Home > Thomas Suddes Glazes Over Why Democrats Want to Expand/Renew the Socialist 3rd Frontier

Thomas Suddes Glazes Over Why Democrats Want to Expand/Renew the Socialist 3rd Frontier

December 7, 2009 at 12:04 am Matt

Watch out for those parentheses!:

Here’s the deal with Statehouse shrieking over when to renew the Third Frontier, Ohio’s job-development program:

In 2011, Ohio will run out of Third Frontier money. Gov. Ted Strickland and House Speaker Armond Budish of Beachwood, want to ask Ohioans in May 2010 to extend the program by letting Ohio sell more Third Frontier bonds. Keep in mind, they’re Democrats, and the Third Frontier program got its start under Republican Gov. Bob Taft.

Despite that bipartisan history, some Republicans would rather hold off asking Ohioans for a second Third Frontier bond issue until after Strickland faces his probable GOP challenger, former U.S. Rep. John R. Kasich of Westerville.

Why? To keep Strickland from using a new Third Frontier campaign as feel-good publicity for his own re-election.

The campaign to renew the Third Frontier would likely be more a Cadillac than a Honda. It’s legal for corporations to donate to a ballot issue, though they can’t donate to candidates.

So a Third Frontier campaign could be lushly funded without squeezing individual Strickland donors. Without a doubt, a renewal campaign would be “free media” for Strickland. (That’s why Third Frontier renewal legislation should forbid donations by recipients of Third Frontier grants.) Democrats alone can’t propose a Third Frontier extension. That requires 60 Ohio House votes and 20 Senate votes; there are 53 Democrats in the House, 12 in the state Senate.

Forbid donations?  One would think that Suddes, a columnist who is only worth reading because he is a crusty old-fart with an impressive institutional knowledge of Ohio politics, would be so naive as to think this issue can be divorced from money through legislative magic.

In today’s world of complex campaign finance laws, such a ban would certainly still allow individuals to donate to political groups that can campaign on a candidate’s behalf and without ever disclosing who their donors are. And forbidding campaign contributions always raise serious 1st Amendment concerns.

The overall merits of the Third Frontier, fine print and “devil’s details” aside, aren’t in serious dispute. Studies by impartial researchers have turned up real evidence that the Third Frontier program has spawned a significant number of new Ohio businesses and jobs.

Batchelder, in a statement last week, said so himself. He called into question only the timing of the Third Frontier’s renewal — but not the value of it: “In the face of skyrocketing unemployment, this Republican-initiated program has fostered high-tech jobs,” he said.

So, what today’s Third Frontier argument is about at the Statehouse is political advantage. That doesn’t put any bread on Ohio’s supper tables — or help jobless Ohioans find work.

If the merits “aren’t in serious dispute,” they should be.

It is interesting how Republicans can take such a principled stand against Federal stimulus spending, then be comfortable with this sort of corporate welfare. I suppose it is different, in the sense that the 3rd Frontier was directly approved by Ohio voters. However, the legitimate arguments against both are identical.  And if Ohio Republicans don’t understand that, then they aren’t nearly as interested in tapping into voters’ anti-stimulus sentiment as they should be.

Suddes is a liberal dunderhead professor from Ohio University who is certainly pleased with his ability to shamelessly frame this issue as Ohio Republicans playing politics… as if Minority Leader Batchelder is personally taking “bread” off of “Ohio’s supper tables” and kicking cute puppies to win elections. But you don’t help jobless Ohioans find work by taking more of their money and forcing them to become venture capitalists.

Ohio Republicans should grow a spine, admit the 3rd Frontier is not a proposal which fits in with core Republican principles, expose what lobbyists are pushing the hardest, and call out Democrats for using this program as a fundraising cash cow. Not only would this be smart politics, it would be prudent governance.


Related posts:

  1. Republicans, Democrats Join Together To Support Corporate Welfare
  2. Two Liberal Republicans Head Up Socialist Third Frontier Campaign
  3. The News-Herald & Thomas Suddes Join the “Cheerleaders for Failure”
  4. 3rd Frontier’s Job Creation
  5. Ohio House Democrats Moving at Lightning-Speed to Further Damage Ohio’s Bond Rating

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