Once upon a time in the Land of Nod, the longest serving Ohio governor avoided all criticism of presidential candidate Jimmy Carter even though he was a Republican and Carter was Democrat.
“Carter might win,” Jim Rhodes explained, “and I might have some programs that I want to talk to him about.”
Rhodes, the folksy sit-whittle-and-spit governor, didn’t have an ideological synapse in his body. He was forever lured by federal money to help him look good in the Buckeye State. He boasted that, if necessary, he would become a Democrat if it meant more jobs - jobs - for Ohioans. Corporate chiefs and trade unions in Ohio loved Rhodes without giving a damn where the money was coming from to create those jobs.
Much like the Republican Jobs Gospel today, Rhodes couldn’t go to the bathroom without mentioning jobs to anybody close enough to hear him.
Fast forward to the Republican convention, and who was telling us about his extraordinary success in creating Ohio Jobs? Yep. Gov. Kasich, who has cited Rhodes as his model for economic success.
Hold it right there. Kasich finds it politically convenient to hate the feds, preferring to boast of his personal “we built it” success story by creating…let’s see..,hundreds of millions of jobs in his state against Obama’s “headwinds”. That, of course, exaggerates his words. But you must remember that if you are going to stand at the rostrum before a bloodthirsty Tea Party crowd, any figures will do.
Ironically, just as he did when Mitt Romney visited Ohio, Kasich undercut the entire Herculean theme of “we built it” by offering his twisted version of how so many good things happened after he arrived at the Statehouse. How could it possibly help the GOP nominee who wants us to believe Ohio is in extremis? (In fairness Romney once conceded that the economy is “getting better, Obama made it worse.” You can’t parse that one!)
Kasich failed to mention that the tens of thousands of jobs were saved in Ohio through the auspices of the Obama Administration’s auto industry bailout – a bailout that he and his confederates opposed. But these guys and gals at the rostrum didn’t come to praise the other side, they came to slay it. This was Mudville, and it was Mighty Kasich at bat.
While we’re at it: Rhodes hated conventions the way today’s Republicans hate nearly everything else. Rhodes believed that such spectacles were a waste of time and money and suggested that delegates could mail in postcards with their votes. But in today’s climate, that would require photo IDs or other voter restrictions. Otherwise, how would anybody know if the delegates were actually who they said they were? Well, how?
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