Buckeye political mediocrityA lot of folks chime in about just how Republican Ohio has become over the years, and they are quick to point to our large GOP majorities in the legislature, our successive Republican governors, and our huge numbers in county commissions and Sheriff's offices all over the state.
Unfortunately, many of our so-called "Republican" leaders have been Republican-in-name-only. Our so-called Governor is one of the biggest tax-and-spenders in the nation. He temporarily raised the sales tax, promising that it would only be temporary...it sure seems permanent to me. Our taxes continue to go up here, and so does state spending. All the while, the taxes have become so high that Ohio loses 250 people every 24 hours, most of them headed to Florida.
Our legislature, which is often more conservative than the Governor (especially the House) simply lets the Governor get by with murder. They have sent him good legislation, much of which he manages to veto, instead presenting legislation to them that sounds more like the Democratic Caucus of the Ohio House of Representatives proposed it instead of a Republican Governor. Most of the time, Bob Taft gets what he wants, all the while tarnishing his family's once-proud name in the eyes of conservatives.
As Peter Bronson points out, there is hope for the Ohio GOP. Known conservative (and black Republican) Secretary of State Ken Blackwell currently leads the back among Republicans in the generic Primary field by about 12 points. Blackwell has bemoaned the bad habits of Taft and certain members of the legislature, and he openly says that our bad reputation for high taxes and spending precedes us. Not only are people leaving Ohio, Blackwell points out, but new people and businesses do not want to come here.
In my lifetime, we have only had one truly great Governor, and I am barely old enough to remember his tenure, and that was the great Jim Rhodes, after whom so many buildings, bridges, roads, and parks in this great state are named. Rhodes exemplified what a Republican Governor should be, he was attentive to the needs of the people, but he kept state spending and tax rates in check. Since Rhodes, we have had a collection of Governors that range from the mediocre to the awful:
Richard "Tricky Dick" Celeste (D)-awful
"King" George Voinovich (R)-mediocre
Robert "Legacy" Taft (R)-awful
It does not say much for our Republican Governors that the best rating I could give a Republican since Rhodes is "mediocre." Of course, the Democrats keep offering up either tired old Cleveland or Toledo-area liberals, or complete unknowns with not a chance in Hell. At last, Blackwell gives Republicans here hope that once again, we may be able to give Ohio a "great" Governor. I may not be here by 2006 to help elect Ken Blackwell, but I wholeheartedly endorse him.