I just got off from watching the major party candidates argue their cases on the Ohio News Network (video). It was a disappointing exercise in repeating the same charges, usually with no substantiation, and same statistics over and over again.
Mr. Kasich repeatedly charged that Gov. Strickland had increased taxes twice during his tenure, while Gov. Strickland insists that he lowered the Ohio income tax by 17%. Which of them is telling the truth -- or is Gov. Strickland using the Ohio income tax decrease to cover increases in other taxes?
Gov. Strickland was fond of emphasizing Mr. Kasich's experience at Lehmann Brothers as evidence of "Wall Street, not Main Street values," which appeared to gain traction when he noted that Mr. Kasich earned a bonus of over $400,000 the year Lehmann Brothers went under. Mr. Kasich, for his part, stressed the role he played in capitalizing the growth of Ohio business. This has been a continuing theme in the Governor's campaign, which raises a troubling thought: is he so desperate that he has to resort to negativity -- something incumbents rarely have to do?
Neither candidate offered any proposals for covering the $8 billion shortfall in Ohio's budget for fiscal year 2012. The only candidate to address that issue was not permitted to attend -- Libertarian Ken Matesz, who announced his plan on Monday.
We have to start taking a serious look at the candidates who will offer solutions to Ohio's problems, regardless of their party label (or absence of one). Too much is at stake to practice politics as usual this year.
Update 9/15: Usually, I have some problems with National Review Online's neoconservatism (here via National Public Radio, of all places), but Mytheos Holt's analysis has it nailed. And I totally agree, Ohio's major-party gubernatorial campaign is an exercise in class warfare that has no class to it whatsoever. (Virtual buckeye to Ken Matesz at Facebook)