When Gov. Kasich sat down to sign the new budget Sunday night, the document’s thousands of pages near him towered much higher than the several volumes of our family library’s copy of War and Peace. Rising still higher behind him, however, was a phalanx of dark-suited enablers on the Kasich Team who always make themselves available on festive occasions. Pure performance art, folks.
It was the governor’s carpe diem moment as, with his workaday, jutting lower lip visage, he made the Great Budget of 2013 official. He then abruptly arose from his noble mission and retired though the beaming phalanx without answering any of the reporters’ questions. It wasn’t, as we shall see, a walk-off homer! (I watched the video clips that were shown in later news hours.)
But despite his self-confident edgy style that boastfully promised Ohioans a Utopian enclave in the 50 states, it’s doubtful that Team Kasich had anticipated the avalanche of national coverage that wanted to show the Republican misogynists at their worst in Buckeyeland over the ugly 11th hour anti-abortion amendment slipped into the budget by a shadowy figure by the light of the moon.
Kasich didn’t touch it in his line item vetoes, although he did erase some issues about spider monkeys.
Can’t imagine how Team Kasich screwed up with the servile all-male chorus. Why hadn’t it at least recruited Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor as a stage prop for the photo-op? If not her, there must have been a young legislative aide who could have made the difference for nothing more than a few minutes at minimum wage.
Kasich obviously had aimed for higher recognition as a can-do leader as he prepared his road show for his re-election campaign. Now his hunt-and-peck tax reform has been upstaged by the abortion issue – reform that seemed to be the work of lawmakers with a knack of spinning numbers with curling irons.
A thought: We have a couple of copies of Edwin O’Connor’s classic tale, The Last Hurrah (Among Nancy’s favorites) in which the fading Boston mayor Frank Skeffington is challenged by Kevin McCluskey, a newcomer who captured votes by appearing on TV with a picture of the pope and a rented dog. A golden retriever would have worked nicely for the guv to put some of his opponents in a better mood. No need for a picture of the pope. The anti-abortion amendment already settled that requirement.
The media was less than in universal agreement on his remedies for the state’s economic health. Although the Columbus Dispatch continued its role as a Kasich chaperone who would be disappointed if he were not re-elected by acclimation, there were naysayers in Cleveland and Toledo. The PD complained the budget offered larger savings with people of higher income, “in terms of real dollars and percent savings.” And Brent Larkin, the paper’s former editorial director and now a columnist, asserted that Oho’s economy “hadn’t improved as much as Kasich wants us to believe” and blamed the legislature for snookering the governor with the budget.
Meantime, the Toledo Blade referred to the budget’s abortion restrictions as a disgraceful gambit. It wrote: “Sneaking such action into the budget, and using the budget as a weapon against women is as cowardly as it is cruel.”
How brain-dead must the rustics in Columbus be to ignore the growing electoral power of women? For the lawmakers who move around budget numbers, they can’t even read the numbers of the last election. How are my metrics, guv?