If you need any further evidence that supporters of Senate Bill 5 are  becoming increasingly convinced that it will be repealed this November, enter today’s laughable editorial in the Columbus Dispatch (“Meet in the middle”)

We’ve heard this tune before.  We wrote about it back in June when Plain Dealer Kasich apologist Brent Larkin wrote the same thing.  If public polling didn’t show that 56% of Ohioans support repealing the bill, you wouldn’t see this nonsense coming out. 

But at least Brent Larkin admitted that it was Kasich’s heavy handed approach that doomed SB 5 from the start.  Guess who the Dispatch blames for the existence of Issue 2?  (Not John Kasich, but the unions):

“Gov. John Kasich previously has made overtures to union leaders for compromise, but so far, union leaders have not reciprocated.”—Columbus Dispatch editorial board, apparently while high or reporting from an alternate reality

Let’s cover the history of how we got here, again, since apparently the Dispatch has forgotten.  Here’s the record of John Kasich, the Compromiser:

  • March 2009: John Kasich tells the Ashtabula Republican Party that as Governor he wants to “break the backs” of teacher unions.  [Source: Columbus Dispatch]  The Kasich campaign did not shy away from the quote. Always a sign of a guy looking to strike a deal.
  • November 2010: Governor-elect Kasich, in his first press conference since winning the election, tells the media that his Administration will refuse to meet with teachers unions unless they first take out full-page ads apologizing to him publicly for what they said during the campaign about him.   What did they allege that Kasich said was false?  That he supported school consolidation and merit pay provisions for teachers, which Kasich has now pushed as Governor.

  • November 5, 2010: Governor Kasich tells a luncheon of lobbyists that people either get on board of the bus with him, or he’s going to run them over with it.  [Source: Columbus Dispatch “Kasich lays down the law to lobbyists.”]
  • December 2010:  For the first time ever, Governor-elect Kasich says he plans to push for collective bargaining reform that must (his word) outlaw all strikes, make going on strike a fireable offense, and prohibit binding arbitration.  In other words, what became what the Kasich Administration publicly declared the “must have” components of SB 5.

  • January 2011: State Senator Shannon Jones introduces a placeholder bill, assigned the name “Senate Bill 5.”  The entire substantive text of the bill states:  “It is the General Assembly’s intent that sections of the Revised Code be amended, enacted, or repealed to prohibit the state and state employees and state institutions of higher education and their employees from collectively bargaining, to abolish salary schedules for public employees and instead require merit pay, and to make various other changes to the Collective Bargaining Law.”
  • February 9, 2011:  Shannon Jones and the Senate GOP leadership unveils at the Senate Insurance, Commerce & Labor Committee the substantive text of Senate Bill 5.  Governor Kasich shows up at the committee hearing to give the bill his blessing… a rather unusual and highly visible way for a Governor to show his support for legislation.   The bill at this time takes all collective bargaining rights from state employees.  [Source: Columbus Dispatch, Dayton Daily News]
  • The next day, Governor Kasich addresses the Ohio Newspaper Association and informs them that if the Republican-controlled legislature doesn’t pass what he wants in SB 5, he’ll roll it into the state’s budget.  Everything Kasich delinates as “required” terms in Senate Bill 5 is in the bill when it eventually passes both houses and signed by Kasich months later.  In making his budget threat, it becomes clear in Columbus that Governor Kasich has set a deadline of getting the bill passed before the introduction of his budget in mid-March.
  • February 20, 2011: Ohio newspapers run editorials calling SB 5 an overreach and request that the legislature mend, but not end, public employee’s collective bargaining rights.  (Except for the Columbus Dispatch which gave an unqualified endorsement of the bill as drafted.)
  • April 6, 2011: Governor Kasich, in an obvious attempt to negotiate with labor over SB 5, comes out and publicly calls on the GOP legislature to re-incorporate parts of SB 5 into the budget (SB 5 Ep. II: Attack of the Clones) with the specific intent of frustrating organized labor’s referendum repeal effort.  The plan is abandoned after public outcry of over it… but not any from the Columbus Dispatch. [Source: Columbus Dispatch]
  • June 25, 2011: The Columbus Dispatch reports that the Kasich Administration is pushing for a scheme in which the SB 5 referendum is divided into multiple issues in the hopes that some of the components of it will survive a repeal referendum.  That plan is ultimately abandoned when attorneys from Secretary of State Jon Husted’s office, and then Husted himself, publicly says that such a plan is not permissible under Ohio law.

I’ve heard from more than one source that today’s push comes from Dispatch Associate Publisher Mike Curtin and former Voinovich press secretary Curt Steiner who pushed the “We Are Ohio” campaign with seeking to compromise with Kasich while the campaign was giving a presentation to Ohio Chamber of Commerce officials explaining to them why they should remain neutral on the issue.

