For over a year now Ohio’s Tea Partyers at the Ohio Liberty Council have been trying, with limited success, to gather enough signatures for a ballot initiative to “repeal” federal health care reform legislation in Ohio by amending the Ohio constitution.

Despite their best efforts, the Ohio Liberty Council has had a hell of a time getting enough Ohio voters to sign their petitions for the proposed amendment. They’ve been working on it since last spring and I’ve seen them at tons of public events with their crazy “STOP FORCED HEALTH CARE” banners. County fairs. Local festivals. They even showed up at Race for the Cure in Columbus – an event to raise money for breast cancer research, education, screening and treatment – and were promptly booed and scolded by cancer victims and their families/friends.

Support for this ballot intiative has been weak and focused mainly on the right-wing fringe, and yet Ohio’s Republicans have decided it’s now in their best interest to help the Tea Party folks get this thing on the ballot.

In March, Senator Grendell introduced a joint resolution in the Senate (SJR1) that is nearly identical to the initiative being pushed by the Tea Party groups. On Thursday, the Senate passed the resolution.

While I completely disagree with the Ohio Liberty Council’s philosophy and their goals, at least they appear to be working toward a cause they believe in. The same does not appear to be true for Ohio’s Republicans. For nearly a year the GOP ignored the Tea Party activists and their health care ballot initiative. And now, suddenly, when it’s in their best interest, Republicans are all fired up about working with the Tea Party?

Ohio’s Republican legislators are again simply trying co-opt the Tea Party’s anti-“obamacare” legislation in an entirely political and amazingly obvious play to help excite right-wing, tea-party, anti-union voters to come out in November.

As Modern has already pointed out, “a state’s constitution cannot overturn already existing federal law” according to the U.S. Constitution’s supremacy clause, so this proposed ammendment is absolutely unconstitutional. Moreover, Grendell and the Senators who support the bill are undeniably violating the oath they took to “to support the Constitution of the United States” (Art. XV, Sec. 7 of the Ohio Constitution) when they voted for it.

One Democrat, Senator Jason Wilson, voted with Republicans on the bill. I contacted the Senator’s office on Friday evening and ended up talking with him at length about the resolution. While I find his choice to vote for this resolution disappointing for many reasons, his explanation was reasonable and his choice will probably help him during the next election cycle. The Senator made it clear that he is very concerned for about health care costs and availability but the majority of his constituents didn’t vote for President Obama and don’t support the federal health care legislation so he feels it’s his obligation to give them the opportunity to choose.

Wilson’s district is tough. And his choice to break with the Democrats on this resolution, as well as a number of other gun and abortion-related bills, will probably play well with potential voters in the fall.

As the Senator pointed out, the GOP controls the Senate 23 to 10. His vote wouldn’t have made a difference either way. But it still means Republicans will be able to claim this Resolution was passed with bipartisan support even though the bill is 100% partisan in nature.

Ultimately, I don’t think it’s going to matter who voted for this thing in the Senate. The Ohio House will need a two-thirds vote to get the initiative on the ballots, which means they’ll need 66 votes. The current breakdown in the House is 59 Rs and 40’s Ds, making the chances of success pretty slim.

I guess this explains why Shannon Jones, one of the cosponsors of Grendell’s senate resolution, spent Father’s day with her family gathering signatures for the Tea Party’s ballot initiative.

Jones knows the Senate resolution won’t make it to the ballot. And I’m assuming Senator Wilson knows it too – which is why he felt comfortable enough voting for it.

The pendulum is swinging back toward the Dems as you read this, and it’s clear the Tea Party fad is nearing its end.

You had one good election cycle guys. Savor it. You should be proud. It’s more than most extremist, reactionary, third party-like movements get.

But you had your day. You got a few people elected. It’s time to join the rest of us back in reality.

