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In a perfect world, $50 million would be spent showing Ohioans the following political ad on TV:

Announcer: "This is the Ohio Newscast featuring Lenny Smith and Lara Lewandowski." (Ken and Barbie lookalikes)

Lenny: "Ohio's runaway governor is running the Buckeye State into an even bigger ditch."

(Picture of a disgruntled-looking Gov. John Kasich superimposed in background.)

Lara: "That's right, Lenny. A few months ago Kasich said Ohio was running a $400 million deficit. Now it's ballooned to $800 million. Kasich is driving Ohio into a $1 billion debt hole."

Lenny: "In other words, Kasich's so-called Ohio Miracle has become a Buckeye Catastrophe."

Lara: "Isn't Kasich the guy who cut taxes for rich Ohio business owners and cut the hell out of Ohio public schools, cities and counties."

Lenny: "This guy's bad plans are bankrupting the state and hurting its people. What is Kasich doing running around the country campaigning for president and promoting his new book while our home state goes to hell in a hand basket?"

Lara: "Get this, Lenny. Kasich apparently has secretly spent $2 million of state money on his security while he runs for president and promotes his book. I'll bet he wrote the book on state time!"

(Cartoon of Kasich shoveling money into a big ditch superimposed in background.)

Lenny: "You mean secret like that inept JobsOhio he created with Ohio liquor profits that has an abysmal record of attracting new business, but has a gigantic payroll."

 Lara: "Why should we be surprised? Kasich's previous two employers were Lehman Brothers, that went bankrupt, and Fox News, the world's champ of sexual harassment."

Lenny: "How can this guy have time to write a new book called Two Paths when the state he supposedly leads is going down the wrong path. Sounds like he doesn't want to be governor anymore."

Lenny and Lara (together): "Kasich should do Ohioans a favor. Quit and move back to Pennsylvania. He can dig ditches in the Keystone State. Ha, ha. ha, ha, ha."

Note: Remember, the Republicans spent $50 million last year to lie about former Gov. Ted Strickland's record and turn one-quarter of the electorate against him. The same kind of campaign should be run against Kasich but Democrats lack the $50 million.

Ohio Political Ranker: Volume 3

Welcome to Volume 3 of the ColumbusMediaInsider Ohio Political Ranker. Each month I will rank the candidates for Ohio governor in 2018. My criteria include: wealth/fund-raising capability (it will take $50 million to win the governorship), competence, integrity, charisma, name recognition and appeal to small town/rural voters.


1. Ex-State Rep. Connie Pillich. Gave best speech at Ohio Democratic Party Legacy Dinner. Spoke from the heart without notes.

2. Ex-U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton. Gave second best speech. Spoke from heart with some notes.

3. State Sen. Joe Schiavoni. Read speech. Not ready for prime time.       

4. Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley. Showed high energy hosting hospitality room before speech.

5. Ex-U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich. The onetime "Boy Mayor" of Cleveland is touring Ohio taking the overfunded, under-educating charter schools to the woodshed.

6. Richard Cordray. Fading into oblivion. If runs, should be for attorney general.


1. Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor. If Kasich quits to return to Fox News, she becomes incumbent and front-runner.

2. U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci. Trump's favorite.

3. AG Mike DeWine. Epic fail. No arrests in Piketon Massacre a year later.

4. SOS Jon Husted. May be plotting run for U.S. Senate instead.

5. J.D. Vance. Gave a big speech last month to Toledo Republicans. Also may be plotting run for U.S. Senate.     


- Kasich-appointed trustees have run Wright State University into a $40 million hole. Good people are losing their jobs. Students and faculty will be harmed. The community is tarnished. Will the Dayton media hold Kasich and the trustees accountable? Doubt it.

- One year later and the Piketon Massacre has yet to be solved. A paltry $10,000 reward is offered. Kasich has yet to visit. Call Piketon "the land that time forgot." Maybe J.D. Vance, who has moved to Columbus to fight the opioid epidemic, will discover Piketon and put up big reward money. It should remind him of his Old Kentucky Home.

- The Columbus Dispatch sports page no longer publishes the next day's games for major league baseball. The Dispatch remains shy about listing the guests on the 11:35 p.m. TV talk shows.

- The Ohio State University de-emphasized its journalism offerings years ago. Now the Kiplinger Foundation plans to move its nationally renowned public affairs program from OSU to "The" Ohio University, where journalism is still valued.

- CNN held a "Town Hall" for Kasich on April 24, hosted by Anderson Cooper, who once again showed he is more of a fawning television personality than a journalist. Kasich was allowed to promote relentlessly his new "book" and to inject his stale bromides and religious references into long-winded responses. Cooper failed to ask about Ohio's growing deficit. See above. And Cooper failed to ask about the tax money spent for Kasich's "political" security. See above.


Ohio's in the ditch
Johnny's out of town
Dull book to pitch

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(ColumbusMediaInsider, copyright, 2017, John K. Hartman, All Rights Reserved)


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