It’s a completely made up story from the fevered imaginations of Curtin who hopes to see Kasich avoid a strong public rebuke in November.  There is absolutely nothing that Kasich has done to show that he attempted to reach a compromise with labor.  This whole idea of blaming labor for not reaching a “deal” to avoid this referendum issue is a political fiction.  There’s never been any attempt by Kasich at any point in this year to say he’d make a deal, nor has he done anything to demonstrate that he can be a trusted party in any such negotiation.

And yet, despite this seemingly impossible to ignore history by Kasich the Dispatch writes:

No matter which side wins the impending war over State Issue 2, the state will suffer deep and long-lasting wounds that will threaten its already fragile economy. At a minimum, labor-management relations will be set back years.

The referendum to keep or reject Ohio Senate Bill 5, the collective-bargaining-reform effort, will become a historic study in a avoidable tragedy.

Then the editorial goes on and suggests that “We Are Ohio” should consider working out such a compromise by August 30th.  Even though the legislature isn’t even in session, and there’s been nothing from Kasich suggesting he even wants a compromise.  Today’s Dispatch editorial suggests that if there is no compromise by the end of this month (even though there is no attempt by Kasich to make one), then it’s the fault of labor.  That’s preposterous. 

We Are Ohio” cannot possibly reach a deal with Kasich, make the legislature come back in session, introduce a bill, and get them passed through both houses of the General Assembly in the twenty-three days remaining. 

And Kasich has demonstrated by his actions throughout this mess that he cannot be trusted to negotiate in good faith.

But then the Dispatch gives another piece of political fiction:

In the former category, it is mathematically indisputable that Ohio’s taxpayers cannot continue to bear the runaway costs of public employees’ health-care and pension costs.

First, who has established that they are runaway costs?  Where’s the graphs?  The charts?  And nobody can show that taxpayers can’t bear it?  Even though John Kasich’s budget was able to meet these obligations without raising taxes or asking for a single concession by any bargaining unit? Kasich’s budget does not yet factor in SB 5.

Let’s recall that even under Governor Kasich’s own projections of the “savings” of Senate Bill 5 (that the author privately admitted in e-mails was indefensible) that it would only, at best, save the State $217 million a year.  While not exactly chump change, you also have to remember that this is a heavily politicized study created by the Kasich Administration to promote SB 5… and even their B.S. number is hardly within the realm of “mathematically indisputable” things Ohioans cannot afford.

Not when Kasich feels no qualms flying around the State on taxpayers expense four times as much as Strickland did in 2010, or when Kasich gives his top aides obscenely higher salaries than their counterparts in the Strickland Administration.  Or that Kasich lets countless members of his Cabinet and Administration double-dip.

Or that State Senator Kris Jordan and State Rep. Jarrod Martin can still collect a paycheck from the State.

It’s is absolutely absurd for the Dispatch to suggest that if Issue #2 goes to the ballot, it’s the unwillingness of labor to compromise.  It would have been helpful for the Dispatch to have been more critical of the process and content of Senate Bill 5 before it appeared to be doomed to repeal.

The reality is that the Dispatch and Kasich had no interest in compromising SB 5 when they thought they had all the votes that mattered (in the state legislature.)  And even when they didn’t, they could do things like toss Senator Bill Seitz off of a key committee rather than work with him to find acceptable legislative language.  But now, suddenly, they realize that they may not have the votes that matter after all.

Enjoy the ride, Dispatch.

  • Mhiser

    “At a minimum, labor-management relations will be set back years.”
    Actually, it is more accurate to say that labor/Kasich and Company relations are set back.  The way he and the Legislature created and passed Senate Bill 5 cost me what faith I had in the state government to do what is best and right for the middle/working class. 

  • Kasich and the young Slim Pickins do bear a remarkable similarity

  • tshaw1

    They know that when everyone rallies to vote down SB5 that they’ll also vote out every Republican on the ticket…. they’d do anything to stop the coming route!

  • There is no going back. And no going forward until this state returns to some semblance of a democracy.

  • Anastasjoy

    While the Cleveland Plainly Republican has had a few flashes of sanity lately, the Columbus Disgrace is doubling down on being a robotic mouthpiece for the Ohio Republican Party and the Kasich administration.

  • Anonymous

    I literally laughed out loud when I read the Disgrace editorial today.
    Then, I checked to see if I was actually reading the Onion.

  • “The referendum to keep or reject Ohio Senate Bill 5, the collective-bargaining-reform effort, will become a historic study in a avoidable tragedy.”
    Something that seems to be a theme is definitely appearing here lately with the leadership of the Republican thugs doing everything they can to harm our countryand state. 
    Ohio, you simply MUST remember this come November 2011 AND November 2012!  THIS is the way of the Republicans and their leaders the TP.  It is not about taxes, no matter what propaganda they want to spout off about, the TP is about money and power being consolidated even more among the elite of the elite.  The fools who believe them are selling their souls to the devil in exchange for empty promises.

    Wake up, America!
    Wake up, Ohio!