Health Care reform is going to happen, and if you want to have some say in how it’s done, it’s in your best interest to get involved in the conversation instead closing your eyes, sticking your fingers in your ears and yelling SOCIALIST at the top of your lungs.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve seen these bozos around town with their petitions.  Most people just ignored them.  I thought that some of them were a little too affluent looking in their neat golf shirts and khaki pants.  They looked like lobbyists dressed in their weekend designer sports outfits.

  • Anon hates the teabags

    GOOD! The really racist wing of the GOP the people of the tea can go back and hide under their rock now. They have served their purpose.

  • Anonymous

    Shameless partisan hijacking of the legislative process.  Their pals over at the Ohio Project trying to get this on the ballot are clearly not going to make it so they’re trying to grease the path to get it on the ballot this November, knowing full well it’s a total waste of space and is there only to fire up the wingnuts.

  • Fotogirlcb2002

    Well, I dont know if its fading or not.
    In Warren county the “R”s are mailing out packets to a lot of people…..
    the packet has a lot of pages of propaganda against the “D”s ( Obama  and unions ) 
    a questionaire about how you vote
    But leads you to believe you arent registered….
    I think its pointed towards the older voters — they seem to be the target of so many voting changes
    This home is a registered “D” always has been…. yes there are ways and people who can look up how you are registered….
    I just find it odd  …………   I dont trust the “R”s when it comes to voting ,I guess

  • Fotogirlcb2002

    sorry I shoulda said voting reforms I dont trust ( everyone is entitled to vote the way they feel )

  • Pictures! We need pictures.

  • Guest

    Per the SOS, they only need a 3/5 vote in the House, not a 2/3.  http://www.sos.state.oh.us/SOS/elections/issues/GAinitiative.aspx

    If all the Rs vote for it and one Dem breaks ranks, this thing is on the ballot. Keep an eye on Patmon and Barnes.

  • Thanks for the correction.

    The Rs have definitely shown themselves to be better at wrangling their people in and forcing them to vote the ‘right’ way on legislation.

    Still, I’m hoping the Ohio House, which has acted surprisingly less crazy than the Senate this session, will find its way to avoid passing this thing.

    You have to figure that one or two vulnerable Rs will ask to be let off the hook on the vote.

    And even if they do get this thing on the ballot, I doubt the impact will be anywhere near what the GOP overconfidently predicts.

  • Thanks for the correction.

    The Rs have definitely shown themselves to be better at wrangling their people in and forcing them to vote the ‘right’ way on legislation.

    Still, I’m hoping the Ohio House, which has acted surprisingly less crazy than the Senate this session, will find its way to avoid passing this thing.

    You have to figure that one or two vulnerable Rs will ask to be let off the hook on the vote.

    And even if they do get this thing on the ballot, I doubt the impact will be anywhere near what the GOP overconfidently predicts.

  • Anonymous

    No —that’s not correct. They EITHER have to get the signatures or have it put on the ballot by legislative fiat. It’s looking like a long shot that they will collect enough valid signatures to get it on the ballot THIS November, which is what they are pushing for. So the legislature putting it on the ballot is just a bypass.

  • Anon hates Kasuck

    Some of them are afraid to lose their jobs the next time around. The newly elected Senators have a longer time to come up with some really good lies oops I mean stories to tell about how much better the non-free free market works. It gives people so many more choices to go away and die. 

    The R party hates the living, hates America but keeps yelling about freedom….the freedom to be poor and die a miserable death. 

    The teabags are the R’s folks. 

    The R’s have embraced their racist Neo-confederates because they are related under the skin. The South is back and worse than ever because they want to infect everyone. 

  • I don’t care if someone is foolish enough to vote for R’s who isn’t rich.  But my parents left Alabama so that they could vote here. Just goes to show that Ohio is becoming if not already the Alabama of the north. 

    Don’t get in my way, my parents way or my friends way, and we’ll get along just fine. The R’s want to make it so that the people who don’t vote for them can’t.

    They can go to the devi!. 

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