Bob Taft's $50,000 Parting Gift

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Bob Taft, former Rube in Chief
Before he left office, the Worst Governor in America produced a parting gift for his loving constituents. The Taft Years: 1999-2006, is a colorful, 128-page booklet describing in glorious detail how the governor made Ohio "A Better Place to Live, Work and Raise a Family"— all while earning public approval ratings lower than Nixon's. Most of the pages feature the former governor's trademark, dorky grin. There's Taft Signing a Tax Cut, Taft Talking to Factory Workers, Taft in Khaki Shorts, Contemplating a Lake, Taft...With a Shovel? First Lady Hope gets nine whole pages — more than all three lieutenant governors combined. It's like a brochure for some prosperous, beautiful country you've never visited. Punch's favorites are the book's economic claims. "Our focus has always been on fiscal responsibility and government efficiency," boasts the guy who allowed a state agency to invest $50 million in rare coins. And the Bureau of Workers Comp brags that it "cut costs and improved customer service." Best of all is the price of the book itself. This lovely PR stunt left taxpayers with a bill for nearly $50,000. (Gov. Strickland's office is still deciding whether to pay a $32,000 consultant's fee.) But rest assured, dear reader, your money was well-spent. If this isn't the perfect example of Taft's "fiscal responsibility," we don't know what is. -- Lisa Rab

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