I once had the rare privilege of being called an “elitist” by Carlos Todd while speaking at a Liberty Township zoning hearing. So my comments about an event his grandson Todd Hall organized to rally Governor John Kasich at the Ronald Reagan building on Monday October 13th to a second term should be understood with clarity. I like Todd, he’s a nice fellow, but he’s running the Republican Party the way his grandfather did two decades ago, and it’s not working. The political tides are moving in a different direction and he doesn’t have the sail to those winds and this is a warning to him and those who are working with him so to save themselves before it’s too late. Todd and I have worked together before and when he listened, he had success. When he hasn’t, well things fell apart. So take this as a warning.
Early on Tuesday morning Hall sent out an email about the event citing that there was much excitement during the evening, that Cindy Carpenter, Sheriff Jones, and Bill Coley were speaking and that it was a packed house. Well, as the pictures here show, it was far from a crowded room that came out on a Monday evening to see the Governor of Ohio. I’ve seen more people show up in that building to rent boats for the lake on a Saturday afternoon. The amount of people who showed up to see the current governor was disgraceful. Just a few years ago—three to be exact—we packed the barn at Carriage Hill to welcome the Governor to Southern Ohio in support of the SB5 fight against public sector unions. But that night ended in a loss and the GOP reorganized to rally behind the moderates and push out the “right-wingers.” That was a stupid move.
So it should be no surprise that the only people at the rally, which should have filled the room with thousands—were political office holders and direct financial backers. It was an inbred event aimed at reconciliation of the party instead of addressing the differences. The first mistake was that it featured Sheriff Jones who spoke so poorly against John Kasich during the SB5 fight—but now was speaking at his rally. People see that kind of two faced opportunist as lecherous and very unattractive—and not worth the gas to put in their car to see, let alone donate money to the party. And Cindy Carpenter who is technically a liberal was there speaking as a representative of conservativism, that’s like inviting Bill Clinton to a morality conference. Most people who stand to make money off their political alliances—who were at that rally might have short memories because their livelihoods demand it. But for other people—the real conservatives who reside in Butler County, they have long memories—and they are looking for winners, not hand-shaking moderates.
For context there was much dispersion over the recent Cincinnati Bengal game which ended in a tie with the Carolina Panthers that took place just the day before the Kasich rally. Sure the Bengals didn’t lose the game, but they didn’t win it either. It is that kind of blasé political approach that guided the sparse few at the Kasich rally on Monday. People don’t get excited to see Kasich shake hands with his political Judas Sheriff Jones—they want to see Kasich body slam the union spokesman. If Kasich did that—more people would show up—not just the insiders who make money off the political process, as either office holders or business people seeking government contracts—but real people with real passions
When Carlos Todd called me an elitist it was in the context that I suggested that Liberty Township should strive to mold itself after Indian Hill—a successful and affluent community in the Cincinnati region—as opposed to a conglomeration of mixed development township with United Dairy Farmer stores every mile across the region. As much as I enjoy development and the creativity of capitalism, sometimes more is less. And when it comes to maintaining real estate values for the long haul, homes don’t need to be located near trendy endeavors. Today’s shiny new development is tomorrow’s slum—so I encouraged those leaders within the Republic Party over a decade ago to be mindful of the future and not the short-sighted development that puts money in their pockets tomorrow. Ethically, Todd’s interest in politics was not philosophically driven, but profit driven which makes him one of those crony capitalists unlike the laissez-faire capitalists that I advocate with much celebration. People are aware that there is a problem with such people and that their intentions are less than sincere. So their passions toward the cause of conservative philosophy is quelled and they are left without a spokesmen.
Political advocates and the money that comes from them want action, passion, and an adherence to a philosophy. The split in the Republican Party which took place in Butler County recently was reflected at this rally for Kasich and is the deliberate isolation that these moderate conservatives—bordering on out-right liberalism have created for themselves and the more traditional branches of the party. And unbeknownst to them they have played right into the strategy liberals have conducted against them allowing for this gradual erosion of value within the Republican Party. They listened to their critics and distanced themselves from the “radical right-wing” just as the liberal masses hoped they would. As a result, nobody of any passion showed up at the Kasich rally leaving Todd Hall to attempt to put a good spin on the event—which was embarrassing at best for a sitting governor who actually did straighten out some of the finances in Ohio
I’ll vote for Kasich but not with pleasure and pride. It will be a painful process not unlike scheduling surgery. Kasich is not what could be called a strong conservative—he is a moderate at best. For instance, he often states that he has a friendship with former Governor Strickland. I could not have such a friendship. To say such a thing indicates common values and beliefs that go beyond professional respect. Respect and friendship are not the same things. Kasich deep down inside believes some of the things that Strickland does leaving a small string of commonality that leads to friendship. In this way current Butler County Commissioner Don Dixon used to be a Democrat but converted because the politics of Butler County under Carlos Todd meant that Democrats would never get elected in such a conservative county. So he changed political parties to survive in that environment. Another Butler County Commissioner Cindy Carpenter if she lived in San Francisco or even New England would be a Democrat. Her behavior is undeniably liberal and she is Sheriff Jones’ right-hand woman in Butler County. There is nothing coming from Sheriff Jones and Cindy Carpenter that is going to excite the conservative base who lives in Butler County. They see through the haze at the reality that they have very weak representation in elected office as conservatives.
Kasich himself has spent the last couple of years seeking votes for Medicaid expansion essentially endorsing Obamacare. So there is nothing exciting there for real conservatives to invest their passions into—they will likely hold their noses and vote for Kasich, but they won’t waste their time on a Monday night to hang out with a sell-out and rally him to a victory. Sell-outs are easy to see, unique people with real passions are not—so this is why nobody showed up to the Kasich rally
It is easy to call people like me a radical elitist because the real concern is that moderate politicians like those at the Kasich rally can’t suddenly become ethical. It is easier to just isolate themselves from the competition of thought. It is more comforting for Todd Hall’s Republicans to compare themselves to their liberal rivals as opposed to their actual conservative base. Without that conservative base—and in Butler County it is the David Kern Republicans—there will continue to be eroding support for political events and the money that needs to be generated by them. The situation is quite serious as the evidence is in the event organized by Hall for the sitting Governor. In this part of the state he finds his strongest support. Just imagine the reaction in places like Toledo and Cleveland just days before the election. That is the cost of sitting in office and behaving like a liberal.