Chris Littleton got amazingly lucky this year.

For nearly a year, Littleton, the co-founder of the Ohio Liberty Council – a conglomeration of Tea Party groups in Ohio – had been trying, with limited success, to collect enough signatures to get his ‘anti-Obamacare’ constitutional amendment on the ballot in Ohio.

Then Kasich and Ohio’s Republicans pushed through Senate Bill 5, the bill that effectively bans collective bargaining for Ohio’s public workers. In response, 1.2 million Ohioans signed petitions for what would eventually become Issue 2 – the ballot measure to repeal Senate Bill 5.

Realizing they were suddenly in a crap load of trouble and worried that Kasich’s signature piece of legislation would likely be repealed, Ohio’s Republicans turned to Littleton and his Tea Party, throwing loads of cash and resources their way to help get their anti-health care amendment on the ballot hoping it might help turn out voters sympathetic to their union-busting, SB5/Issue 2 cause.

They eked by with enough signatures to get it on the ballot (It’s amazingly what tons of cash can accomplish) and the language now appears on the state ballot as Issue 3. With the help of the Republican money machine, Littleton’s Tea Partiers got their ballot initiative and despite the fact that it’s unconstitutional and the unintended consequences of the amendment could result in serious health and safety issues for Ohioans, PPP’s last poll it passing by 30 points. Unfortunately for Republicans, it doesn’t seem to have had much of an impact on Issue 2 – which continues to poll at 20+ point in favor of repeal.

As we reach the final weeks of campaigning, you’ll find some of the Pro-Issue 2 folks finally trying to tie the two issues together, hoping to improve their chances of closing the gap on Issue 2. For example, I got an email today from Americans for Prosperity urging me to “support Issues 2 AND 3 [by] making volunteer calls”. And you’ll find some local GOP groups tying the issues together as well.

But what you won’t find is any individual Republican candidate or office-holder out supporting Issue 3.

Everywhere you look you’ll find State Senators Jones and Faber, Governor Kasich and any number of other Republicans working directly with the pro-Issue 2 folks. They are out doing debates and press conferences and rallies about Issue 2. They are giving interviews and quotes and statements and writing emails about Issue 2.

But none of them – so far as I’ve seen – has given an official statement in support of Issue 3.

Instead, Tea Partiers like Chris Littleton, Maurice Thompson and Jack Painter seem to be the only people out there trying to sell Issue 3 to voters and the media.

Unfortunately, voters actually seem to be considering this amendment, probably because they haven’t heard the whole story. The papers have done at least the minimal amount research (in this case) and realized that Issue 3 is a disaster waiting to happen. As a result, every major Ohio newspaper has come out against Issue 3 including the traditionally conservative Dispatch and Plain Dealer, papers that endorsed Issue 2. It seems most of the editors had a chance to read the research Innovation Ohio put out about the amendment regarding its unintended consequences.

It also seems like a lot of Republicans did as well.

I scoured the internet looking for any Republican in Ohio who has explicitly endorsed Issue 3 and I can find exactly zero. Not one. I’m hoping someone will correct me here and point me to an example. NOTE: I’m planning to use their Issue 3 endorsement against them in the next election, so please be specific and post a link and their full quote if possible.

I did, however, find a lot of non-endorsements. For example the non-endorsement from State Rep Peter Beck kinda-sorta says he’s happy some sort of health care issue is on the ballot but he refuses to actually name the Issue or endorse it. “Regardless of outcome, I am happy that Ohio’s voters will finally be able to dictate the course of the health care debate.”

Other Ohio Republicans seem to be saying the same thing. See the Hayes non-endorsement or the non-endorsements of Maag, Sears and Adams.

Judging by their complete lack of support for the Tea Party healthcare initiative, it seems individual Republicans don’t really give two craps about Issue 3 except as a means to draw out pro-Issue 2 voters. And the fact that none of them will publicly support the measure seems to indicate that most likely understand the basic components of the amendment violate the US Constitution and the other problems with Issue 3 are going to cost the state immense amounts of time and money.

The only reason the Ohio Republican Party invested the money to get it on the ballot in the first place was to turn out support for Issue 2 – and the fact that no Republicans are willing to come out and publicly state their support for Issue 3 despite their very vocal support of Issue 2 seems to confirm this.

Littleton got amazingly lucky with the timing of his health care initiative. He got money and help from the Republican Party to get it on the ballot and, based on current polling, it may just end up passing. Unfortunately for Chris, he still hasn’t gotten any real respect from GOP leaders – or even from low-level, GOP lackeys. Considering the standard, boiler-plate response from Republicans about the bill, and the fact that none of them are supporting it publicly, it seems they all got the same memo.

