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Opening Arguments

Cool, happening Ohio?

Pretty childish, huh?

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence Wednesday fired back at Ohio Gov. John Kasich over comments Kasich made earlier this week in Cincinnati needling Indiana.

The Indianapolis Star reports that Pence – a Republican like Kasich – all but called Kasich a sore loser for characterizing Indiana as a one-city state.

“Indiana is the best state in the Midwest to start a business, grow a business and get a job,” Pence said Wednesday. “With the Hoosier state consistently winning the competition for fiscal responsibility and reform, somebody should remind the governor of Ohio that trash talk usually comes before the game.”

The tiff began Monday when Kasich, speaking to an annual Hamilton County Republican dinner, said Ohio can be the top state in the nation, and that Cincinnati is a “cool, happening place.”

Ohio “is not Indiana,” he said, adding that after visiting Indianapolis, any one would wonder where else to go. “Gary?” Kasich asked. The comments were first reported on the Politics Extra blog.

It’ wasn’t the first time he’s taken a shot at Hoosiers. A year ago, he told the New York Times that after visiting Indianapolis, people would wonder what’s next? “Terre Haute?”

At least Kasich doesn't let his joke get stale. What's next, Wabash? What's next, LaPorte? What's next, East Chicago? Har-de-har-har.

But really, state-baiting is a time-honored tradition, and I think Pence's political instincts are a little off here. The proper response to such an insult is not puffed-up resentment and a serious defense of one's state but, rather, to fire back an insult in the same spirit. Why do ducks fly over Columbus, Ohio, upside down? There's nothing worth crapping on! Why are all the trees in Kentucky leaning to the south? Because Tennessee sucks and Ohio blows! What does the average Ohio student get on his SAT? Drool! Ba-da-bing!

Buckeye. Now, there's a stupid nickname.