OH-Sen: Rob Portman = George W. Bush

It is said that the 2008 Presidential election between Barack Obama and John McCain was as much a referendum on George W. Bush’s administration, policies, and failures as it was a referendum on either of the major Party nominees.  In 2010, for most midterm races, George W. Bush will be a distant memory.  However, the race in which George W. Bush and the harmful effects of his agenda will be most front-and-center will be the U.S. Senate race in Ohio.The Republican nominee is expected to be Rob Portman, who spent twelve years representing Ohio’s 2nd Congressional district, in the Cincinnati suburbs.  More important on his resume, though, are his two roles in George W. Bush’s administration: U.S. Trade Representative and Director of the Office of Management and Budget.  In short, Portman was George W. Bush’s trade chief and budget boss; and, perhaps no state has been hurt more by Bush’s trade and budget policies than Ohio.  In Bush’s final year in office, only a small minority of Ohioans (just 26%) approved of Bush’s handling of the economy.  Rob Portman was one of the chief architects of the Bush economy of which Ohioans so overwhelmingly disapproved, and Ohio voters will have the opportunity to thank Portman for his role.In January, I offered a thorough look at Portman’s close relationship to George W. Bush.  From Portman’s leadership on CAFTA (which so many Ohio labor unions opposed) to Portman’s support for Bush’s plan to privatize social security to Portman’s intimate role in Bush’s 2000 and 2004 campaigns, George W. Bush had fewer sidekicks more loyal than Rob Portman.

I’m glad to see that the Ohio Democratic Party and the DSCC are making the centerpiece of their opposition Portman’s close ties to George W. Bush and Portman’s role in perpetuating the Bush economy that was so destructive to so many Ohio families.

At RobertPortman.com, the Ohio Democratic Party has put up a website highlighting Portman’s leadership role on Bush’s failed economic policies.  They do a strong job, both textually and visually, of pointing out that Portman is a Bush Republican, and that Bush’s policies very much are Portman’s policies.

Rob Portman = George W. BushPortman is doing himself no favors in the messaging department when he labels himself the consummate Washington D.C. insider:

In a political world where candidates are falling all over themselves to tout their “outsider” credentials, Rob Portman is a rare exception to the rule.Portman, a former Congressman and Bush Administration official, is casting himself as a deal-making insider in his campaign for the seat being vacated by Sen. George Voinovich (R) in 2010 — portraying his resume as just the sort of thing that will help him get things done in Washington.

“I know enough now about where the bodies are buried [and] how the Senate works that I know I can be effective there for Ohio,” Portman said during a recent interview with the Fix as part of our “Rising” series.

The DSCC has made Portman’s comments and Portman’s role as a key George W. Bush sidekick the focal point of a terrific web video:

To ensure that George W. Bush and the harm that his economic policies caused Ohio do not become memories too distant to Ohioans, I’ll repeat a suggestion I made back in January:

Can I suggest that, before George W. Bush becomes too distant a memory, the Ohio Democratic Party should print up some simple “Rob Portman = George W. Bush” bumper stickers and circulate them.  Cement that message early.

And why stop at bumper stickers?  The Ohio Democratic Party or Ohio labor unions should buy some highly visible billboard space and put up the message “Rob Portman: Architect of George W. Bush’s Economy” now that the according website is running.

Whether or not George W. Bush is still in office, Rob Portman is very much a George W. Bush Republican, and Bush should serve as an anchor to Portman throughout the campaign if Democrats continue to effectively highlight the extremely close Bush-Portman relationship.


Noted political analyst Sturat Rotherberg had a good article about the possibility of Democrats trying to run against Bush in 2010 and used this Ohio race has an example. He came to the conclusion that voters won’t have forgotten Bush in another 15 months, but he won’t be on their minds, either. Much depends upon the economy. Right now just 6 months in a plurality of people still blame the previous administration, but that won’t likely be the case 15 months from now with Bush squarely out of the public eye. With the continued economic deterioration of Ohio and the growing joblessness in the state which stands at 11.7% and expected to increase it will be hard to deflect the voters from the record of the incumbent Governor, his Lt Governor should he be the Senate nominee and a federal government completely controlled by Democrats. We have seen a little bit of this recently with the stunning decline of Governor Strickland’s popularity. So I suggest that continuing to run against Bush will likely be a last ditch effort by Democrats. A bogeyman to rabid partisan  Democrats and in Ohio that isn’t going to win you an election.

by: kliege @ Tue Jul 28, 2009 at 15:29:42 PM CDT

Voters aren’t stupid

They’re more than capable of looking at Portman’s record and seeing how he supported Bush’s economic policies.  Obama definately needs to do more on the economic front, but at the very least the consensus seems to be that things aren’t going to get dramatically worse so that buys him some time.  Remember, in the Great Depression Republicans thought people would eventually blame Roosevelt and the New Deal for their misery, but it didn’t work out that way.  They rejected Alf Landon overwhelmingly in ’36 and hung tight with Democrats even after New Deal policies were relaxed, creating the “Roosevelt Recession” of ’37, not giving the Republicans another chance at taking full control of the country until 1952 with a popular war figure who accepted the New Deal as a political reality.  My bet is Obama’s a two termer and Republicans don’t have a shot at getting either house of Congress back until 2014, but that’s a long way off and a lot could happen-I could well be wrong.

Check out Blue Arkansas:

by: ARDem @ Tue Jul 28, 2009 at 16:33:23 PM CDT

Kay Bailey Hutchison to resign

It was just announced that Hutchison is resigning her Senate seat in October or November to run for governor in Texas.  I hope this gives us a shot at getting a Democrat in her senate seat.

Click here for the new senate guru blog…

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