion, a tax hike on fracking, and picking winners and losers via JobsOhio.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the governor is privately promising union bosses he will oppose citizens’ efforts to make Ohio a Right to Work state, though both Indiana and Michigan adopted Right to Work in 2012.

On Medicaid expansion, Team Kasich has offered sad leftist talking points in lieu of any coherent argument. The expansion is a key component of Obamacare, but Kasich insists he opposes Obamacare while simultaneously pressuring legislators to embrace the law’s Medicaid expansion.

Kasich is so eager for billions in promised funding from a federal government nearly $17 trillion in debt, he’s willing to saddle Ohioans with hundreds of millions per year in new Medicaid costs – despite his professed disdain for deficit spending.

Gov. Kasich now emphasizes the importance of the State caring for “the least among us,” as if forcing taxpayers to expand a broken, unsustainable entitlement program is the moral equivalent to charity.

Kasich has even suggested legislators will be denied entry to Heaven if they don’t vote for the Obamacare Medicaid expansion.

With Ohio’s economy slowly rebounding from years of devastating job losses, how much credit should be given to Kasich and how much to the General Assembly is up for debate.

A number of facts, however, are beyond question: State spending has grown dramatically since Kasich took office; Kasich has sought to redistribute energy company earnings for nakedly political reasons; Kasich is fighting to implement the Obamacare Medicaid expansion.

That’s not to say Gov. Kasich has done nothing to advance the cause of liberty, but how much good policy would it take to balance the impact of Medicaid expansion alone?

Like so many Republicans before him, John Kasich seems happy to serve as standard-bearer for a political philosophy whose central tenets are contradictory: a limited government, but not so limited that it doesn’t care.

If you’re curious as to the extent of Kasich’s control over the Ohio Republican Party, ask a state or local party official about the Obamacare Medicaid expansion. Instead of a debate over any of the substantive issues conservatives have raised in the past six months, you’ll be met with debunked Kasich Administration rhetoric and instructions to ignore malcontents who disagree with the governor.

Post to Twitter

Medicaid Expansion: Beating a Trojan Horse

Who would have guessed so many states that sued DC for the freedom to opt out of the Obamacare Medicaid expansion would even consider opening their gates for new entitlement funding from a government that’s effectively bankrupt?

To describe the arguments for Medicaid expansion as “bad” would be like calling Oedipus Rex “kind of a downer.” Consider the latest example from here in the Buckeye State: “Medicaid expansion would cost Ohio less than doing nothing, study shows.”

That’s not a satirical blurb I made up to mock liberals – that’s a headline from The Columbus Dispatch, the most influential newspaper in the state.

See, in January the Dispatch, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Cincinnati Enquirer, Toledo Blade, and Akron Beacon Journal each endorsed the Obamacare Medicaid expansion, and every paper did so while leaning on projections from a Health Policy Institute of Ohio (HPIO) study.

The January HPIO study was a shining tribute to The Broken Window Fallacy, framing Obamacare funding as free money that would create jobs and pump up tax revenues in the state.

Through some combination of ideology and ignorance, the editorial boards all agreed HPIO’s study proved Governor John Kasich, supposedly a small-government conservative, had made a bold, pragmatic choice by caving to Obamacare – and it showed in each paper’s news coverage.

Fast forward to the August legislative recess, after “flint-hearted,” “off-the-chart right” House Republicans dashed the hopes of Gov. Kasich, progressive activists, the hospital lobby, the Chamber of Commerce, and the media by stripping the Obamacare Medicaid expansion from Kasich’s biennial budget.

The big papers have ensured no criticism of Medicaid expansion sees the light of day in theirreputable publications, but in a state where all 88 counties voted for a Healthcare Freedom Amendment in 2011, the Obamacare Trojan horse needs a little extra varnish.

What better way to rustle up support for a key component of President Obama’s imploding health law than with another HPIO study founded on ridiculous fallacies?

The Plain Dealer editors have openly encouraged “casting Medicaid expansion as Medicaid reform,” telegraphing which lies Obamacare advocates should tell. This month, HPIO delivered with a report designed for muddling Medicaid expansion and Medicaid reform in the minds of low-information voters.

In its new study, HPIO compared Ohio’s estimated future Medicaid spending with two scenarios that both assumed Ohio adopts the Obamacare expansion while putting ambitious caps on Medicaid spending growth.

The study concluded that by holding spending growth far below its expected trend, Ohio could save enough money to cover the cost of the Obamacare Medicaid expansion… and the press reported this as “YOU GUYS, expanding Medicaid would save money!”

