OhioGOP: Separating the wheat from the chaff
By Jim Irvine
Earlier this week, Kimberly A. Strassel’s brilliantly written editorial titled “A tale of two GOP’s – The state of the party in Ohio verses Florida” was printed by the Wall Street Journal.
While this editorial has nothing to do with guns, it has everything to do with politics. And as we have all seen over the years, Ohio politics has everything to do with your guns.
From the article:
- Take Ohio. Republicans have practiced one-party rule in the state since 1994--more than enough time to lose one's principles. Former Gov. George Voinovich set the standard in 1992 by breaking his word and signing tax hikes. His successor, Bob Taft, with the help of the GOP legislature, in 2003 broke pledges not to raise taxes without voter permission. Some $3 billion in tax increases later, Ohio jumped to fourth place in the rankings for state and local tax burdens. (It was 23rd in 1994, when the GOP took over.) Over their first 10 years in power, Republicans increased Ohio's general operating budget by 71%--the highest increase in the nation.
The Taft and Spend strategy socked it to the Ohio economy. Its gross state product grew a measly 1% between 2004 and 2005, while Ohio lost 150,000 jobs between 2000 and 2005. Unemployment levels have hovered above the national average. If corruption is the product of big, unconstrained government, it was no surprise to watch the GOP engulfed by scandals that swept up everyone from Mr. Taft to Congressman Bob Ney. By November of last year, Mr. Taft's approval rating was 6.5%; if anyone had been keeping track, the legislature may have scored even lower.
But now look to Florida. Jeb Bush came to office in 1999 touting a sweeping reform agenda of the sort that gives Ms. Pelosi the "extremist" fits. More to the point, the governor, with the support of a Republican legislature, has instituted most of it.
Florida Republicans have passed tax cuts every year of the eight Mr. Bush has held office--a whopping $19 billion, including the elimination of the infamous "intangibles" tax, levied on investments. While Florida's budget has grown at a rapid clip, Mr. Bush vetoed more than $2.1 billion in wasteful spending, earning him the nickname "Veto Corleone" among frustrated state lobbyists. He's trimmed 11,000 state jobs.
Tort reform? Did it. Overhauling the child welfare system? Done. Florida has led the way in greater education accountability and school voucher programs; test scores, especially among minorities, are on the rise. The state won federal permission for the most dramatic Medicaid reforms in the country, the first to inject private competition into the system.
It is hardly news to our readers that Florida has also passed better firearms laws than Ohio. They led the way with concealed carry and “Castle Doctrine.” In June Florida’s Governor Jeb Bush set a new record by signing into law six major pro-gun bills.
Many Ohio gun owners are now ready to quit on the entire OhioGOP. While there is very good reason for your frustration, we need to be careful not to throw the baby out with the bath water. Many legislators are just as frustrated as you are.
Click on 'Read More' to learn why your actions in the next two weeks are crucial.
It’s hard to argue that Governor Taft has been a strong leader, but there is no arguing that Ohio’s Republican controlled legislature has followed him where ever he has gone. As he leaves the office, Ohio will come under new leadership. Either Ted Strickland or Ken Blackwell will lead administrations that will not stand in the way of real firearms reform. But they need the legislature to place an act on their desk before they can sign it into law. That is where you come in.
Many have asked what “we” are doing to get HB347 moving again. The answer is we are asking you to help our endorsed candidates. A final decision on HB347’s future will come after the November 7 elections. Its fate being decided largely by the people we are asking you to support. Building support is like building anything else – it takes work. Talking about it, reading about, and writing about it does not get it done.
I know many of you are doing a lot. You’ve taken advantage of Ohio’s tax laws to make a FREE donation to pro-gun candidates. You’ve made phone calls and stuffed envelopes and stamped post cards and walked door to door. But we need you to do something more – take someone with you. A friend, a co-worker, a family member, a person from the shooting range. We need more people involved. It will make a difference.
Every politician is different. Some are great friends, others strong enemies. Many will follow where others lead. Buckeye Firearms Association has done careful research before endorsing any candidate, and we are sure that this year’s endorsed candidates will bring needed change to Ohio’s firearms laws. But they need your help to be elected first.
Some are Republicans and some are Democrats. Some are men and some are women. Some are incumbents, and some are challengers. But ALL of our endorsed candidates deserve your support. Voting for one party will cause you the same problems other stereotyping does. You make false assumptions about the individual people who you are electing. Those false assumptions have cost gun owners dearly in the past decade, but we now have a chance to correct that problem.
Many gun owners have told me, “I vote.” That is good, but not good enough. If you are only willing to do what you’ve always done, you will continue to get what you’ve always got. Buckeye Firearms Association wants something better – and with your help, we can achieve it.
Make sure your gun store, shooting range and hunting clubs have Buckeye Firearms Association endorsements prominently displayed. Encourage owners, employees, and club leaders to ask others to get involved.
Earlier this year, Kansas passed concealed carry, and Wisconsin failed again. In both cases, the outcome was decided by a few votes. We can’t afford to come up one vote shy, and each of us has the power to influence many votes, if only we get involved.
Thanks to all of you who are working on campaigns. Two more weeks to go. You have made gun owners a presence on the campaign trail this year. With your friend’s involvement, we will become a force.
If you are not yet involved, please consider: