Ohio’s Kevin DeWine Problem

I don’t get into the machine aspect of politics, mostly because I unfortunately make a presumption that any political leader is their for some “crony” reason. Kevin DeWine is the second cousin of Mike DeWine and was elected to his post after Barack Obama won Ohio in 2008. Ohio’s GOP went from a team of all-stars in the 90’s when Voinovich was governor to a team of whiny has-beens under Taft. DeWine was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives and became Speaker in 2007, a feat that has lost much of its allure since term limits prevents any Representative to build much of a resume.

As the Tea Parties sprung up in April 2009 opposing the big government mentality of the left, it was pretty clear that Ohio’s Republican establishment was going to behave like the establishment and stay on the sidelines. When Tea Party activists began working toward electing their candidates on a local level and to committee posts, the Ohio GOP realized that the Tea Party was going after the big government mentality on the right.

Here are a few links that describe the DeWine problem, including the list of posts at Breitbarts’s BigGovernment by the author Bytor.

http://biggovernment.com/author/bytor
http://www.bizzyblog.com/2011/12/23/at-biggov-go-away-kevin-dewine/
http://nofall.org/2012/02/10/kevin-dewine-continues-tea-party-assault/

The last post refers to a new rule saying that committee members must have voted in Republican primary in 2008, making any Operation Chaos voter ineligible to hold a GOP postition.  I think it will be a happy day for Ohio conservatives when Kevin DeWine is excused from his post… as long as he’s replaced by a conservaitve.  Otherwise we’ll be back fighting big government Republicans while the big government Democrats eat their cake.

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DeWine and Santorum: Together Again

Mike DeWine, Ohio’s Attorney General, is one of the first major officials to publicly switch his support from Mitt Romney to Rick Santorum.  These two share the dubious distinction of getting smashed in their 2006 Senate re-election campaign, although their losses were for different reasons.  Santorum, from what I remember, was attacked for being too conservative and out-of-step with his fellow Pennsylvanians.  Mike DeWine had sometimes swayed to the left with the Gang of 14, and Ohio’s Republican Governor and other officeholders had dirtied the waters with their ethics and competence problems.  Nevertheless, they both lost by over 15% in that awful year of 2006, which also saw Senate losses in Virginia and Montana not to mention the Democrat takeover of the House.

While Mike DeWine gave the conservative right a reason to be apathetic towards Senate bid and even towards his campaign for Attorney General, his instincts seemed to be better than his Senate cohort George Voinovich.  (Voinovich, for the record, has backed Romney.)  DeWine initially favored Tim Pawlenty, and then endorsed Mitt Romney after the Minnesota governor bowed out.  Last summer, Mitt Romney was the obvious choice for a member of the establishment and a career politician like Mike DeWine couldn’t be seen with the likes of Bachmann, Perry, or Cain.

But Mitt fever has never caught hold in Ohio.  Four years ago, Mike Huckabee took about 30% of the vote in a March primary that was more noted for its support in the Democrat primary for Hillary Clinton.  Ohio is politically separated by its cities and the turnpike with the urban areas and the counties closest to Lake Erie being more Democratic.  Coincidentally, these areas also supported McCain by a greater margin than the more rural central counties in the state.

I expect that Romney will concentrate his efforts in Cuyahoga and Franklin counties while Santorum will get support from the rural areas.  Romney’s Michigan coattails unfortunately meet a wall at the Port of Toledo and he will need to work for Ohio’s votes like he hasn’t seemed to work before.   In the absence of Santorum, Newt Gingrich would be winning the rural areas hands down and he has an appeal with some urban Republicans as well.  But Santorum’s experience with worker’s unions and mining towns actually help him in these Appalachian areas of Ohio more so than in any other state thus far.  DeWine sees it, smells it, and is jumping on board the Santorum train.

Santorum for President

After a year of saying that I’d vote for any one of these candidates over Obama (which is still true, of course), it seems like Ohio will have a battle for the Republican primary this year. Four years ago, I kept going back and forth between Romney and Huckabee. When Huckabee did not win South Carolina or Florida, he did not seem to have a realistic path to the nomination. When Romney failed to beat McCain in many of the winner-take-all Super Tuesday states in early February, he decided to pull out and essentially to let McCain win. This prompted Rush Limbaugh to promote Operation Chaos in states like Ohio and Texas where Republicans could cross over and vote for Hillary Clinton in the Democrat primary. It felt a little odd, but you bet I did it.

Earlier this summer, I was gently backing Herman Cain and I likely would be voting for him next month if he had survived the harassment allegation stories. Newt Gingrich seems to be one of those thinkers who can talk his way through any side of any issue, and I think this aspect of his personality has gotten him in more trouble than he deserves. I believe he would govern as a small-government Reagan conservative and I entirely respect his record of balanced budgets, which would never have happened under a Democrat Congress or a Bob Michel Congress. I would vote for Mitt as well in the general election, but I would like to ask him where he was on April 15, 2009. He was in the weeds with other Republican crickets whispering that these Tea Party folks are crazy.

When Rick Santorum speaks, you know that his conservative message is from the heart. He hasn’t rationalized it (Newt) or been coached at it (Mitt). My hesitancy to this point has been his electability, and I write this before the results come in from Minnesota or Missouri where they are predicting a Santorum victory.  Ideologically, Santorum is the closest to my views and I have a growing respect for people who continue to stand by their religious beliefs despite catcalls from the “tolerant” left.  In fact his negatives from the people with whom I’ve spoken mostly seem to be related to his faith and whether or not he can separate it from his governing.  I’d rather make that argument on personal faith and liberty than an argument on RomneyCare or on irratic monologues.

So previously I was for the Haagen Dazs Black Walnut candidate; now I’m for dry white toast in a sweater vest.  I hope Rick Santorum wins over Ohio and then the rest of the nation.