  • Anonymous

    The attempt by the Wolfe family to protect their guy Kasich is funny but in a sad way.

    Obstructionism and fake “compromises” may work in DC but not in Ohio

  • Agree! The Teathugnicans are drunk with greed and power -a dangerous mix. They are driving our country, our state, right off the road to recovery!  They need an intervention! I just hope that, come November 2011 & 2012, voters will care enough to get up off their apathy, take the whee,l and drive these authoritarian scumbags and their middle-class-destroying policies out of office!

  • Madison County

    The time is now to  stand strong together.  12 weeks until Repeal of Senate Bill 5.  Ohio’s cities show the effects of “globalization”, now the mortgage shell game has compounded the effects of de-industrialization of our state.  All the while, working families are trying to build safe communities with a good education for the next generation.  The only way to stop Ohio’s economic decline is for citizens to work towards a future that is better for all.

  • luv2teach

    When something in a newspaper is reported incorrectly isn’t it customary to print a correction? Even if it is in an editorial? Seriously, they need to be called out on these lies. I demand a follow up editorial with the truth (actually they could print this piece by modern and I would be satisfied). They make me sick!

  • They don’t work in DC either. But people voted for rich people or didn’t vote at all. 

  • Anonymous

    Funny you should say that. Actually, I always thought that Kasich looks a lot like Alfred E. Newman from MAD magazine. In fact, he could use the old MAD magazine covers for posters when he runs for president (you didn’t think that Ohio was anymore to him than a stepping stone, did you?).

  • Anonymous

    Has the dispatch been purchased by News Corp? Is it customary for Kasich to kiss them on their whore mouths?

  • leeseh

    I couldn’t believe that I actually read this in the Disgrace.  And to state that Kasich tried to reach out to the union was outrageous.  How could they print such an outright lie even though it is on an opinion page?  I seriously about choked trying to swallow my anger.

  • Modern, 
    Someone (like you) needs to fire off a letter to the CD and set the record straight about Kasich’s relations with those who oppose him (assuming they will publish it).   Since I don’t read the CD anymore I request you reprint the letter on this site…Jim, Columbus  

  • Anonymous

    A favorite side note of mine to this is the comments on the Dispatch website.  They now require that readers log in to comment and post their name.  This was in an effort to raise the level of comments and avoid anonymous posts.

    Now read the comments.  Where are the SB5 supporters?  I see real names and authentic comments from those opposed to the Dispatch’s position, including mine.  Guess those SB5 supporters want to remain in the shadows and snipe from afar while we display our fierce opposition without shame.  

  • Green Iris

    There is no-one more in favor of bipartisanship than a Republican on the losing side.
     The corollary is – What is one word you’ll never hear from a R in the majority?

  • Well let’s see. The unions are responsible for issue 2. Well, if Kasich did not have one of his puppets write and submit SB5, if Kasich did not remove people off of the committee just to get SB5 passed, if Kasich just kept his smart #@% mouth shut, If Kasich talked and LISTENED to those who do not have political agendas about weather or not SB5 was really justified,   maybe the unions and the general public would not have signed a petition that gave us issue 2. So if you want to say that the unions who are made up of PEOPLE who support them are responsible for issue 2, then think who was responsible for SB5 that without there would be no issue 2.

  • Anonymous

    You are so right, Greg. I noticed that right away. Today they have maybe four-five SB5 supporters out of 25 comments.

  • Anonymous

    Greg and the rest of Plunderbund, did you see what The Dispatch did today?  Because of the new commenting system, the crazies haven’t been able to rant as much.  So this morning, on the web, they asked “Would you vote to exempt Ohio from the federal health-care overhaul?” AND permitted anonymous commenting.  Guess what, the results are in favor of exemption and off course this fits perfectly within the narrative of The Dispatch.  I have to hand it to Ben, Glenn, John, and the boys.  They found a way to bend their policies to whip up the support they want.  Watch this trick used on other issues that are dear to them.

  • Anonymous

    OK, I tried to delete my post, but I was incorrect about anonymous comments.  If you are not logged into The Dispatch, comments appear anonymous.  Once you log in, all user names can be seen.  Sorry about that.  

    But I still stand by my point about The Dispatch whipping up the masses in their favor.

  • I was  a long time reader of the Dispatch. I really didn’t pay much attention to politics. But as I have gotten older and with the state of the economy, I have gotten involved. I have done research on Kasich. What I have found is that Kasich is destroying the middle class. Kasich is also dividing Ohio instead of uniting us. And The Dispatch is aiding him by giving him a platform, by way of their newspaper.  The Dispatch does favor Kasich. A newspaper should not be biased. But they are.  I am truly disappointed in The Dispatch. I once trusted them. But no more. News should be news. Not opinion. Use that for your opinion page. Thanks Plunderbund. Please keep on keeping it real!

  • Pavlovich2009

    How do the men and women who served in the milltary who fought to keep Democrcy alive feel about having their voice taken away????

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