SB5 Attack of the Clones

After giving it some thought, the Republicans apparently realized that cloning SB 5 and putting it into the budget was a really, really, really, bad idea.

According to today’s Columbus Dispatch, Speaker Batchelder unceremoniously dashed the Governor’s hope of having the Republicans embed cloned parts of SB 5 into the State budget to force a second referendum.

“In our caucus, I think there would be a reluctance to try to block something from referendum,” Batchelder said of House Republicans. “I used to vote against almost every emergency clause because it barred people from a referendum.”

In other words, Governor, we helped you pass this thing; it’s up to convince Ohio’s not to veto it this November.  A few days ago, Rachel Maddow had a segment about why politically it was a colossally horrible idea for the Republicans to have SB 5 on the ballot in Ohio: the ‘12 Presidential election.

I’m not one to quibble with Rachel, but I think she’s giving the Republicans in the Ohio legislature too much credit.  They’re not keeping SB 5 off the ballot next year to help the yet-to-be-decided GOP Presidential candidate in Ohio.  They’re doing it because they don’t want to be on the same ballot as SB 5.  The Republicans have a nine-seat majority that they’ve got the redistricting pen and not much else to protect them.  It’s not the Republican presidential candidate  they are worried about; they’re too busy worrying about their own re-election.

Can’t you imagine how hard it would be to run for re-election while trying to explain to your constituents why you voted to attempt to frustrate their right to referendum by forcing the issue on the ballot twice?  It’s bad enough that Kasich is forcing them to take the heat next year over SB 5, but when Kasich asked them to clone SB 5, that’s when things got too hot for them.  Because while that, too, might have been Kasich’s idea, it would be the House GOP that would most take the political heat for Kasich’s will of the voter frustrating maneuver.  The House GOP told Kasich: No way. 

If you read the rest of the Dispatch’s article, you can see the fault lines building between the bond between the Governor and his Republican brethren in the General Assembly.  They don’t like the heat they’re getting from parents over his education budget, or the heat they’re getting from local politicians furious over Kasich’s local government budget slashing. 

As a result, the House Republicans find themselves now openly hoping the Strickland recovery continues to gain steam enough that Ohio’s budget forecast improves even further and they can, as House Finance Chair Ron Amstutz put it “smooth” the “sharp edges” of Kasich’s budget some.

So, the GOP legislative caucuses have made it clear: it’s 2011 or bust for SB 5, and they’re hoping by the time they actually have to pass a State budget, the Strickland recovery can make them spend more money than under Kasich’s “transformative” budget.