Think about that: Ohio reporters think Ohioans are so stupid, we’ll believe it would cost less than nothing to expand Medicaid to unknown hundreds of thousands of able-bodied childless adults under the age of 65.

Unfortunately for Obamacare backers and the state-worshiping press, it gets easier every day for citizens to find information online, check competing arguments for themselves, and reach out to friends, family, and their elected officials with what they learn.

This story was originally published at FreedomWorks.

Post to Twitter

Obamanomics 101 with Sherrod Brown

Cross-posted from Breitbart.com.

President Obama can’t be in the battleground state of Ohio selling his Keynesian politics every day, but U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) was running on the same platform back when the president was still organizing Chicago communities. See how easily Sherrod Brown could teach a course singing the praises of Obama’s failed economic policies.

Like President Obama, Sherrod Brown believes more centralized power in Washington, D.C. is the answer to every problem – and he’s happy to attack anyone vaguely conservative who argues otherwise. When it comes to free trade and a national “industrial policy,” Sherrod is a constant force pulling Obama even further to the left.

Sherrod Brown and Barack Obama are never able to explain how America can afford the crushing new Obamacare tax or the other entitlement programs the Left holds sacred, so I wrote a web app that lets YOU solve the deficit spending crisis. Try out SoakTheRich.us and challenge your friends to help, too!

Take a look at my previous Big Government coverage for more specifics on Sherrod Brown’s fight for socialized medicine, his Socialist voting record, and the depth of his dedication to union bosses.

Post to Twitter

Sherrod Brown: Progressive, or Socialist?

Cross-posted from Breitbart.com.

Does a socialist by another name still think bigger central government solves every problem? If Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) is your test case, the answer is a resounding “Yes.” Sherrod was a member of the fringe-left Congressional Progressive Caucus during his years in the House of Representatives, and his Senate record proves Sherrod barely differs from Socialist Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Membership in the Congressional Progressive Caucus — founded by Sanders in the early ’90s — is itself a sign of a socialist-leaning politician who recognizes the need to work within the Democratic Party. The Congressional Progressive Caucus website was actually hosted by the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) for several years before being moved; hard to distance oneself from the “s” word when your web presence is managed by the nation’s largest Socialist group.

Courtesy of the Internet Archive, you can see DSA web pages listing Bernie Sanders as Congressional Progressive Caucus chair and Sherrod Brown as a Congressional Progressive Caucus member. Compare the Caucus’s list of demands circa 1998 (gut the military, soak the rich, socialize medicine) with the official Socialist checklist from DSA, and it’s clear branding was the only difference between the two groups.

In fact, though Sherrod left the Congressional Progressive Caucus when he moved from the House to the Senate in 2007, he remains incredibly in sync with avowed Socialist Bernie Sanders… except when Sherrod is even further left:

Sherrod Brown and Bernie Sanders

Similarities don’t end there, as Sherrod and Bernie have worked closely on a number of issues in the past two years. Sherrod and Bernie regularly co-opt religious communities for the sake of Big Labor as they did in December 2010, which for leftists causes no conflict with their support for taxpayer-funded abortion on demand.

When the Bush tax cuts were about to expire at the end of 2010, Sherrod joined Bernie in a melodramatic mock filibuster demanding tax hikes on The Rich — a theme both senators harp on constantly.

In July 2011, leftist radio host Thom Hartmann hosted a “Brunch with Senators Bernie Sanders and Sherrod Brown” segment. Listeners unable to identify each senator’s uniquely grating voice likely had no clue where Sherrod’s opinions stopped and Bernie’s began.

In March 2012, Sherrod and Bernie were key sponsors of a bill attempting to pin gas prices on Wall Street speculators and, naturally, wrap the fat-cats in red tape.

Add to all this Sherrod’s bleating that Paul Ryan and the GOP want to ruin Medicare and Social Security by privatizing the wonderfully bankrupt entitlement programs, and it gets harder to tell the crazy white-haired Socialist senator from the crazy gray-haired Democrat senator.

Sherrod Brown rode a wave of perfect circumstances to election in 2006. If Ohioans behave like Vermonters by voting for more of Sherrod’s idiotic job-and-freedom-killing policies again this fall, America is well and truly screwed.

Follow me on Twitter: @jasonahart

Post to Twitter

Sherrod Brown’s Obamacare Problem

Cross-posted from Breitbart.com.