It seems like the Republican Party knew they were helping to put a dangerous amendment on the ballot, the potential long-term problems with the bill, the problems that conservatives around the state must be dreading right now. It’s likely someone figured this out early and warned every Republican who might be running in the next two years to avoid expressing support for Issue 3.

These problems are not minor.

For example, if Issue 3 passes, Kasich would be unable to attempt many of the reforms on Ohio’s Worker Compensation system that he’s been promising. And conservatives would likely find any new anti-abortion laws to be in violation of Ohio’s constitution under the changes implemented in Issue 3. Reporting of new contagious diseases? Banned under Issue 3. New school immunizations? BANNED!

The Tea Party supporters of Issue 3 want you to believe it’s strictly about “obamacare” and the individual mandate. But the way this amendment is written, MANY more things would be impacted, and GOP politicians know that and are doing their best to avoid taking a stance on the amendment. It’s time for them to be called out on it.

Every reporter in the state – and every citizen with a camera, email address or telephone – should immediately begin asking every politician in Ohio to publicly take a stance on Issue 3. We need to get everyone on the record stating their opinion so when Issue 3 backfires, wreaking legal and financial turmoil on the state, we know who to blame.

 
  • This scares the crap out of me

  • I don’t know if it’s legal or not, but We Are Ohio might considering replacing some of the NO on Issue 2 ads with NO on Issue 3 ads the last week of the campaign.  I know this may be risky but if Issue 2 is going down big time (and the internals continue to show that), I’d say it’s worth a shot…Jim, Columbus   

  • Fotogirlcb2002

    If it’s a republican and a democrat thought of it ,wrote it, or presented it then……they are against it!!
    Every vote in the senate that I have seen so far — always  20 to 10. They say the dems never make a suggestion –well they do but the “R”s  ignore it and vote as a “collective” group. 
    Yet all you hear is  we want to be bipartisan….. well I would like to say  bi bi (bye bye ) to all of them.  We all need to stick together just once here in this state — the “D”s and “R”s that have had it now with the one sided lies— vote them all out as a team effort — maybe they will take notice we are serious about their “way” of doing things…….

    Vote NO  on issues  1,2 and 3 

  • Walbridge Rocks

    kasich and his scum buddies are like a rat trapped in a corner. In other words they will do ANYTHING to survive, and that is pretty damn scary!!!!!

  • Retired Mercer

    Let’s not get complacent. The numbers are encouraging,but only if we get the voters to the polls.
    Get there and then vote NO on Issues 1,2, and 3.

  • Thanks for comment, Chris.  I obviously disagree with you but you’ve always been polite and respectful and I appreciate you sharing your perspective.

    I’ll correct the post to remove Millions.  Paid signature collectors typically cost 1 to 2 million to get something like this on the ballot – and I know you were not any where near the 400k mark until the GOP stepped in.  I’ll take you on your word that this number is to high.
    Regarding the amendment itself, the main problem isn’t with the idea or even with the opposition to a mandate specifically – it’s with the way it’s written.

    I agree with you: opposition to a health insurance mandate seems to have broad appeal (despite the fact that this aspect of the amendment will likely result in lawsuits and ultimately be deemed unconstitutional).  

    So why not just focus on that?

    If you only said: “No Ohioan will be required to buy health insurance based on a federal mandate” you might have been able to find some support from Republicans or from the conservative editorial staff at Ohio’s major newspapers.

    A pure no-mandate amendment would likely have received the same support without the additional, overly broad language that will have serious unintended consequences on our state’s ability to properly manage our health care system and costs.

  • Chris, with 45,000 people dying each year because they can’t get access to health care, how can you try to keep the current system?  While the Affordable Care Act is not perfect, it is a whole lot better than allowing Health Care to go on the way it has been.  I dropped my Well Point stock, because they were cancelling people’s insurance after they had gotten sick.

    While I respect that you want us to have freedom, isn’t the first thing life?  American’s pay at least twice as much as other developed countries, and live shorter lives.

  • Anonymous

    I think the promotion of the amendment by John Kasich and other Republicans, and the cross promotion of their support by The Ohio Project, et al., has made this into a partisan issue, whether Littleton to believe it or not.  Kasich’s actions this year have driven a deeper wedge between the parties in Ohio, so the continued promotion of his support for the issue (granted it was prior to his election) is a recognition by The Ohio Project and the Ohio Liberty Council that this issue undoubtedly leans to Republican.

