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Ohio doesn’t need more years with Strickland

March 7, 2012
Salem News

Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland was in typical form a week ago during the state Democratic Party's annual Legacy Dinner. That is to say, he was working hard to be his party's demagogue-in-chief, through a variety of attacks on Republicans.

That sort of talk will endear Strickland to the party faithful, but what about the majority of Ohio voters?

Strickland, whose bid for a second term was defeated by Gov. John Kasich in 2010, is keeping his political options open. There have been reports he is considering another run for governor.

A second Strickland administration would be a resumption of the disaster that nearly overcame Ohioans during his four years in office.

No one in the Buckeye State should need to be reminded of the irresponsible, ultra-political manner in which Strickland handled state finances. While assuring Ohioans President Barack Obama was doing a great job of helping the state, Strickland deceived voters about the abysmal condition of the state budget. There was absolutely nothing about which to worry, he insisted.

Even as he was winding up his last few months in office, however, it became obvious Strickland hadn't been telling the truth. The state's budget was billions of dollars out of balance.

Once Kasich came into office, he and legislators had to work hard to close a budget gap estimated at $8 billion. To their enormous credit, they managed to do so without tax increases, but only at the cost of substantial sacrifices by many Ohioans.

Strickland just doesn't get it. As part of his strategy to rehabilitate himself politically, he is serving as one of about 30 co-chairs of Obama's re-election campaign. That comes as an increasing number of Buckeye State residents are becoming disenchanted with the president.

Four years of Strickland were more than enough for Ohio. It will take a long time to repair the damage his administration did. If he chooses to run again for governor, he will have to face voters who are coming to realize that - and have no desire for a repeat.



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