--John Kasich & Mary Taylor--Kasich has done a great job as governor and Ohio will greatly benefit from another 4 years of his leadership.
Others who have done great jobs since ring elected four years ago are:
--Auditor Dave Yost http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/editorials/2014/09/28/for-auditor.html
--Secretary of State Jon Husted & Treasurer Josh Mandel http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/editorials/2014/09/28/for-secretary-of-state-treasurer.html
--Attorney General Mike Dewine http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/editorials/2014/09/28/for-attorney-general.html
(You can read more about why they deserve reelection in these links to the Columbus Dispatch, Sunday, Sept. 28.)
--State Senator Frank LaRose deserves a strong reelection vote.
So does Rep. Mike Dovilla.
On the national level, Columbus and Ohio are lucky to have excellent Congressional representation by Pat Tiberi and Steve Stivers.
Election Day is only five weeks away! Mark your calendar or vote early or via absentee ballot.
A new Government Accountability Institute (GAI) report reveals that President Barack Obama has attended only 42.1% of his daily intelligence briefings (known officially as the Presidential Daily Brief, or PDB) in the 2,079 days of his presidency through September 29, 2014.The GAI report also included a breakdown of Obama’s PDB attendance record between terms; he attended 42.4% of his PDBs in his first term and 41.3% in his second.The GAI’s alarming findings come on the heels of Obama’s 60 Minutes comments on Sunday, wherein the president laid the blame for the Islamic State’s (ISIS) rapid rise squarely at the feet of his Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.“I think our head of the intelligence community, Jim Clapper, has acknowledged that I think they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria,” said Obama.According to Daily Beast reporter Eli Lake, members of the Defense establishment were “flabbergasted” by Obama’s attempt to shift blame.“Either the president doesn’t read the intelligence he’s getting or he’s bullshitting,” a former senior Pentagon official “who worked closely on the threat posed by Sunni jihadists in Syria and Iraq” told the Daily Beast.On Monday, others in the intelligence community similarly blasted Obama and said he’s shown longstanding disinterest in receiving live, in-person PDBs that allow the Commander-in-Chief the chance for critical followup, feedback, questions, and the challenging of flawed intelligence assumptions.“It's pretty well-known that the president hasn’t taken in-person intelligence briefings with any regularity since the early days of 2009,” an Obama national security staffer told the Daily Mail on Monday. “He gets them in writing.”The Obama security staffer said the president’s PDBs have contained detailed threat warnings about the Islamic State dating back to before the 2012 presidential election.
Republicans Need a Direction
They could win by default, but that's not good enough.
In a year when Republicans are operating in such an enviable political environment, why aren't their U.S. Senate candidates holding big and impressive leads? Why does it look close? Why are party professionals getting worried?
The Democratic president is unpopular. What progress can be claimed in the economy is tentative, uneven, feels temporary. True unemployment is bad and people who have jobs feel stressed and hammered by costs. Americans are less optimistic than they've ever been in the modern era, with right-track/wrong-track numbers upside down. Scandals, war, uncertain leadership—all this has yielded a sense the whole enterprise of the past six years just did not work.
But Republicans aren't achieving lift-off. The metaphor used most often is the wave. If Republicans can't make, catch and ride a wave in an environment like this, they've gone from being the stupid party to the stupid loser party.
An accomplished establishment Republican this week shrugged and noted the obvious: Every race is state-by-state and has its own realities; some candidates prove good and some are disappointing. Another establishment figure, an elected officeholder, observed with satisfaction that Republicans in Washington have done a good job making sure local candidates weren't nutty persons who said nutty things.
But is that enough? Kellyanne Conway of The Polling Co. says no: "It's not enough for voters to have a candidate who doesn't say something controversial. They need something compelling."
The party's consultants say it comes down to money: Republicans are raising less than Democrats and need more. But Ms. Conway notes that in 2012, well-funded Republicans George Allen, Connie Mack, Linda McMahon, Josh Mandel and Tommy Thompson all went down to defeat. It's not all about money.
The question this week is whether the election should be nationalized, lifted beyond the local and given power by clear stands on some agreed-upon national issues. Those who resist say the election has already been nationalized by Barack Obama. His and his administration's unpopularity are all the unifying force that's needed.
But put aside the word "nationalized." Shouldn't the Republican Party make it clear right now exactly what it is for and what it intends to do?
Here the views of Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and much of the Washington-based GOP election apparatus have held sway. If you are explicit in terms of larger policy ideas, you just give Democrats something to shoot at. Don't give them a target. ObamaCare, the foreign-policy mess, the IRS—these are so unpopular they're more than enough reason to vote Republican. Don't give voters a reason not to!
This sounds like the hard practicality of big-time politics, and it has a certain logic. But it doesn't take into account some underlying realities.
One is the rising air of public crisis. Many voters, especially in the Republican base, feel America is under threat and we are losing our country. They feel they are fighting to save it. In a time of alarm, vagueness doesn't seem clever but oblivious—out of touch and unaware.
The cliché is that Republicans are old, white, don't like women or science, are narrow, numeric and oppose all modern ways. The cliché probably isn't as powerful as it used to be because the president has made so many new Republicans, but it's still there.
But Republicanism right now has a special duty to be dynamic and serious. It has to paint a world of the possible. It has to make people feel that things can be made better. The spirit animating the party should be "This way, we will take that hill and hold it. Together, now, let's march." To rouse people you have to tell them your plans.
And it would be especially welcome at this moment. The Democratic Party in the last years of Obama is running on empty, pushing old buttons. To judge by their current campaigns, their only bullets are mischief and malice. The mischief includes a wholly fictional Republican war on women and the malice involves class-mongering and "check your privilege" manipulation. Only the young seem idealistic; older Democrats seem like a sated force.
