ICYMI: Why are the billionaires targeting Ted? [Chillicothe Gazette]

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Why are the billionaires targeting Ted?
Chillicothe Gazette, Jack Burgess
September 25, 2016

http://www.chillicothegazette.com/story/opinion/columnists/2016/09/25/guest-column-jack-burgess-why-billionaires-target-ted-strickland-rob-portman-senate-race/90853092/

You have to wonder why the big-money folks are spending so much — $59 million so far — to defeat Ted Strickland in the U.S. Senate race. When you meet and talk with the man from Duck Run, he seems like such a nice guy. An intelligent, polished gentleman, befitting the college education and Ph.D. that he worked hard to earn, and the minister he became. Of course, his opponent, incumbent Sen. Rob Portman, also comes across as mild-mannered and reasonable.

But Portman’s image may be just that — an image. As Bush’s Trade Representative and Budget Director, his positions on issues have generally followed the Bush policies. We know how well the trade policies turned out — American products that used to be made in Ohio, now made in China. And Bush’s economics were like the “Voodoo economics” of Reagan — so named by G.H.W. Bush — tax cuts for the wealthy, massive military spending increases, while pretending to believe the budget could be balanced by the new business the tax cuts generated. Problem is, tax cuts for the wealthy don’t generate much business, but they do take away needed dollars from schools, parks, highways, and other vital services.

Portman does talk about fighting the drug epidemic, but then votes against funding the fight. He’s like the politician that cuts down a tree, and gets up on its stump to make a speech about the environment. 

Strickland is being hammered in a massive TV campaign claiming that as Governor he somehow wasted the State’s “Rainy Day Fund” by spending it. Apparently where Ted’s opponents — the billionaire Koch Brothers and Karl Rove — lived, it didn’t “rain.” But for most folks, 2008-2010 was a scary time. The crashing economy — dubbed the Great Recession — which started during the Bush administration, was only saved by the recovery program instigated by President Obama, which included an auto bailout that saved Ohio and America’s auto industry. Portman opposed that program. 

As governor, Strickland in fact did a pretty good job, working to develop the solar industry, pushing for mass transit across Ohio, opposing public tax dollars going to private schools, and balancing the budget as our state constitution requires.

Of course, these are the real reasons the billionaires are trying to keep Ted out of the Senate. Rob Portman has been very good for the wealthy, while Strickland has promised to raise their taxes, push for a higher minimum wage, equal pay for women, stronger collective bargaining rights for workers, and opposing bad trade deals that would ship more Ohio jobs to low-wage countries like China and Mexico.

It’s not just trade. Strickland, as a member of Congress, also opposed the disastrous Bush invasion of Iraq. Representative Portman supported it, along with most of his Republican colleagues. Secretary Clinton has admitted that her support authorizing Bush’s war was a “mistake,” but Portman has continued to defend his vote. He blames Obama for the disaster Iraq turned out to be, though it was Bush who agreed to the American pull-out established by the “Status of Forces Agreement” of 2008.

As Strickland campaigns, one of his best lines is when he talks about how he “remembers where he came from” — the steel-workers and farmers of Duck Run. Portman, he points out, also remembers where he came from — a family that acquired considerable wealth and privilege. Portman apparently represents that wealth, not just as a lawyer, but as a senator. The super wealthy don’t want to lose their valuable asset, and they certainly don’t want a progressive Democrat like Ted Strickland to ask them to pay more, so that ordinary Ohioans have a chance. That’s the real reason they’re spending a large fortune to keep Strickland in Ohio.

When our nation was created, some of the wealthy conservatives thought “the people” couldn’t be trusted with voting and running the country. They thought “the country should be run by those who own it.” The election between Strickland and Portman is another test of whether “the people” can see through all the nonsense put out on TV, to the reality separating two candidates that superficially resemble each other as nice guys, but represent very different policies and a very different future for ordinary Ohioans.

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