Ohio Democrat Sherrod Brown has a problem: he was the deciding Senate vote for Obamacare, and six months ago Ohio voters approved a constitutional amendment to block Obamacare. But that’s only the beginning, considering the multitude of speeches and MSNBC appearances where Sherrod championed one of the few ideas that would’ve made Obamacare even worse:

As icing on a bitter Progressive cake, read this interview with Ezra Klein where Sherrod complains that Republicans of old would have let the Democrats pass an even bigger stepping stone towards single-payer socialized medicine:

They don’t have the right wing wackos blowing in their ear. Anybody with any decency and perspective watching this saw how the right wing so overreached by out-and-out lying and scaring people.

I leave to the reader to determine whether Sherrod Brown is in any position to judge another human’s decency or perspective.

How will Sherrod’s cheerleading for a public option in Obamacare be his undoing? Last November, the Tea Party-driven Ohio Healthcare Freedom Amendment – which blocks Obamacare’s individual mandate in Ohio – passed with 2,268,470 votes, 66%/34%. In November 2006, Sherrod Brown won his Senate race 56%/44%,receiving 2,257,485 votes.

Despite the $41 million Big Labor smear campaign against an adjacent issue, the anti-Obamacare ballot measure drew more “Yes” votes in an off year than Sherrod’s anti-war campaign could manage in a year marked by Iraq fatigue, Dubya fatigue, and an Ohio Republican Party almost too embroiled in scandal to hold a circular firing squad. With fewer registered voters, lower turnout, and an extremely limited budget, the Healthcare Freedom Amendment beat Sherrod’s 2006 numbers by nearly 11,000 votes.

Think Sherrod Brown regrets spending several months of his endless MSNBC circuit fighting to make Obamacare even bigger?

With a little research, you don’t have to trust Breitbart.com, the National Taxpayers Union (Sherrod scored an F in their 2011 report card), Club for Growth (Sherrod’s lifetime score is 3%), or the American Conservative Union (Sherrod scored 0% each of the last three years) to realize Sherrod’s voting record is far left of Ohio’s electorate. The landslide passage of the Healthcare Freedom Amendment suggests Ohio’s electorate is likely to realize it, too.

Sherrod Brown’s embrace of socialized medicine plays well in northeast Ohio. As for the rest of the state… let’s just say it’s no wonder Sherrod is already running attack ads!

You can see the entire C-SPAN2 clip of Sherrod’s May 21, 2009 Senate floor speechcourtesy of our pals at SEIU. The 09/01/2009 Organizing for America rally in Columbus is the same event where Sherrod encouraged the crowd to support socialized medicine in honor of Ted Kennedy. The MSNBC clips from The Ed Show, CNN clip from State of the Union, and both Maddow segments are also from YouTube, as is the recorded statement from Sherrod to the fringe-left cranks at ProgressOhio.

I can’t track down the source for the first clip on YouTube, but leftist radio host Thom Hartmann has a photo of Sherrod at the podium with Bernie Sanders seated next to him.

Follow me on Twitter: @jasonahart

Post to Twitter

Sherrod Brown’s Big Labor Fable

Cross-posted from Breitbart.com.

Like any politician, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) has a few go-to parables he’s been repeating for years. The moral of Sherrod’s favorite story? Big Labor and Progressive activists are responsible for everything good about America, and conservatives want to drag us back to the days of horrifying individualism.

From his 2006 Senate campaign to his many tirades against public union reform and Planned Parenthood cuts in 2011, Sherrod’s telling of the “canary in a mineshaft” classic has remained much the same. Throw in a demand for single-payer socialized medicine, praise for stimulus spending, and a few Occupy-style references to corporate billionaires, and you’ve heard every Sherrod Brown speech from the past decade.

What do you think is the most sickening part of this story? Sherrod’s insistence that labor unions and abortion activists are the reason for improved life expectancy? His suggestion that today’s government employees are the same as miners from a century ago? His warning that conservatives want to send America back 100 years by cutting spending and reining in public unions?

Politicians occasionally slip and admit something they would prefer to cloak in well-practiced talking points. With Sherrod Brown, that’s not really the case: Sherrod openly adores Big Labor and federal bureaucracy, and he publicly berates anyone who would stand in their way.

If you’re a masochist, you can watch the full teachers’ union event from the Columbus Education Association on YouTube; Senate floor C-SPAN footage from TheBilliam39; Planned Parenthood speech from choweysstillme; Ohio State rally from yellowdogsammy.

Follow me on Twitter: @jasonahart

Post to Twitter

Sherrod Brown Compares GOP Governors to Hitler, Stalin

Last year while governors across the Midwest worked to reform broken public union laws, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) slandered them in a speech that could have easily been written by one of the millionaire “leaders” at SEIU, NEA, or AFSCME.

