Ohio House Speaker Bill Batchelder showed up at the annual Medina County Republican  ice cream social last week – and  let me be the first to say there is nothing untoward about a political leader casually spending  Sunday afternoon schmoozing with his Republican friends and contributors.

But according to the Medina Gazette,  his hometown paper, he didn’t let the opportunity pass without damning President Obama on count after count, hitting more of his constituents’ sweet spots than a triple dip chocolate sundae.  (The paper reported  60 of the party’s disciples were there to greet him,which seems like a spare number in a county teeming with  GOP worshippers.)
BatchHatBatchelder, a man of considerable wealth who has been  tip-toeing on expanding Medicaid for the needy, focused particularly on Obamacare to his crowd, a word that serves as the Republicans’ open sesame to everything from the Great Depression to swine flu.
The Gazette said  Batchelder asserted  that the Big O was responsible for massive  cutbacks  at Cleveland Clinic.  “I’ve been amazed at what happens up in Cleveland,”  he said. “One of the very best medical centers in the world,  the Cleveland Clinic is laying off 3,000 employes because of the impact of Obamacare on that hospital.”
Batchelder may have been prompted by something reported on Fox News, whose host Greta Van Susteren, later retracted the story by saying it was possible that her network had taken something out of context.
The Clinic  quickly responded with its own  disclaimer to  Batchelder’s empty charge.    Eileen Sheil, the Clinic’s executive director  of Corporate Communications, applied the coup de gras to Bachelder’s spin by noting in the Atlantic: “We’ve been working on reducing costs for years…We felt health-care reform was absolutely necessary.”
Batchelder is term-limited and said he might return to his 182-acre farm in Medina County.
We can hope.