Sheila McLaughlin reports:
Life in Republicanland isn’t what it used to be.
Here in Butler County – home to House Speaker John Boehner, a county so Republican the Democrats didn’t even bother to challenge him this year – the 2012 landscape is a far cry from 2008, much less elections before that.
Unemployment is 7.9 percent, compared to 5.1 percent in March, 2008. Nearly one in ten families live in poverty now. The days are gone when subdivisions were rising at every farm and commercial developments were exploding.
A look at how the economy has changed and Enquirer interviews with voters shows that Republicans and conservatives are looking for a candidate to bail them out of hard times.
They are divided on which candidate will do that, and that’s important: whoever wins Republican-rich Butler County on March 6 could take a big leap toward winning Ohio. In the 2008 primary, more Republican votes were cast in Butler County than in all but five other counties.
They aren’t particularly enthusiastic about any candidate, which could haunt Republicans on Nov. 6.
They see a field of candidates who may not be electable and who all have deep flaws – too many wives, too many negative ads, too young, too old.
But they are sure of one thing: Getting rid of President Obama is the cure to what ails Butler County.
“Do I think that there’s going to be some radical shift that Butler County can no longer be counted as a great conservative bastion? Absolutely not,” said Dave Kern, head of the Butler County Republican party.
‘The lesser of two evils’
Bill Langdon, 64, owns the Grand Ole Pub (GOP for short) in West Chester Township.
Langdon and his wife Pat opened their bar on Princeton-Glendale Road about 16 months ago. He calls it an “American pub” although it’s known as a gathering spot for conservatives.
Photos of all the U.S. Presidents get equal billing on a rear wall of the pub, no matter their political party. But there are a couple tell-tale signs which way the politics lean here. (more…)