Tuesday, September 26, 2006

So Goes Ohio

In 1982, Ohio elected Democrat Dick Celeste, a young, media savvy, liberal, political opportunist as governor. Celeste was not terribly competent and managed to make himself dreadfully unpopular in the polls, but the Republicans could not say no to a tired old warhorse, former governor Jim Rhodes, who went down to spectacular defeat in 1986.

Celeste tripled the size of Ohio government and raised taxes accordingly. Sadly, he did not triple the benefits to Ohio citizens. Now Ohio is a high tax, low service state. Is it any wonder that people (and businesses) are fleeing and the economy is sputtering along? What is even more frustrating is that government just can't seem to do the job right. More and more mistakes are being discovered...expensive mistakes. Corruption is everywhere...but what do you expect with so much money being spent. And government workers are never careful when they spend money...it's not like it is their own money.

But also, there is insubordination. The vast majority of the Ohio civil servants are Dems and they don't appreciate working for Republicans. After 12 years of controlling most of Ohio government, we STILL see Dems in most government jobs. Reps just don't know how to hire other Reps.

Back in 1983, I was hired as a summer intern for the Department of Liquor Control. When I went in for my interview with the Chief Legal Counsel, he asked me, "If I had someone go down to the County Recorder's office and checked your voter registration, which primary did you last vote in?" I answered truthfully, "The Republican primary." He laughed. Turns out, that was a disqualifying answer. BUT, somehow, he had received my resume from the Ohio Democrat Party. Mine was the ONLY first year law student's resume given to him by the Party. So, he was going to assume that I was OK with them and he gave me the job. But I was given strict instructions NOT to tell anyone else that I was a Republican...that would get me fired.

So how does this relate to insubordination? Back in 1990, Bob Taft was elected Secretary of State. Rather than clean house, Taft left most of the senior people from the prior Dem SOS stay in their jobs. One of the tasks performed by the SOS is the publication of a biannual political almanac of Ohio. When the 1992 almanac was published it was filled with errors. Apparently, the holdover Dems working on this project did not care enough about the job to do it well. They had little to worry about; their supervisors were Dems and did not care that much either. After the almanac was published, it became a major scandal...embarrassing Taft. The careerist Dems screw up and the Reps take the blame. Granted, the leadership should have reviewed the work more carefully (and Taft has subsequently shown that he pays almost no attention to detail), but you can't monitor EVERYTHING your subordinates are doing. If you can't trust them, then nothing will get done.


Blogger happyinthemiddle said...

I am glad I found this site. Can I be your other reader? JK. I work for the leftiest of all Ohio counties (rhymes with dye a toga) and let me just say that you are spot on. I am probably more a right leaning libertarian (or classic liberal) than a GOP conservative but according to my co-workers (the ones that actually do work) I am a little to the right of William F. Buckley. I just laugh and nod, knowing full well that their comments are just borne out of pain. Anyhow, congrats on a nice blog.

9:03 PM  

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