The Democrats' reputation is suffering, but the point here is the Republicans'. When you have a poor brand, do you spend all your time saying the other guy is worse? Or do you start rebuilding your reputation? In politics that means saying what you are for, not what you are against, and what you will do, not what the other guy will do if the voters let him.
A third reason to go with the idea of avowed meaning is the suspicion some voters must have that while to vote Democratic this year is to vote for the potential of more trouble, to vote Republican may be a vote for nothing changing or improving very much.
Both parties in Washington use stasis as a strategy. I suspect there are Republicans on the ground who intuit the Republican version of this. Republican inertia was outlined to me this spring, ironically, by a GOP congressman:
The 2010 election, he explained, was about winning the House, don't rock the boat. Twenty twelve was all about the presidential—again don't rock the boat, don't mess things up with anything controversial, win the presidency to effect change. In 2014, he said, it's all about the Senate—win it, hold the House. Then in 2016 it's going to be all about the presidential and holding the Senate. In 2018, he said, it will be all about holding Congress for a Republican president or against a Democratic one. Then in 2020 it will be all about the presidential.
After that, he said, we might do something!
His point was that party professionals think the party has to keep winning, so—wait. For what?
Republican political professionals need to get the meaning of things back. Otherwise, if Republicans do take the Senate, their new majority will arrive not having won on the basis of something shared. They will not be able to claim any mandate for anything. That will encourage them to become self-driven freelancers in a very pleasant and distinguished freelancer's club, which is sort of what the Senate is.
It's good to win, but winning without a declared governing purpose is a ticket to nowhere.
Some feel a vague list of general stands might solve the problem and do the trick. They think it's probably too late to do more than that. But there are 6½ weeks before the election, and plenty of voters would be asking for more information and open to changing their minds. In such circumstances, explicit vows are more likely to be taken seriously than airy sentiments.
Republicans need to say what they're for. They need to make it new and true—not something defensive but something equal to the moment.
The Recovery That Left Out Almost Everybody
America's economy has not worked for average families since the Clinton administration ended.
If they were judging the economy by the monthly jobs report, working Americans would be popping champagne corks. Total employment has risen every month for more than four years. According to the Current Population Survey, more than eight million jobs have been created since the trough, while the number of unemployed has been cut by nearly six million. The unemployment rate has declined to 6.1% from 10%, and the number of Americans enduring long-term unemployment (27 weeks or more) has fallen to three million from 4.3 million in the past 12 months.
Yet average Americans remain gloomy about the current economy and anxious about its future. According to a Pew Research Center report released this month, only 21% rate current conditions as excellent or good, versus 79% fair or poor. Only 33% say that jobs are readily available in their communities; when asked about good jobs, that figure falls to 26%. Only 22% believe the economy will be better a year from now; 22% think it will be worse, while fully 54% think it will be the same.
More than five years after the official end of the recession, the Public Religion Research Institute finds, only 21% of Americans believe the recession has ended.
Two recent reports help explain the disconnect between the official jobs numbers and the economic experience of most Americans. Every fall, the U.S. Commerce Department issues a detailed analysis of trends in income, poverty and health insurance. Although economists have some technical quibbles with the Commerce data, the broad trends are unmistakable.
This year's report found that median household income was $51,939 in 2013, 8% lower than in 2007, the last year before the recession. Households in the middle of the income distribution earned about $4,500 less last year than they had six years earlier. No wonder 56% of Americans told the Pew Research Center that their incomes were falling behind the cost of living.
The Federal Reserve's triennial Survey of Consumer Finances confirms these findings. Between 2010 and 2013, the Fed reports, median family income fell by 5%, even though average family income rose by 4%. This is, note the authors, "consistent with increasing income concentration during this period." Only families in the top 10%, with annual incomes averaging nearly $400,000, saw gains during these three years. Families headed by college graduates eked out a gain of 1%, while those with a high-school diploma or less saw declines of about 7%. Those in the middle—with some postsecondary education—did the worst: From 2010 to 2013, their annual incomes declined to less than $41,000 from $46,000—an 11% plunge. Families headed by workers under age 35 have done especially badly—even when the heads of those young families have college degrees. The economic struggles of the millennials are more than anecdotal.
What's going on? The Census report offers a clue. The median earnings for Americans working full-time year round haven't changed much since 2007. But more than five years into the recovery, there are fewer such workers than before the recession. In 2007, 108.6 million Americans were working full time, year-round; in 2013 only 105.9 million were doing so. Although jobs are being created, too many of them are part-time to maintain growth in household incomes.
This is not by choice. About the same number of Americans were employed last month as in December 2007. But during that period, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of Americans working part time who wanted a full-time job jumped to 7.2 million from 4.6 million. Not only are hourly wages stagnating; America's families want more hours of work than the economy is providing.
Although the Great Recession was the most severe since World War II, in many ways it underscored trends that have been under way for decades. Adjusted for inflation, median earnings of men working full time, year-round are no higher than they were in 1980. Median household income is almost $5,000 lower than it was in 1999, and no higher than it was it 1989.
The modest income increases of the past two generations have occurred because women have surged into the paid workforce—and because their real wages have grown at a compound annual rate of 0.8%. But both these trends peaked in 2000. Not surprisingly, the years after the 2001 recession witnessed the only postwar recovery in which median incomes failed to regain their previous peak.
The American economy hasn't worked for average families since the end of the Clinton administration. A recovery that leaves them out is no recovery at all, and they know it. This simple fact goes a long way toward explaining the tone of our current politics and the temper of our society. It will not change for the better unless we can recreate an economy in which work is rewarded and family incomes rise. That is the great task of the next decade—and must be the prime focus of the next presidential election.