For over a year, Rob Portman has told any Tea Party or Republican crowd that he supported the repeal of the recent federal health care reform bill. In response to the Ohio Republicans’ widespread claims that the health care bill was so unpopular they planned on running on repealing it as part of their national platform, the Ohio Liberty Council (the unofficial umbrella organization of the Tea Party so-called “movement”) drafted a proposed amendment to the Ohio constitution to be voted on this fall with the stated aim of writing into Ohio’s constitution law that “nullifies” the already passed federal law.
For reasons, I won’t go back into, the entire thing was a legal fiction. A state’s constitution cannot overturn already existing federal law. The U.S. Constitution’s supremacy clause settles it.
Well, today, the Columbus Dispatch reports that with a week to go to get the signatures, the Ohio Liberty Council has announced that it does not anticipate it’ll have the signatures to put their amendment on the ballot.
I’ve reviewed Portman’s recent speech to the Ohio Hospital Association and Portman made no reference to “repealing” the health care bill. However, I’ve been told that when asked after the speech if he supported a repeal, he said he still did.
We were told that like the anti-gay marriage amendment in 2004, this issue would focus conservative voter turnout upset with the new federal health care bill in such large numbers the Ohio Democratic Party would be swept into the dustbin of history.
They couldn’t even organize enough support to get people to sign a petition. And most people will sign petitions whether they support the cause or not. The Ohio Republican Party, and its legislative caucuses, have promoted their anti-health care reform initiatives, included their own proposed constitutional amendment to “nullify” federal health care legislation.
Where were they? Where was Rob Portman’s campaign? If they truly believed that running on repealing the health care bill was a political winner for them, that Ohioans were chomping at the bit to exact political vengeance on the Democrats come November, wouldn’t you have thought that Portman would have tied himself at the hip to this issue. That he, and the rest of the Ohio Republican establishment, would move heaven and earth (like the ORP did to get Dave Yost the signatures he needed to suddenly run for State Auditor) to get this issue on the ballot?
Why, if health care repeal is such a winner, did not House Minority Leader John Boehner lead his nearly infinite resources to this effort? Did Boehner conclude that this issue, after all, wouldn’t help him against Congressman Steve Driehaus, Zack Space, Mary Jo Kilroy, or John Boccieri?
Maybe after seeing that the Tea Party so-called “movement” only constituted, at best, only a third of the GOP electorate, the Ohio GOP establishment determined that they didn’t need to worry about the Tea Party anymore. If I were in the Tea Party, I’d be more upset over the Ohio GOP’s empty rhetoric about supporting health care repeal than I would over some silly logos to support certain establishment-favored Republicans in the primaries.
Did Rob Portman even SIGN the Ohio Liberty Council’s petition? Did any of the Republican candidates for Congress, who have publicly stated that they support a repeal of the health care bill, sign their petition? I’m betting not. Because if they had, they would have crowed about it. (The only candidates I could find that had signed the petition were failed 18th Republican Congressional Candidate Fred Daily and 9th Congressional Republican nominee Richard Lott.)
The Tea Party as a movement has failed. I didn’t determine it. The Ohio Republican Party did.