True. Freaking. Story.
It’s only three weeks away from the election and we are still being amazed by the quality of human beings that comprise those known as “supporters of Issue 2.” Last week, Governor Kasich’s official campaign group, Building a Better Ohio, misappropriated “We Are Ohio” ad footage of Grandmother Marlene Quinn and placed the spliced the footage out of context, twisting Ms. Quinn’s message.
And today, while doing some research on the Ohio Constitution (don’t judge my use of free time), I stumbled upon a publication by The Buckeye Institute entitled Defending Liberty in Ohio. You probably are familiar with The Buckeye Institute as being the group that published the salaries of all public workers on their website with a search tool and actually provided the blueprint and, apparently, this data for the Ohio Treasurer’s office.
The Buckeye Institute can also be counted on whenever an newspaper needs a quote from a conservative “expert” in support of Issue 2. President Matt Mayer is a regular Johnny-on-the-spot, usually addressing public-employee compensation (a minimal part of Senate Bill 5 according to Governor Kasich’s chosen experts):
Public-employee compensation overall far exceeds that of the private sector, said Matt Mayer, president of the conservative Buckeye Institute. Taxpayers are usually unaware of the “hidden benefits,” he said.
“It’s stuff that’s costing taxpayers,” Mayer added.
[Source: Columbus Dispatch, 10/17/11]
“Senate Bill 5 is a tool to lower (everyone’s) taxes,” said Matt A. Mayer, president of The Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions, a conservative think tank.
[Source: Cincinnati Enquirer, 10/17/11]
For the [Senate Bill 5] proponents, the Buckeye Institute For Public Policy Solutions’ “The Grand Bargain is Dead” has become the rallying cry.
[Source: Youngstown Vindicator, 9/4/11]
Matt Mayer, president of the Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions, a conservative, Columbus-based think tank, said wage and hour laws, workplace safety laws and rules and other regulations make unions irrelevant.
“The only role unions now perform is to quibble over workplace flexibility issues and drive up labor costs,” said Mayer.
[Source: Dayton Daily News, 9/4/11]
[Mayer] offered another view: “These things never should have been in place in the first place. … We created a system since 1983 that has this privileged class of workers in Ohio.”
“With the current system, you can’t get rid of them because in a sense you have to bargain over all those things. … What this does is say, ‘We need a reset, and we need to focus on the pay, and just the pay, and we need to have the flexibility that exists.'”
[Source: The Tiffin Advertiser Tribune, 9/2/11]
None of us in the private sector have anywhere near the benefits or pay that the much less productive government employees have at our expense. This has to stop and Senate Bill 5 stops it. This bill would eliminate collective bargaining for all government employees in Ohio.
We need to be calling, faxing, and emailing every Ohio Senator, every day, until this vote is passed.
[Source: Buckeye Institute, 2/11/11]
Okay, so I cheated on that last one. That’s not from a newspaper, but from a post by Buckeye Institute President Matt Mayer.
Our regular readers and anyone who has been following the Senate Bill 5 debate in Ohio should not be surprised by any of this information. It’s no revelation that The Buckeye Institute has publicly allied themselves with the Tea Party movement, most recently traveling with Koch-brother-funded Americans For Prosperity around Ohio for “Taxpayer Town Halls” that promote Issue 2 at Regional Tea Party-sponsored events.
But I will readily admit that I was woefully unprepared for what I read today in The Buckeye Institute’s Defending Liberty in Ohio, a document they published in 2009. This document was published in conjunction with The Buckeye Institute’s response to the election of President Barack Obama (seriously, I’ll get to that) – the creation of the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law (note: The 1851 Center has since incorporated as a separate entity). The document explains their reasoning:
It’s time to even out the playing field, and to use the Ohio Constitution to benefit Ohioans in search of freedom, rather than special interests in search of favors. This is why the Buckeye Institute is establishing the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law. Through targeted and principled litigation, the 1851 Center represents a significant opportunity to improve Ohioans’ lives and well-being.
The Buckeye Institute, like many organizations in the freedom movement, has offered cutting-edge research and dynamic ideas. But its influence has depended on the willingness and capacity of others to understand and adopt these ideas. The time has come to add a more active component to the battle to preserve liberty in Ohio.
