So, yesterday Governor Kasich and the GOP legislative leadership hold a press conference to profess their desire to hold talks with the We Are Ohio campaign to try to reach a compromise on Senate Bill 5.  We Are Ohio said they would be glad to talk about a compromise, but in order to show they were serious the campaign said Kasich and the Republicans would need to repeal Senate Bill 5 first before any talks could be had.

Some in the media called this a “demand” of labor, but really it was a political reality.  There was NO WAY We Are Ohio would ever, ever, ever, pull Issue 2 from the ballot by August 30th without the legislature first passing a repeal and Kasich signing it into law first.  The amount of distrust among labor with the Governor is too high to expect they’d fall for what would be that old school elections saw of “you vote for me, and I’ll vote for you.”

There would never be a deal unless SB 5 was repealed and replaced.  Does it make sense that the parties could have worked out a replacement for SB 5 and gotten it passed in both houses and signed into law in less than two weeks?  Not unless the legislative process precluded permitting the public its usual rights to weigh in it couldn’t.  Regardless, the best public policy is almost never created under circumstances in which the calendar is the biggest driver.  See the debt ceiling debacle.

Repeal the bill and then don’t rush on a replacement.  Rushing the legislative process is what got us into the political problem in the first place, so it sure as heck won’t solve it.  Negotiate through the legislative process, not behind closed doors with only selected political actors having input.

There was nothing unreasonable about We Are Ohio’s position, as it was nothing more than a statement of political reality.  There’s nothing to negotiate so long as SB 5 is on the books, and once we withdraw Issue 2 we can’t refile it, We Are Ohio said, so you’re going to have to repeal it first or else this is nothing more than a political p.r. stunt.  Having said they’d be willing to have talks if Kasich would do what is necessary to reset the situation politically, Kasich found his petard hoisting him into the air instead.

As I wrote yesterday, if Kasich’s presser was designed to create a public relations trap for We Are Ohio, it was a comically designed one worse than anything Wile E. Coyote had done.  And it backfired quicker than a tennis return.  With the ball back in his court, all Kasich had to do to have his compromise talks is commit to repealing SB 5 and having the parties start from scratch.  Something that would be necessary for any compromise anyways.

So what did the Kasich Administration do?  They blasted labor’s insistence that the Administration show some good faith.  According to news radio reporter Matt Bruning:

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/mbruning81/status/104277555007324160″]

That’s an interesting analogy.  It literally states that labor would have better odds winning the lottery than getting what it wants from any talks with the Governor.  That’s hardly the message they should be giving if they’re trying to portray themselves as being reasonable and willing to negotiate.

If Kasich was truly serious about negotiating with labor, then his refusal to show an act of good faith by repealing SB 5 and allowing the parties to reset their relationship and the politics of this is a failure of his leadership.  What did Kasich expect?  That We Are Ohio would just pull Issue 2 off the ballot simply because Kasich invited to meet with them?  Especially when Kasich publicly stated that such a meeting was just to allow the parties to talk, not to necessary try to reach an agreement?  Leadership requires more than holding press conferences, Governor.

If Kasich was doing this for p.r. purposes, which is what most people have already concluded, then he failed there, too.  Because the p.r. strategy, assumingly, was to paint labor as unwilling to negotiate to avoid a referendum fight.  Nichols’ statement ends the talk about negotiations with John Kasich, not labor, being the one who ultimately said no to any talks that could possibly seek a compromise and avoid this referendum fight.  Nothing says “reasonable compromiser” like mocking the other side for suggesting the parties start from a clean slate by equating it with a demand that they win the lottery.

Any compromise needed to be done in the context of the legislative process in the public hearing rooms of the state legislature, in which all citizens could participate, in a process that is more focused on consensus than the calendar.  What you don’t want is a closed door meeting between a select number of politicians, all from the same party, meeting privately behind the closed doors of the Governor’s conference room, with only a select few folks who lead labor and only twelve days to reach an agreement, get it signed into law, and then withdraw Issue 2 from the ballot.

