Hey, gang, remember how all during the Issue 2 Speaker Batchelder, Senate President Niehaus, and Senate Commerce, Insurance and Labor Chairman Kevin Bacon kept saying that even if Issue 2 failed, they’d still likely revisit the issue and at least try to pass portions of SB 5 in a piecemeal fashion? Yeah, it’s amazing what a ’06 Ken Blackwell-like statewide butt-kicking can do to your legislative plans because both Batchelder and Niehaus have now publicly disavowed any intention of revisiting SB 5 at all. They concede that some of their members may introduce legislation that incorporates provisions of SB 5, and they can’t stop that from happening, but they as the legislative leadership have no intention to revisit SB 5 next year. They have gone out of their way to make sure that the media understand this and reports that they have no intention to revisit SB 5 any time in the foreseeable future. (So, stop asking them, Kevin O’Brien. Issue 2 was defeated by a broader mandate than any of them have ever gotten from the people of Ohio.)
Then comes the Tea Party crashing in and saying: “we want to give Ohioans the “freedom” from bearing the yolk of collective bargaining. Let them bargain with their employers on their own” (because that’s historically worked out swimmingly for the worker.)
Deceptive language aside, the amendment is no less radical than the 1958 right-to-work constitutional amendment that was soundly defeated and nearly wiped out the Republican Party in Ohio that year. The major difference is that this time, they’re targeting a Presidential election for this vote. However, with GOP legislative leaders publicly stating we don’t need this battle right now, the Tea Party groups are already back peddling and saying that they may not be able to get the signatures in time (by July) to get it on the 2012 ballot, but instead put it on the 2013 ballot instead (Issue 3 was originally intended to be on the 2010 ballot, but got bumped because the same group had a hard time getting the necessary signatures… and ultimately had to be baled out by a volunteer effort lead by the Ohio Republican Party.)
Before Tuesday’s historic vote on Issue 2, many in the media punditry in Ohio argued that Issue 2 would not have the same fate as the 1958 amendment because the workforce had fundamentally changed since 1958, with a substantial drop in union membership as a percentage of the overall workforce. However, as today’s Cleveland Plain Dealer notes:
The proposed amendment is similar to the right-to-work legislation that Republicans brought to the Ohio ballot in 1958, which was defeated by a 63 percent-to-37 percent margin.
This proposed constitutional amendment is more radical and would affect the collective bargaining rights of substantially more Ohioans than Issue 2 did. I am unconvinced that the Tea Party is going to be able to make a case that this amendment shouldn’t fail for many of the same reasons as Issue 2 and then some. After all, Issue 2 was born, in part, on the political calculation that public sector unions are more unpopular than private sector ones. That was another reason the Republicans believed that they weren’t risking a 1958-sized loss in taking up SB 5.
They were wrong, and it’s not debateable. Ohioans rejected Issue 2 at essentially the same margins as they rejected right-to-work in 1958. And that’s even after Republicans, like Governor Kasich, went to extraordinary lengths to deny that SB 5 was, essentially, “right-to-work” legislation for the public sector. However, let’s not forget that the first and second draft of SB 5 really was “right-to-work” legislation for state employees until public opposition grew so strong that the Senate Republicans watered it down in committee.
While it was John Kasich’s office that was the public office behind the insertion of the ban on “fair share” fee and other provisions designed to make it difficult for the unions’ to raise PAC money for political activities, it was the Koch Bros.-funding Ohio chapter of Americans for Prosperity that began the push for those very provisions.
We know that because we have the video of Americans for Prosperity (AFP) telling that in a video of a training session AFP put on … to get the Tea Party to support SB 5.
And we know all these newly elected Governors didn’t just all randomly and independently woke up one day and said, “let’s go after the unions.” Or did everyone forget Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s rather embarassing confessions when he was tricked into thinking he was talking with one of the Koch Brothers?
During this entire SB 5/Issue 2 fiasco, John Kasich was nothing more than just a willing puppet, not the mastermind behind it. He was the public face put forth to try to sell what his billionaire puppet masters wanted. You can’t ignore all the coincidences and the ties. The Tea Party movement in Ohio is not an Ohio-driven movement, at least, not any more. It gets its marching orders from Americans for Prosperity in Washington. The snouts are in the trough, Governor Kasich, and you keep pushing top give them more slop.
How else can you explain the bastardization of a movement that was borne, at least in part, out of public outrage of the bailout of Wall Street, but now is out there pushing the economic policies of the 1% like “Right-To-Work”?
Now you see, publicly, Kasich, Batchelder, and Niehaus all show the abject terror at the prospect of this amendment being on the ballot in 2012 after seeing what happened on Tuesday. The puppets are starting to realize that their political careers may be acceptable collateral damage to their puppetmasters, and they’re losing their minds about it.
Because only in fairy tales can a puppet stand on its own after cutting its strings. Pass the popcorn.
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