During one of his stemwinders about the wondrous things unions do, Sherrod dropped a reductio ad Hitlerum on Governor Kasich (OH), Governor Walker (WI), and Governor Christie (NJ):

Bizarrely, Sherrod claims he’s not comparing Kasich, Walker, and Christie to Hitler, Stalin, and Mubarak in the middle of comparing them to Hitler, Stalin, and Mubarak. While he’s conflating overdue reforms with mass murder, Sherrod also repeats one of his favorite deceptions by pretending government unions are the same as private industry unions.

Several media outlets noted the dictatorial portion of Sherrod’s rant, and the next day he apologized for stepping in it:

“But in speaking about this, I should not have mentioned the hostility of tyrants like Hitler to unions,” Brown said. “I don’t want my mistake to distract from the critical debate in Ohio, and I apologize for it.”

Sherrod didn’t want “to distract from the critical debate” over public union reform! Even now, slamming Ohio’s Senate Bill 5 as an “attack on workers” is the cornerstone of Sherrod’s stump speech – yet he always runs out of time before debating any of the critical specifics. Big Labor’s opponents are evil because it’s evil to oppose Big Labor.

Sherrod Brown is desperate to get additional mileage out of the union bosses’ $40 million smear campaign, but remember what was actually in Ohio’s union reform bill:

  • Replace automatic step increases with merit pay for public workers.
  • Require public employees to pay 10% of their pension costs and 15% of their health insurance costs.
  • End forced payment of “fair-share” fees for public workers who don’t want to join a union.
  • End last-in, first-out firing policies, requiring considerations other than tenure when local governments must make layoffs.
  • Public workers retain the privilege of collective bargaining for wages & working conditions, but may no longer go on strike against the public.

No less the Progressive than FDR, patron saint of caring Democrats, knew public unions are an awful idea. Either Sherrod Brown is too dense to recognize government and private industry are different, or he’s been lying for years to protect his favorite interest group.

Footnote: This clip is from the same speech where Sherrod claimed public union reform violates Christian principles. Refer again to the bullet points above; those are the sort of hateful reforms that get you slandered on the Senate floor as a tyrannical heathen by Sherrod Brown.

Transcript of the C-SPAN clip follows.

Sherrod Brown: Because we, as a country, we stand for a more egalitarian workforce. We stand for worker rights. We believe workers should organize and bargain collectively, if they choose. We believe in a minimum wage. We believe in workers’ compensation. We believe in worker safety. We believe in human rights, and all of that is about the labor movement, and, you know, you can support labor rights in Guatemala, but you better damn be sure you’re supporting labor rights in Wilmington, and Columbus, and Cleveland, and, and Detroit, and Dover, Delaware, and everywhere else.

And that’s, um, that’s, those were, those were some of the words Secretary Clinton said – I’m obviously expanding on them – but, as a nation, you know, I I I I look back at history and some of the worst governments we’ve ever had, you know one of the first things they did? They went after the trade unions. Hitler didn’t want unions, Stalin didn’t want unions, Mubarak didn’t want independent unions. These, these autocrats in history don’t want independent unions. So when I see, when I see in Egypt, or if I see in, in the old Soviet Russia, or I see – history tells me about Germany – I, I, I’m not, I’m not comparing what’s happening to the workers in Madison or in Columbus to Hitler and Stalin, but I am saying that history teaches us that unions are a very positive force in society that creates a middle class and that protects our freedom.

Post to Twitter

End in Sight for ORP Fight?

If you’ve followed the recent head-butting between Governor Kasich and Ohio Republican Party (ORP) Chairman Kevin DeWine, you know Tuesday was not DeWine’s day. If you’re a Third Base Politics regular, you also know where I stand on the subject: Kevin DeWine has squandered the trust of conservative activists whose support ORP desperately needs this year, and should step down.

Following a couple of posts in January, I’ve been happy to defer to more knowledgeable observers for ORP State Central Committee coverage. The inside baseball of this dispute doesn’t interest me much, but Kevin DeWine’s actions over the past two months validate the concerns I shared in December.

Yesterday Bytor posted a list of Central Committee winners, highlighting known losses for DeWine. Today ONN’s Jim Heath tweeted a series of updates & questions about the post-election Central Committee meeting DeWine has scheduled:

Actually, the meeting will determine who leads ORP only if a vote is called. Will Kevin DeWine (who has convinced at least 1 person of his success Tuesday) include an up-or-down vote on his continued chairmanship in the agenda?

