On Sunday evening, the President of the Ohio Senate, Keith Faber, sent out an email that included a video that appeared to be an interview in which he talked about the Senate’s “successes” in 2013 and looked ahead to 2014. Here is the email I received:
This is the type of email I would ordinarily just delete, but the first sentence after the embedded video caught my eye and I decided I had to click through to watch the Youtube video. The sentence lists “…reforming the Medicaid system…” as a success for Faber from 2013.
Warning bells immediately went off in my head about what this video might contain. In truth, Faber was not a fan of the Medicaid expansion as it occurred in Ohio. You might remember that Kasich did an “end-run” around the legislature and reformed Medicaid by getting the Controlling Board to allocate the funding to expand Medicaid in Ohio. What did Faber and the Ohio Senate think about Kasich’s move? They didn’t like it. As reported at the time by Mediatrackers, a right-wing website:
“I don’t know that I would’ve necessarily been a fan of expanding Medicaid, but that’s not the question anymore,” Faber told reporters. ”Now the question is how do we do Medicaid reforms that are going to make the system more efficient, more effective, and provide coverage to more people for less money.”
Asked to explain why he would “go along with” the Obamacare Medicaid expansion after months of opposition from conservatives, Faber said, “I don’t know that we’re doing the Medicaid expansion — the governor is doing the Medicaid expansion.”
“I believe in legislative issues, but on this issue, the legislature’s given the governor authority a number of years ago,” Sen. Faber said. ”We tried to take that authority away in the budget; the governor used his line-item veto to keep his authority, and so I think he can do it.”
As Sen. Faber acknowledged yesterday, both houses of the legislature expressed their opposition to Medicaid expansion with budget language forbidding it.
With that in the email, I could only imagine what Faber was spinning in the video. So I clicked through and watched, like I’ll recommend that you do in a minute. But first, let me give you some things to look for.
First and foremost, the “interviewer” isn’t a newscaster of any sort, he is John McClelland, the Director of Communications and Public Affairs for Ohio Senate and former Communications Director for the Ohio Republican Party, and the entire conversation is staged with the softball questions obviously planned ahead of time.
As the conversation proceeds, one of the first topics is job creation. Faber doesn’t discuss Ohio’s woeful numbers in this area (see “Ohio Leads Nation In November Job Losses“), but blindly plows forward talking about the bills he helped pass…
At about the 2:40 mark, the conversation switches to education and this REALLY caught my attention. Faber states, “We did something pretty special — it’s the largest increase in K-12 funding in more than a decade.” Wait, what? Faber is bragging that the legislature’s increase in K-12 funding is something special? How about this for special?
- In the 2012-2013 budget, K-12 education was cut by over $3.1 billion over the biennium
- In the 2014-2015 budget, the one Faber is bragging about, the General Assembly added approximately $1.5 billion back, leaving the funding levels still $800 million per year less than pre-Kasich levels!
Talk about playing with numbers…”Sure, we enacted the largest cut to school funding that anyone has ever seen just two years ago, but that enormous cut allowed us to make the largest increase in a decade and still under-fund public schools!”
Faber quickly shifts from the discussion of money on to the Third Grade Reading Guarantee as his first example of holding schools accountable. I’ve written down some thoughts about that over the past year, too. Faber and I don’t agree so much, but his statements are pretty much what I expected. Until the very end of that topic when I got quite a surprise:
Faber: My wife always says one of the reasons we’re having problems with kids reading is because we stopped teaching phonics. Well, that may be something we have to look at…how you get there, let’s leave that to local educators and school boards.
Fake interviewer: And your wife is an educator by the way, correct?
Faber: (smiling) She is, she is.
Nice. That’s an excellent way of lending some credence to his wife’s comments about early childhood reading development. It’s good to know that Faber has an expert in his corner, right? Well, if being a Mathematics instructor at Wright State University and not a licensed K-12 teacher in Ohio makes you an expert in phonics, then Faber is set. Of course, he fails to mention that not-so-insignificant fact, doesn’t he?
After the education portion, Faber talks about Medicaid, but not about the actions Kasich took with the Controlling Board. Instead, Faber discusses a bill that has passed the House and the Senate, but which he says “…is sitting before the Governor for signature”. Since neither of them mentioned the specific details, I’ll provide them — the bill is Senate Bill 206,which was actually signed by Governor Kasich on December 19, eight days before this video was posted.
At the 6:00 mark of the video, they switch to looking ahead to 2014 and I was pretty much done watching, especially when Faber spends two-plus minutes talking about a the meaningless Balanced Budget Amendment Resolution that the General Assembly passed pushing for Congress to enact such a change. As if they don’t have enough to do in Ohio…
Here’s where this story takes a different turn.
I had no plans on writing anything about this video and getting it any exposure through our blog. Instead, I decided I would simply comment on the video’s Youtube page, allowing anyone who accessed the video there to see my comments about Medicaid, Faber’s “educator” wife, and K-12 funding. Since I was, according to the video counter, the 19th viewer of the video, I figured my comments would be viewed enough.
That is, until they were deleted and commenting on the video was subsequently disabled. TRUE STORY!!! Fortunately, with the new Google+, my comments were preserved and I’m sharing them with you now in the order in which I posted them (see the time stamp):
Oddly enough, I scanned through the other 50 videos that have been posted by “ohiosenategop” and found only one other video that had commenting disabled. I guess Faber and the Ohio GOP are still not interested in being called out on their propaganda materials.
Here’s the link to the Youtube page where the video is hosted. You’ll notice that my comments no longer appear on the page and commenting is disabled for all — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yp4ZI6w3gKQ
It is outrageous that Faber and the Senate Republicans want to continue their practice of shutting down those who seek to reveal the real facts behind the narrative that they want the public to believe.
So, if you choose to share the video, please be sure to share it via this post so that Ohioans can know the real story.