Note: This post has been carried to the top and will stay until early tomorrow morning because of the importance of the topic.
I understand you’ve got an announcement coming up on Monday. Assuming that you’re going to formalize your run for governor, congratulations on your decision. Ohio needs someone with a proven record of controlling government spending and balancing budgets.
Of course, assuming you win the GOP primary next May, you’ll be running against Governor Ted Strickland.
But to be successful, you also have to run against the way the Republican Party governed this state for at least a dozen years prior to Strickland’s arrival at the Statehouse. As you well know, the sad fact is that your beloved Buckeye State has been run economically like a blue state since the mid-1990s. This is why Ohio has gone from economic leader to economic laggard during that time.
Having seen you speak last year and having followed your efforts since, it is clear that you realize the need to make a clean break from a deeply flawed past. You also surely know that the 2010 Republican statewide ticket must unequivocally make that break, and that if it doesn’t, it will be unnecessarily courting failure.
Fortunately, the ticket as it is currently shaping up is mostly heading decisively in that the right direction. Incumbent Auditor Mary Taylor has been a shining star as a consummate but outspoken professional. Treasurer candidate Josh Mandel redefines “breath of fresh air.” Dave Yost looks to be the kind of no-nonsense, no-cronyism leader that the tarnished Attorney General’s office desperately needs.
That brings us to the one glaring exception. His name is Jon Husted.
Let’s not kid ourselves. Jon Husted does not belong on the GOP’s statewide ticket. Almost everyone except Jon Husted and the Ohio Republican Party instinctively knows this.
It is not arguable that Husted violates at least the first and last items in Chairman Kevin DeWine’s “10-point plan for building a new Ohio Republican Party.”
Jon Husted does not have “conservative credibility” (Point 1). He voted for Bob Taft’s 2003 tax increases, the largest in Ohio’s history, and has to my knowledge has never expressed remorse for having done so. Six years later, I’d say it’s too late for believable mea culpas. By contrast, a courageous state representative was kicked off of a House committee for voting against that tax increase. That representative was Mary Taylor.
The ORP’s silence and inaction on Husted’s residency problem – even though he “admits spending most of his time in his Upper Arlington residence, outside of his district, as opposed to his home in Kettering” –- is a clear breach of the Party’s alleged “zero-tolerance policy” (Point 10). The idea that the person running to be the enforcer of the state’s election laws has himself more than likely violated election laws (and definitely has violated their spirit) is simply intolerable. Again, almost everyone except Jon Husted and the Ohio Republican Party instinctively knows this.
In fact, if anyone but Jon Husted with Jon Husted’s record and baggage attempted to run statewide, the Ohio Republican Party would be working night and day to marginalize him. Instead (and let’s not kid ourselves), there is plenty of evidence that the ORP is promoting him. If they weren’t, why am I hearing that so many speakers at Lincoln Day dinners throughout the state, many of whom have barely shaken hands with the guy, are going out of their way to tell their audiences what a great candidate Husted is, and that people should get behind him?
You, John Kasich, should not be expected to swallow hard and accept or even quietly ignore Jon Husted. His presence on the statewide ticket would tarnish the so-far correct perception that you will leave no stone unturned to reform this state. His residency problem is a ticking time bomb.
What should you do about Husted? Well, you’re the one running for governor. I can only suggest that how you deal with this cancerous situation will be an important early test of your leadership, and that Ohioans will be watching.
Be assured that there are many of us in Ohio’s center-right, sensible conservative blogosphere who will fight just as hard to keep Jon Husted off the November 2010 ballot as some of us in Southwestern Ohio worked in 2005 and 2006 to keep Bob McEwen — another deeply flawed candidate with a record of illegal voting -– from returning to Congress. Also be assured that we will not hesitate to express our disappointment at any indication that you are willing to accept a Secretary of State candidate who is clearly unacceptable.
Ohio’s center-right, sensible conservative bloggers would rather not spend our limited energies defeating Husted. We’d prefer to deal with other, more positive things, like how to bring Ohio back to its former greatness. That’s where you come in.