Sunday, September 28, 2014
Ohio Democrat implosion entirely enjoyable, but let's establish a mandate for coming four years
GOP and conservative activists are downright giddy at the complete collapse of the Democrat Party in Ohio in 2014. If things remain on their current trajectory, Governor Kasich, AG DeWine, Auditor Yost and other statewide candidates will cruise to victory, and the GOP will retain sizable majorities in the House, Senate, and Ohio Supreme Court.
So, it's time to celebrate, right? Well, not exactly.
First, we need to rally the troops to bring these wins home. "There is many a slip between the cup and the lip," as they say, and we cannot let down our guard for one second. A decisive conservative win for all State and local offices will give good momentum to media-derided Tea Party common sense. A single successful standard-bearer for Democrats statewide would be an unfortunate lost opportunity for a shutout, give the democrats an organizing foothold for the Ohio Presidential contest and plant seeds of failure in four years.
Second, however, and more importantly, we have been here before. Bob Taft led a huge GOP sweep of Statewide offices, the House, the Senate and the Supreme Court in 2002, defeating democrat Tim Hagan with 58% of the vote. Our GOP brethren had achieved their every electoral goal...and then proceeded to squander that power entrusted to them by...refusing to do anything, anything to move the conservative agenda forward during the ensuing four years.
It was simply maddening. Eight squandered years under Bob Taft with complete control of the House, Senate and every Constitutional statewide office. They accomplished utterly nothing at all. The GOP richly deserved to be punished by the voters in 2006, and it reaped that earned reward.
Bob Taft's excuse for his total paralysis and inaction was that if he embraced an activist agenda he would lose the Governor's office and other statewide offices in 2006. But that's exactly what happened, as in that year Ted Strickland led a near-sweep by the democrats of statewide offices, including even the election of the ignominious AG Mark Dann.
The lesson of the Bob Taft era is clear (at least to us): the voters want conservatives to lead and take Ohio in a new, responsible direction. Maintaining the status quo is simply not enough, and will not inspire voters to follow in 2016 and 2018.
So, the greatest challenge between now and election day is for Kasich, Taylor, DeWine, Yost and other GOP leaders to use this election to articulate where they intend to take Ohio; to tell the voters, the editorial Boards, the Chambers of Commerce and other business groups, the non-profit community, the conservative activist community and other opinion leaders, where Ohio is headed under Kasich/Taylor/DeWine/Husted/Yost/Mandel leadership.
The moral imperative leading into the type of landslide that the GOP appears to be heading this fall is to take the mantle that has been handed to us, and turn it into a mandate. This is what we must do; it is what Bob Taft steadfastly refused to do.
If COAST had its druthers, that mandate would be re-visiting Senate Bill 5 reforms, following the lead of Indiana and Michigan in implementing of Right to Work, and reducing the tax burden on hard-working Ohioans. But Governor Kasich and our other statewide candidates must articulate their own vision of change for Ohio. Simply "staying the course" is not going to cut it. And none of that agenda should be a surprise in January; it must be spelled out now.
In short, Governor Kasich has a choice, starting over the coming 35 days: Follow the failed lead of Bob Taft and re-live the disastrous years of 2002-2006, or blaze a new trail of success for Ohio and the GOP. Winning, even by a landslide, is simply not enough. As 2002 shows us, landslides in the end, in and of themselves, mean absolutely nothing.
So, we can celebrate on November 5th, and Inauguration Day. But now, activists must keep their eye on the ball of victory, working tirelessly for conservative wins, and the GOP candidates need to articulate their clear vision for Ohio and an agenda of conservative change.