Over the weekend, we saw a number of editorials that addressed the Ohio Senate’s unprecedented decision to reject nearly 80 pending gubernatorial appointees for no other reason than partisan politics.
So… how’d that go over?
The Plain Dealer (which endorsed Kasich):
First and foremost, there was no earthly reason, beyond political peevishness, for Republicans to reject all seven of Strickland’s excellent appointments to Ohio’s new Casino Control Commission. If there was a shred of evidence that any of the Strickland appointees was unsuitable, Republicans never submitted it.
Ostensibly, the concern of the 18 Republicans who rejected the 78 appointments (suburban Akron Republican Kevin Coughlin did support them) is that Republican Gov.-elect John Kasich should be able to choose policymakers who will be in office during his administration, which will begin Jan. 10. That, in some instances, is demonstrable balderdash.
For instance, Republicans surely didn’t refuse to confirm state Budget Director J. Pari Sabety, a key Strickland aide, as a member of the Ohio Advisory Council on the Aging because anyone thinks that the council is omnipotent or that Sabety might turn it into a budget-office-in-exile.
Likewise, the Senate’s rejection of Columbus Republican Charles R. Saxbe, a Strickland appointee to the casino commission, couldn’t have anything to do with Saxbe’s qualifications, because they are beyond reproach. It’s far more likely that Republican Saxbe made the "mistake" in 2006 of endorsing Democrat Strickland for governor and made the additional "mistake" this year of being the attorney for then-Public Safety Director Cathy Collins-Taylor, a Strickland Cabinet member, when Senate Republicans went after her.
What is evident is that never before had so many appointments been rejected under such circumstances. After Strickland was elected, the Republican-led Senate had no problem moving Bob Taft’s appointments in a lame-duck session. Both parties promote the virtues of a smooth transition. By all accounts the Strickland camp has been cooperating. This is the reciprocation? If anything, the Senate has invited more partisanship after Kasich takes office. The precedent surely will be cited whenever tables are turned, a Democratic governor following a Republican, with the Senate in Democratic hands.
At risk is the tradition of the Senate giving its advice and consent — unless serious doubts arise and are fully aired in committee. That tradition ensured stability, continuity and partisan balance when administrations changed. Now it appears the victim, too.
Of course, the Pravda for all things Kasich-related thought what the Ohio Senate did was, fine, just fine.
The Columbus Dispatch:
Political partisans can argue about whether Ohio Senate Republicans were out of line in rejecting 78 of outgoing Gov. Ted Strickland’s appointments to various boards and commissions, but two truths stand out: Of 351 pending appointments, the Senate approved or is set to approve 273 — more than three-fourths. More important, many of the still-open positions are for critical policymaking bodies whose members should be in sync with Gov.-elect John Kasich.
Anytime an editorial begins by pushing aside the most relevant issue, you’ve got a hack job coming…
Here’s another truth for the Dispatch: the Ohio Senate had never, ever, rejected people simply to give someone, even a Governor-elect power that the legislature gave the current Governor. The legislation creating the Casino Commission mandated Governor Strickland to make these appointments.
The Dispatch never urged Strickland to not make these appointments. Not once, did the Dispatch suggest that Strickland should hold off because if he failed to win the election it would be unfair to Kasich. No, the Dispatch only cared about Kasich’s non-existent right to freely choose who served on this commission and made policy after Kasich met with the Senate Republican leadership and publicly made a hit for these appointments. It goes without saying that Kasich should now immediately declare who he’s got that he believes would be better than the appointments he scuttled.
There is no right in the Ohio Constitution that a governor-elect not be faced with political appointees of the prior Administration. In fact, it make sense to have some continuation from one administration to the next to prevent re-inventing the wheel and other inefficiencies.
The fact is that Ohio’s much needed work devising regulations for its new constitutionally protected casino interests is seriously delayed because Ohio is having to go several more months than the legislature mandated without any entity to regulate them. This is bad for Ohio as it delays the casinos themselves.
And the delay is all the result of a petty few Republicans, and the Governor-elect deciding to play partisan politics. As one Republican Senator noted in objection: I didn’t know there was a Republican way and a Democratic way of regulating casinos.
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