In the span of less than twenty-four hours, Governor Kasich went from trying to portraying labor as unwilling to compromise to publicly being the one saying no.  The fact that Kasich scoffs at the notion that SB 5 had to be repealed before labor could take Kasich’s overture seriously demonstrates how truly disinterested he really was in a deal.  Notice, there’s no counter-offer by the Administration on how else the parties could proceed and believe that each side was acting in good faith… because there is none.

You can’t expect to convince people that you are really interested in a compromise if you equate what was really an unavoidable act necessary to effectuate any compromise as a “pie-in-the-sky, let win the lottery” pipedream, especially when 56% of Ohioans polled say they’re willing to “award the lottery” to We Are Ohio already.  It demonstrates an utter lack of self-awareness of the political strength (or lack thereof) the Administration had at the bargaining table, or, the more likely scenerio, it is an invented excuse to publicly justify your unwillingness to meet with labor afterall.

Either way, Kasich has show a spectacular failure of leadership.  In the span of just twenty-four hours, he has crushed the spirits of the few supporters of SB 5 that exist and angered them with talks about a deal with labor bosses, he emboldened the opponents, and he showed the people in the middle that he tried to disengiously play them into believing he was willing to be reasonable and compromise when he truly is not.

This past few days should be used as a case study in how not to negotiate.   John Kasich failed as a leader of this State when he jammed SB 5 down our throats, and then he failed again to try to work out a compromise to avoid this costly referendum.  Today, we saw John Kasich withdraw from his own negotiation.

  • Well said Modern. The truth about Governor Kasich’s tactics is known by a far wider audience now and will help to battle SB5 at the polls come November. This is the boost We Are Ohio may have needed to keep volunteers on track and their numbers growing. This fueled the fire.

  • Beep!Beep!==============

  • Anonymous

    Meep, meep, motherfucker…

  • Anonymous

    It feels so good to see them squirm after they threatened a significant portion of my take home pay, and tried to quash any rights I may have at work. F them and the horse they rode in on.

  • CLEARLY,  he thought WE ARE Ohio n Unions would drop our referendum b/c now he wants to compromise? I dont trust him..STAND STRONG ..UNITED WE CAN’T BE DIVIDED! I STAND  with each n every 1 of u..NO DEAL..NO DEAL…EITHER REPEAL SB 5 OR LET THE PEOPLES VOICES BE HEARD!

  • Fotogirlcb2002

    Nothing more than smoke and mirrors–
    this is another one of Kasichs political plays,
    this will come out in a commercial Labor Day weekend that he tried
    to talk and the unions refused,
    hes trying to win over the undecided voters on this ,
    just another indication to me ,
    they will try and do anything to win

  • Acme….kit …beep beep…….peeeeeeeeewwwwwwwwwwwwwwww…splat…lol

  • Written simply and tastefully. It’s pleasant to read. Thank u.

  • Slapshot

    Here are a list of my demands in order to cancel the referendum in November.1. Repeal SB 5. You know what? While you’re at it, I want the referendum on healthcare pulled and the voting bill repealed as well. We don’t just want union rights, but rights for everyone too.2.A written letter of apology from the following people-Joe Hallett and the Dispatch for backing this horrible billMatt Mayer for lacking the courage to come out and say the policies he and his organization advocate and the policies they endorse were a huge factor in creating the deficits both on a state and federal levelThe tea party for calling people thugs, gangsters, communists etc. and just being assholes in general.3. Shannon Jones resigns immediately and agrees to work at the Mid-Ohio Foodbank. Oh and Jordan and Martin have to resign as well. Rehab and anger management time fellas.4.JohnKasich gets one of the following. A tramp stamp tattoo that says IDIOT or I heart public servants on his back.5. Every politician who voted for this bill has to wear a t-shirt that says “I voted for SB5. I am so so sorry.”6.Batchelder has to go trick or treating as Harry Caray.7. An amendment to the Ohio constitution protecting workers rights to collective bargaining and binding arbitration. Also remove the gay marriage amendment, hate has no place in anyone’s constitution.8. Every time a teacher, policeman or fireman is laid off the above mentioned people have to go to their families and explain how corporations and the rich need money and tax cuts more than mommy and daddy needs a job. When the above conditions are met, then the referendum can be cancelled. Until then take your lame offer at talks, turn it sideways, glaze it and shove it right up your roody poo candy ass.

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