Okay, so what do they think freedom and liberty look like and how do they work to improve our lives and well-being? The opening paragraphs of this founding document explain it best:
In the aftermath of the 2008 Presidential elections, many Americans fear that our federal courts will take a drastic turn to the left. Fortunately for Ohioans, the Ohio Constitution offers greater, independent protections of individual rights, and the Buckeye Institute’s new 1851 Center for Constitutional Law will focus on invigorating those protections. Fears of a stark shift in how federal courts protect constitutional rights may be well-founded. Our new President has expressed his constitutional jurisprudence as follows:
“[T]he judge has to then bring in his or her own perspectives, his ethics, his or her moral bearings. And in those circumstances what I do want is a judge who is sympathetic enough to those who are on the outside, those who are vulnerable, those who are powerless, those who can’t have access to political power and as a consequence can’t protect themselves from being dealt with sometimes unfairly, that the courts become a refuge for justice.”
He’s added that he prefers judges who have “got the heart, the empathy to understand what it’s like to be a young teenage mom. The empathy to understand what it’s like to be poor, or African-American, or gay, or disabled, or old, and that’s the criteria by which I’m going to be selecting my judges.”
Mr. Obama is accompanied by sizable majorities of Democrats in both the House and the Senate, and enters office at a time of record federal court vacancies. This means that Mr. Obama will not only have the authority to handpick federal judges who share his constitutional jurisprudence, but he will have the authority to do this early and often.
To recap, The Buckeye Institute started this new organization because they believe that Ohioans are justified in being afraid that President Barack Obama might appoint judges who demonstrate:
- sympathy to those who are vulnerable,
- sympathy to those who are powerless,
- sympathy to those who are can’t protect themselves from being dealt with sometimes unfairly
- empathy towards teenage mothers,
- empathy towards the poor,
- empathy towards the elderly,
- empathy towards the disabled,
- empathy towards gays, or
- empathy towards blacks
Two quick definitions:
- sympathy – the sharing of another’s emotions, esp. of sorrow or anguish; pity; compassion
- empathy – the intellectual identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another
Don’t you feel safer with The Buckeye Institute on your side, fellow Ohioans? Are you sleeping better knowing that they want to use Ohio’s Constitution to protect us from those who might feel compassion for the powerless and vulnerable? Thank goodness we need not fear those intimidating teenage mothers who might need assistance in their greatest time of need. The Buckeye Institute wants you to feel free to leave your doors unlocked knowing you’re being protected from federal leaders who might have the audacity to identify with the thoughts or feelings of citizens who are black, poor, old, gay, or disabled.
And to think that it was only last week that I didn’t know these marginalized populations were a threat to my freedom and liberty. Does this mean that voting YES on Issue 2 helps to further their agenda of oppression of minority populations? I’m left to assume that The Buckeye Institute’s agenda means that their mission is to only support Ohioans who are:
- straight, and
- white (or at least not black)
Their report clearly states that they believe the assignment of left-leaning judges would have negative implications, so they began this organization to ensure the citizens in minority populations have their rights oppressed here in Ohio. And yet people actually deny that there are connections between this year’s legislation and social discrimination. When it is not explicitly stated in the language of the bills being introduced and passed by our Republican-controlled legislature, it’s clearly evident in their entire way of thinking about the irrelevance of individual voices (locked out the Statehouse lately?).
This, ladies and gentlemen, is The Buckeye Institute. Vocal tea party supporter, staunch opponent of public unions, outspoken supporter of Senate Bill 5 & Issue 2 from its inception, and opponent of minority populations.
This is what they believe. This is who they are. This is a statement about their core values.
Navigate to The Buckeye Institute website and read their “About Us” description. In it, you’ll find this: “We love our state and want to leave a better Ohio for our children and grandchildren. We still believe in the power of ordinary citizens to come together to make positive change in our communities.“
Connect the dots, readers. You’ve seen how they think positive change will occur.
Finally, in case you were still unsure about their motives, they included a clear summary in their Blueprint for Protecting Freedom:
The 1851 Center will also commit itself using the Ohio Constitution to provide a safe harbor from leftward-moving federal courts. With the Buckeye Institute, and the contributions of Ohio citizens, the 1851 Center will spur the pendulum to swing away from government intrusiveness, and back towards the ethically superior state of freedom.
Really? I think I’ll take a pass on their stated beliefs. I can’t believe anyone would ally themselves with the organization, let alone regularly use them as an expert source in mainstream media publications. These are fringe-element beliefs, my friends.
Is this who Ohioans want leading reform? Is this who YOU want leading reform?
Vote against The Buckeye Institute.
Vote NO on Issue 2.
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