In an effort to lay the groundwork that somehow the “We Are Ohio” campaign, and not John Kasich, has been unreasonable on SB 5, the Dispatch continues with its myth that Governor John Kasich suddenly wants to compromise on SB 5 in order to avoid an Issue 2 campaign.
Note that this story doesn’t name a single source.
Yesterday, sources told Dispatch reporters that informal discussions between two people affiliated with the defense of Senate Bill 5 and representatives from the Ohio Education Association and the AFL-CIO took place about six weeks ago, but labor backed away.
We’ve never written a story that just cited “sources” without given some sense of whom these people might be so you can judge their comments for obvious bias. Were these labor sources? Chances are no. Were they Kasich Administration or Republican legislative sources? If so, why won’t they go more on background? Why the secrecy? Why not just go on record? And what were they willing to offer?
I mean, seriously, blogs are more responsible than this Dispatch story is. Assuming for argument that this story is even true, don’t you need to know what the Administration’s “offer” was to properly understand why labor might walk away from the table? I mean, what if it was in essence no real offer at all and this meeting was nothing more than an Administration’s attempt to create a story to be published by friendly media outlet to create a narrative that paints the Administration in an undeserved, yet favorable, light?
And what does this say about Senate Bill 5? How does the Building a Better Ohio continue to maintain that SB 5 is necessary reform “as is” while the Administration supposedly admits that there are provisions that should be jettisoned?
Setting aside the issue, from just a perspective of Kasich’s leadership, Kasich is engaged in the worst form of negotiating tactics: he’s literally negotiating with himself. “We Are Ohio” is sitting on a roughly 24-point lead in the polls. The first rule of entering into a negotiation is first deciding whether to negotiate (i.e.- what can you really expect to achieve in a negotiation), and you cannot do that if your Kasich without looking at your hand.
Kasich has an approval rating stuck in the 30s all year and a growing disapproval rating at 50%. A clear majority of Ohioans through multiple polling outfits, including conservative ones, shows they support a total repeal of bill. Is the animosity and “bad blood” from a potential campaign really going to be that much more than what has already been created by how this bill was railroaded through the legislature which, among one of its lowest points, including the Administration’s efforts to lock out the people from the Statehouse during a legislative session?
If “We Are Ohio” wins the ballot, as the polls shows it appears it would do comfortably, then they can get everything they want. The only card Kasich can play is that a newly elected Governor with a 35% approval rating (and dropping) and a 50% disapproval rating (and rising) can engineer a change in the political environment that he can create a chance that “We Are Ohio” could lose it all if Issue #2 goes to the ballot. If Kasich thinks there are portions of SB 5 that should be repealed, then he should call the legislature into session and repeal those provisions. He doesn’t need We Are Ohio’s blessing to do so. That would be real leadership. So, what exactly can Kasich offer the “We Are Ohio” campaign that they don’t appear capable of achieving on their own without a deal? And, again, when is the Dispatch going to admit that the remaining three weeks of this month makes any deal virtually impossible to reach, especially given that the General Assembly isn’t even in session?
Instead, he’s trying to negotatiate a deal when the only card he has to play is the uncertainty of a political campaign that everyone admits presently favors the other side. After months of dismissing the people and publicly degrading them, and publicly dismissing them as politically irrelevant, he now brings them to his negotiating table and says, “I want to cut a deal?” Can you imagine a negotiation more doomed to fail than this one?
But, again, assuming for argument that this happened, the Dispatch glosses over the real story here. The story isn’t that labor isn’t willing to cut a deal with Kasich. It’s that Senate Bill 5 has so weakened Governor Kasich and all his bluster, that he’s supposedly been reduced to privately reach out to labor to cut a deal, to cut the legs out from under Shannon Jones and all his fellow Republicans in the General Assembly that he twisted their arms to pass this bill, whom he reassured that if they stuck their necks out for him with this vote they’d politically be fine. If John Kasich’s Administration went to any bargaining table to labor to try to work on a post-enactment compromise of SB 5, he did so with his tail between their legs and on his knees begging. That’s the real story.
Kasich is begging labor to let him off the hook. If the Dispatch‘s story has any truth to it, then that’s what is occurring. John Kasich isn’t some heroic compromiser as the Dispatch has been trying to portray him. If anything about the Dispatch story is true, Kasich is nothing more than a weakened political beggar. There’s your New Way, New Day. Within seven months, Kasich has been reduced to begging labor to let him escape from what he’s been fundraising to his activist base is one of his biggest accomplishments so far.
Maybe Kasich should consider taking out a full-page ad apologizing to the teachers unions.