My impression is that Team Kasich sought candidates who shared the governor’s belief DeWine should be replaced, as opposed to candidates who would support a specific replacement. I would be surprised if Governor Kasich endorsed anyone between now and April 13th.

This gets back to inside baseball: I don’t know enough to comment on the good, bad, or ugly attributes of any potential candidates. I do know that instead of discreetly resolving his issues with Kasich and Speaker Batchelder, Kevin DeWine turned a dispute into a debacle – after pouring big bucks into electing his cousin Mike DeWine and his pal Jon Husted, dishonestly appropriating the Tea Party brand in the process.

The fact that DeWine is calling a meeting does indeed suggest he’s confident of his position. The fact that the meeting is the same day as the post-primary campaign finance filing deadline tells a different story! Given recent history, Committee members will want to know: how much donor money did DeWine spend defending himself, and how much of that went to disgraced consultant Brett Buerck?

Smoldering in the background is DeWine’s implausible claim to have disqualified several Kasich-backed Central Committee candidates with a last-minute rule change. If DeWine attempts to block elected Committee members from being placed, this whole mess could get a whole lot messier.

Regardless of whether you think DeWine should stay or go, a vote of the new ORP State Central Committee is the only way for this fight to end. Friday the 13th can’t come soon enough.

Cross-posted at Third Base Politics.

Post to Twitter

What to Watch For In Ohio Tomorrow

My state is considered a vital GOP pickup this fall, as no Republican has ever won the presidency without winning Ohio. Our midterm election’s results send mixed signals: a $40 million Big Labor smear campaign convinced Ohioans to overturn public union reform, but we also voted 66 – 34% to block Obamacare.

Consistent with the whipsaw nature of this primary, polling mid-February suggested Ohio may be a lock for Rick Santorum. Quinnipiac registered a 7-point Santorum advantage in separate polls of likely voters completed 02/12 and 02/26. On 02/15, Rasmussen polling showed Santorum with a staggering 18-point lead, and the University of Cincinnati’s Ohio Poll conducted 02/16 to 02/26 indicated Saontorum was up by 11.

Heading into the February 22 Arizona debate, Santorum looked to be the last heir to the “not Romney” throne. Could he maintain enough momentum to roll Mitt Romney on Super Tuesday, despite Romney’s gold-plated ground game?

The debate was Santorum’s chance to shine, but he didn’t weather attacks from Romney and Ron Paul as well as he could have. I’ve been enthusiastic about zero candidates since Rick Perry dropped out; the Arizona debate finally convinced me to vote for Mitt Romney. How many other Ohio conservatives had a similar reaction to the snippy, discouraging tussle between Romney and Santorum?

In many cases, it won’t matter: Rick Santorum’s name will not be on the ballot in 3 of 16 Congressional districts tomorrow. Add to this news that Santorum failed to submit a full slate of delegates for 6 additional districts, and even a victory for Santorum in Ohio would be followed by an asterisk.

An NBC/Marist poll conducted yesterday shows a statistical dead heat. The in-inevitable Romney may yet win Ohio, in spite of himself and his campaign’s dicey consulting choices. Francesca Chambers at Red Alert Politics suggests Sen. Portman has buoyed Romney’s ailing Ohio operation in the past week. It doesn’t hurt to have enough cash to account for 80% of the total TV ad spend in Super Tuesday contests, either!

Ohio’s employment picture is brightening, but economic issues remain a huge concern here. Will Ohio Republicans take a chance on the author of Romneycare, or the guy barraged with questions about birth control? Whoever wins Super Tuesday and the eventual nomination, November in Ohio should be a contest between uniquely American ideals and Obama’s ideal America.

Other races to watch:

  • Expect Josh Mandel – who is endorsed by Sen. DeMint and has already raised millions for November – to be the hands-down nominee for Sherrod Brown’s U.S. Senate seat.
  • Ohio GOP State Central Committee races have been heated. The party’s ugly power struggle continues, with Chairman Kevin DeWine’s ability to work with Governor Kasich and others up for debate. If Kasich supporters win a majority of Committee seats and DeWine remains in charge, kinks in the Ohio GOP’s inner workings could damage general election campaigns.

Don’t doubt Barack Obama can be beaten in Ohio. While Kasich’s approval ratings tick into positive territory, Obama remains underwater. The idea of papering over problems with “stimulus” spending may have overstayed its welcome. And remember, Obama for America must contend with the awful record of Sen. Brown, who flaunts Obama’s worst traits like a crazed Progressive peacock.

Cross-posted at Third Base Politics and Columbus Tea Party.

Post to Twitter