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Kasich told Ohioans to trust him to do the improbable: balance budget and cut taxes

Published: Fri, November 5, 2010 @ 12:00 a.m.

Going into Tuesday’s election, the adage “be careful what you wish for” could well have applied to either Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, seeking re-election, or former congressman John Kasich, seeking to replace Strickland.

In either case, the winner was going to face four years of almost impossible challenges in a state where people continue to demand services, expect investment in infrastructure and education so as to create or attract jobs, complain about the level of taxation and don’t seem to understand why they can’t have it all.

The stakes were high, not only for Strickland, Kasich and Ohio, but for the national political parties.

Battleground state

Ohio is one of the most volatile of the swing states and the party that holds the governorship in 2012 would presumably inherit an advantage in the presidential race. That’s why the state saw so many national political luminaries in the final weeks of the campaign. And why it was virtually impossible to turn on a television set without an ad from one side bashing the other — and, yes, most of the advertising was of the bashing variety.

And in the end, Ohio was caught up in — no, it was a leader in — the movement to replace Democrats with Republicans.

Look at the outcome. Not only did Kasich oust Strickland, but Republicans swept every statewide office — U.S. senator, treasurer, auditor and secretary of state, attorney general, three Ohio Supreme Court races, retook control of the state House, retained control of the state Senate and dramatically improved its hold on the Ohio delegation to the U.S. House.

Republicans in Ohio are now in a far stronger position than the man attributed with giving them there Tuesday sweep, President Barack Obama, whose party controlled the House with the help of a contingent of Blue Dog Democrats and the Senate with enough votes to spare to stop some Republican filibusters.

If, as Republicans successfully argued, there was no excuse for Obama not to have solved America’s problems in 21 months, Ohio’s incoming governor, John Kasich, should expect to be held to no less of a standard.

Hitting the books

Both Kasich and Strickland knew that they were going to face an enormous challenge in balancing Ohio’s budget and Ohio — unlike the federal government — must balance its books. It is constitutionally required to do so; it is unable to carry an operating deficit from one year to the next and obviously can’t print money to pad its books.

Strickland was fuzzy during the campaign about how he’d attack the problem. Kasich absolutely refused to be specific about where he’d make cuts — saying only that he had done so before when he was in Congress and would do so again. He doubled down by pledging not only to balance the budget, but to do so while cutting taxes — again, without saying how he’d accomplish that.

His improbable promises, coupled with his refusal to be specific, was one of the main reasons The Vindicator found it impossible to endorse him.

What comes next

We are now prepared to be wowed by his budgetary prowess. We eagerly await the list of things he will cut to remove $4 billion to $8 billion from the next biennial budget without breaking faith with his constituents. And we would guess that most of his constituents would consider it a break of faith if the elderly were denied nursing home care. Or if state universities no longer provided their communities with comprehensive educational opportunities or were forced to institute dramatic increases in tuition and fees. Or if the cost of running pubic schools were shifted to local property taxes, especially since in Tuesday’s election only about half of the school levies on the ballot passed and only about a quarter of the ones seeking new money were approved.

Kasich has said nothing will be off the table as he and his advisers work on the budget that must be submitted by March 15. And that, by the standards he has set, must include tax cuts and must make Ohio a more attractive place for business. Kasich blamed Strickland for the state’s loss of jobs — in commercials, in his stump speeches and during candidate debates. He touted his experience in creating jobs and left himself no wiggle room in his promise to deliver.

If he succeeds, he will have earned every accolade that should come his way — from supporters, doubters and detractors alike. If he fails, he and his party should be held to the standard they established in the recently completed election campaign.

He’s headed toward one of two fates: He deserves to either be hailed as a conquering hero or hoisted on his own petard.


1burford(95 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

The trough feeders and the Vindicator always dismiss candidates who have a vision and strongly held beliefs. Kasich beleives in smaller government, less taxes and a balanced budget.

Can he achieve his goals? No one knows for sure. But I would rather have a candidate who at least has principles and a vision then someone who only cares about himself.

Harry Reid became a millionaire after he became a senator. We know what his goals were. What is the vision of Anthony Traficanti for Mahoning County. Or Ronald Gerberry, or Jay Williams.

The problem with thia area is that we are hamstrung by unqualified public officials. People who couldn't make much of a living without politics. Same for the state level and federal level.

And the strange thing is the Vindicator endorses these people and promotes them. You would think that a more prosperous Youngstown would help the Vindicator's bottom line. But instead they keep pushing candidates who have failed to lead time and time again. Odd.

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2palbubba(802 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

As usual the biased Vindy casts doubt on the newly elected Governor. Their take is that Ohio was on a mission to replace democrats with republicans. I say the mission was to rid Ohio of all those politicians who did none of what they promised to do. Again the problem of party loyalty has reared its ugly head. The Vindy ought to try actually being a newspaper reporting truth, rather than an outlet for the democrats. Good luck with that.

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3redvert(2238 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

It is very simple, if the Republicans do not deliver on their promises they will be gone as the Democrats were and rightfully so.

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4rocky14(830 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

Pull down your pants and bend over--because we are about to get what Mr Wall Street promised us.

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5valleyred(1103 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

The Vindicator Editorial Staff is just upset that almost all of their statewide endorsements lost on Tuesday.. Goes to show you newspaper endorsements mean nothing nowadays.

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6burford(95 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago


I don't know much about Kasich. I think he was elected at a young age to a state rep seat and then US Congressman.

He left the Congress about 10 years ago and headed up the banking division at Lehman Borthers in Columbus.

He is a best selling author and now the governor elect of Ohio. He has done pretty well.

What is your point?

And by the way what do you do for a living? How about your work history timeline?

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7peacelover(838 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

Sarah Palin is a "best selling author" too. Which proves that just about anyone can get a book published. And his being associated with Lehman Bros. sure is not a plus in my opinion. Unless he learned his lesson. Let's hope.

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8NoBS(2758 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

Good, bad, or indifferent, he's the next governor. Here we go!!!

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9Traveler(606 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

Republican will find it as hard to balance the budget by cutting taxes and spending. Just like the democrats found it impossible to create jobs by raising taxes and raising spending on anything that is green or looks like a handout.

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10rocky14(830 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

George Bush and the Republicans cut taxes AND spent---how did that work out?

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11Freeatlast(1991 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

He will do it on the backs of the poor and working stiffs. GO TEA PARTY

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12northsideperson(366 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

Kasich as governor is unproven. He gets no cred just by virtue of being elected, we'll see what kind of job he does and he will stand or fall by that.

Some of the problems Ohio faces are out of the state government's control. If the economy turns around, we cannot necessarily credit that to the government (although I'm sure they'll claim responsibility), and if it doesn't turn around, we can't necessarily blame the government..

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