I've debated with Bill Galston whether or not Ohio has some singular importance to President Obama's reelection chances. (I say no -- it's getting more Republican while other states have grown more Democratic.) But the Midwest in general is certainly very important. And clearly, doing better in Ohio is better than doing worse.
So it's pretty interesting that Republican governor John Kasich is already incredibly unpopular in Ohio, running 15 percentage points behind Ted Strickland, who he narrowly beat last November. Meanwhile, several Wisconsin state Senators look to be getting pulled down in the Scott Walker undertow.
The big picture is that the Republican Party was deeply discredited by the end of the Bush administration. Then you had Democrats running the government everywhere at the moment of the worst economic crisis in 70 years, so they managed to win power in a bunch of states. But this fact seems only to be reminding people why they hated Republicans in the first place.
And so the question of what Obama has to do to rebuild his standing in the Midwest -- other than have the economy recover and be popular generally -- is to let GOP governors re-trash the party brand in the meantime. In other words, Obama may not need a Midwest strategy at all. The Republicans are carrying out his Midwest strategy for him.