    “Ohio Candidate for Governor John Kasich Signs Petition to Protect Ohio Citizens From Federal Health Care Legislation” – http://www.ohiolibertycouncil.org/?p=2351

    “Look Who’s Signing” – https://www.theohioproject.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=49&Itemid=1733

    “John Kasich: Obamacare Must be Blocked” – http://blog.kasichforohio.com/?p=2920

    I don’t find any case where either the Ohio Project or Liberty Council distanced themselves from the partisanship in an effort to spell out Issue 3 as a bipartisan issue.  Just the opposite, in fact, as the Liberty Council site is hemorrhaging posts that combine their position on both of Ohio’s major issues, calling for Ohioans to “Vote Yes on Issues 2 and 3!”I see only Republican policy in the OLC posts.

    For instance: “Tomorrow, we’ll rally in Sharonville and get fired up for the final push for Yes on Issues 2 and 3.
    Dr. Eric Novack, chairman of the US Health Freedom Coalition and a key player in helping to write our Issue 3 amendment, will be a featured speaker. Governor John Kasich will make the case for Issue 2.
    Joining them on stage will be myself, Hamilton County Commissioner Greg Hartmann, Anderson Tea Party leader Sue Hardenbergh, Ohio Senate President Tom Niehaus, former Cincinnati City Councilman Jeff Berding and more!”

    And this one: “We have been on-the-ground working closely with tireless Ohio volunteer leaders in the past couple months and our objective remains the same,” commented Brendan Steinhauser, Director of Federal and State Campaigns for FreedomWorks. “We want to unite and mobilize a strong grassroots constituency that will preserve Governor Kasich’s bold SB5 reforms and protect Ohioans from the Obamacare individual mandate.”

    And this:
    “As a liberty loving Ohioan you only need to remember one word when voting on the statewide issues: YES”

    I see absolutely no effort to separate Issue 3 from the far-right Issue 2, and instead see only the opposite – an effort to inextricably link Issue 3 to the highly divisive and Republican-created Issue 2.  If Issue 3 was worthy of standing on its own merits, then I would expect to see it promoted that way, not as some sort of package deal.

  • Anonymous

    I think the promotion of the amendment by John Kasich and other Republicans, and the cross promotion of their support by The Ohio Project, et al., has made this into a partisan issue, whether Littleton to believe it or not. Kasich’s actions this year have driven a deeper wedge between the parties in Ohio, so the continued promotion of his support for the issue (granted it was prior to his election) is a recognition by The Ohio Project and the Ohio Liberty Council that this issue undoubtedly leans to Republican.

    “Ohio Candidate for Governor John Kasich Signs Petition to Protect Ohio Citizens From Federal Health Care Legislation” – http://www.ohiolibertycouncil.org/?p=2351

    “Look Who’s Signing” – https://www.theohioproject.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=49&Itemid=1733

    “John Kasich: Obamacare Must be Blocked” – http://blog.kasichforohio.com/?p=2920

    I don’t find any case where either the Ohio Project or Liberty Council distanced themselves from the partisanship in an effort to spell out Issue 3 as a bipartisan issue. Just the opposite, in fact, as the Liberty Council site is hemorrhaging posts that combine their position on both of Ohio’s major issues, calling for Ohioans to “Vote Yes on Issues 2 and 3!”I see only Republican policy in the OLC posts.

    For instance: “Tomorrow, we’ll rally in Sharonville and get fired up for the final push for Yes on Issues 2 and 3.
    Dr. Eric Novack, chairman of the US Health Freedom Coalition and a key player in helping to write our Issue 3 amendment, will be a featured speaker. Governor John Kasich will make the case for Issue 2.
    Joining them on stage will be myself, Hamilton County Commissioner Greg Hartmann, Anderson Tea Party leader Sue Hardenbergh, Ohio Senate President Tom Niehaus, former Cincinnati City Councilman Jeff Berding and more!”

    And this one: “We have been on-the-ground working closely with tireless Ohio volunteer leaders in the past couple months and our objective remains the same,” commented Brendan Steinhauser, Director of Federal and State Campaigns for FreedomWorks. “We want to unite and mobilize a strong grassroots constituency that will preserve Governor Kasich’s bold SB5 reforms and protect Ohioans from the Obamacare individual mandate.”

    And this:
    “As a liberty loving Ohioan you only need to remember one word when voting on the statewide issues: YES”

    I see absolutely no effort to separate Issue 3 from the far-right Issue 2, and instead see only the opposite – an effort to inextricably link Issue 3 to the highly divisive and Republican-created Issue 2. If Issue 3 was worthy of standing on its own merits, then I would expect to see it promoted that way, not as some sort of package deal.

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