In the 2010 Ohio Governor’s race John Kasich ran one of those spooky-music political ads that claimed a vote for Ted Strickland guaranteed Barack Obama would carry Ohio in 2012. Viewers were told to “Make Sure This Doesn’t Happen” by voting for John Kasich.
As we now sadly know, enough people did vote to elect Kasich that year. Fortunately, he failed to follow through on his “second Obama term” promise. As a matter of fact, many people are now claiming Kasich actually CAUSED the Obama win in Ohio. And they do have a point.
We were reporting as far back as September that conservatives were already blaming Kasich for hurting Romney’s campaign.
But the actual problems started even earlier than that. Kasich’s signature anti-union legislation – Senate Bill 5 – severely damaged the Republican brand in Ohio. And the backlash it caused not only turned many lifelong Republicans to Democrats overnight, but it gave Democrats a head start on organizing long before the Republican primary candidates had even started fighting over which one was the most extreme conservative.
While Organizing for America and the Obama campaign were organizing their ground game and raising money in Ohio, Kasich waged a nasty and very public civil war for control of the Ohio GOP under the guise of getting a top-notch political team in place to beat Obama and not, as most saw it, just a way for Kasich’s political consultant friends to corner the market and profit off of Ohio’s battleground status in a presidential election.
And while Kasich halfheartedly tried to toe the Romney line by downplaying the importance of Ohio’s auto industry and claiming Ohio’s economy would be doing better without all the “wind” in his face from the Obama administration, ultimately he just couldn’t stop talking about himself and all of “his” successes – you know, the ones that started under Obama/Strickland a year before he took office.
A few weeks back, Kasich predicted a big win for Romney in Ohio based on some obviously-flawed internal polling he’d seen. On election night, as the returns starting coming in, Esquire reports a much-less confident Kasich was hiding in his suite at the Columbus Renaissance while downstairs at the “Victory” party “there were not enough drink tickets in all the world to take away the growing sense of doom.”
So what has Kasich’s 2010 election resulted in? The Tea Party movement has been fractured into irrelevance after SB 5. Kasich waged a civil war for control over the Ohio Republican Party that conservatives were told was necessary to stop Obama. Sherrod Brown and Obama were re-elected by significant margins.
And Democrats are still fired up and ready to go…