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Kasich, Obama on the hot seat



Published: Sun, November 6, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Bertram de Souza (Contact)


Let there be no doubt that if State Issue 2 (a referendum on Ohio’s new collective bargaining reform law) is approved by voters Tuesday, Republican Gov. John Kasich will take a national bow. He’ll be on Fox television network, where he once worked, before statewide reporters even have a chance to get a comment from him.

Likewise, if Issue 3, the derisively labeled “Anti-Obamacare constitutional amendment,” is rejected by Ohioans, President Obama’s re-election campaign will spin the result as an affirmation of the Affordable Care Act. Obama’s insiders will argue that the rejection is a major victory for the president, who will be challenged next year by Republicans bound to demonize “Obamacare.” Ohio will be a battleground state in 2012.

But what happens if Issue 2, commonly referred to as Senate Bill 5, goes down in flames, as statewide polls over the past several months have indicated? Kasich will bear full responsibility for the loss and his stock as a national political figure will plummet. After all, the Republican governor and the Republican controlled General Assembly pushed through the collective bargaining reform law, which strips more than 300,000 public employees in Ohio of many rights they have enjoyed for three decades, to make a statement. After the GOP swept the statewide election in November 2010, relegating Democrats to political insignificance in state government, Kasich and the legislative leadership unveiled an agenda that has pulled Ohio to the right.

Redefining Ohio

On every major issue, from the budget, to job-creation, to the rights of public employees, to the redrawing of congressional and legislative district boundaries, the governor and his allies have sought to redefine the state.

Senate Bill 5 is an attack on the labor unions, and that has grabbed the attention of the nation. While Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, was the first to take on the public employees, Ohio’s important role in next year’s presidential election has guaranteed Kasich a national platform — but only if the people of Ohio buy his argument that public workers are out of control and must be reined in.

Thus, while the governor dismisses any suggestion that Tuesday’s election is actually a referendum on his 11-month tenure, the reality is something completely different. Anyone who has followed his political career and his stint as a television talking head on Fox would know that Issue 2 is about him.

The same can be said of State Issue 3 and President Obama. The constitutional amendment initiated by the tea party would block the federal or state governments from imposing any system of mandated health-care insurance. In other words, it’s a preemptive strike against Obama’s signature legislative accomplishment.

Approval of the amendment on Tuesday will be a reality check for the president. Indeed, the message from the voters of Ohio will resonate next year, when this state looms large as a must-win for both sides.

Republicans will build their campaign on the rejection of Obamacare, and the Democrats will have to assess just how much damage has been done to their political fortunes.

Passage of Issue 3 could force the Obama campaign to re-evaluate its presence in Ohio, especially if Issue 3 is approved in predominantly Democratic counties.

Finally, the election will be a test of the power and influence of labor unions in this country.

Major investment

Labor organizations have invested heavily in the campaign against State Issue 2, pouring millions of dollars into the effort to overturn the collective bargaining law. In so doing, they have locked horns with the Republican governor and the Republican controlled General Assembly over the rights of public employees.

Last November’s general election lay bare the weakness of labor unions. Kasich’s victory over Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland, who was seeking a second four-year term, and the GOP’s sweep of the statewide offices was a clear indication of labor’s fragmentation. While union leaders were warning their members that a Republican takeover would not be a good thing, many in the rank-in-file either stayed home or voted for the GOP slate.

The political ramifications of Tuesday’s election are great, with Gov. Kasich, President Obama and, yes, the unions on the hot seat.


Comments

1Tony_A(13 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

Democrats and Republicans across the state don’t like or support Kasich since he doesn’t seek any of their advice or counsel when making policy. Both sides have no idea what’s going on.

The only allies Kasich has are in Washington, DC not Ohio. Kasich, along with his fellow Republican governors from Florida, Wisconsin and Indiana get their marching orders from Karl Rove. Whatever Rove says, they will all do, including Kasich.

To blame the unions for Strickland’s loss is ridiculous. Had all the registered Democrats gone out and voted, Ted Strickland will still be our governor. It was up to him to get out his own people and he didn’t.

Let’s not forget Mr. 80%, David Betras who was supposed to deliver all of these new voters and didn’t. He actually delivered fewer votes for Ted than Lisa Antonini did four years ago.

When Kasich loses his reelection bid three years from now it will be a relief for Democrats, Republicans and most of all, the people of Ohio.

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2theotherside(333 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

Organized labor won't make that mistake again. John Kasich will go down in history as being the best thing to happen to organized labor in the last 50 years. A legacy I'm sure he doesn't relish, but will be his nonetheless. And as far his term goes? The democrats will take back either the state house or the state senate or both in 2012 and John Kasich will be marginalized. And unable to cause anymore damage to the state until he is voted out of office in 2014. I can see the campaign signs now - "Anyone but Kasich".

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3author50(1121 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

I haven't met one democrat or one union member who voted for Kasich or sat on their hands during the last state wide election. Kasich barely won because the GOP did a wee bit better job at getting their vote out state wide. This year seems to favor the democrats at getting their vote out against Issue 2. Next year will be the real test of where this state and this country is heading politically in the form of what policies as a nation are we going to follow.

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4Mike(13 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

The Mahoning Vally hasn't fortotten that the unions are the reason for it's downfall, it has never been smart enough to see it.
The union membership is all but gone but the democratic leadership insists on following, lockstep, with what the union bosses say.
I would like to see what the ratio of union leaders to membership was and is now. I would bet there are just as many union execs now as when there really were unions.

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5AtownAugie(697 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

Dear Vindy Editorial Writer: Help me understand how when the Republicans used their voter-given majority you imply a negative -- even bullying -- action with your phrasing of "[Kasich] and the Republican controlled General Assembly pushed through the collective bargaining reform law" while when the Democrats used their voter-given majority you suggest sunshine and puppies by calling the ACA "Obama's signature legislative accomplishment." And yet you overlook what the general populace said about this "accomplishment" when they voiced *their* opinion by turning out so many Dems in the 2010 elections. Perhaps you write under the credo "My mind's made up, don't confuse me the facts?"

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6Photoman(1004 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

Big government = big business
Big unions = big business
Big business, big unions, big government.
It's all about big greed for dollars and control of we the sheeple..

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7theotherside(333 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

jessiedavid, thanks for the chuckle. Fact of the matter is Issue2/SB 5 is a no confidence referendum on John Kasich and his agenda. And when SB 5 goes down in flames, John Kasich will effectively be lame duck, unless of course he is able to convince the republicans in the house and senate to forget about ever getting re-elected because that is what will happen if they try this nonsense again. I suspect they know that. They will have to simply decide if losing their legislative seat is worth supporting John Kasich. And why in the world would they do that? I predict there will not be any movement on new legislation until after the 2012 election and even then, the democrats will have control of one or both houses of the state government and Kasich will be marginalized, thank God. It isn't about toughness by the way. It's about fairness. Something John Kasich has never understood because in the final analysis, John Kasich only cares about John Kasich.

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8AnotherAverageCitizen(1175 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

JD,

All you say is reign in unions. Why not reign in ALL workers. Lets cut everybody's wages in Ohio. Yea that will help the economy.

Control costs by All public workers paying more for bene's and retirement. But NO, you think it was OK for kasich to give large raises as a SNUB. Didn't you? That is Not saving money is it. Thats because you, kasich and so many others just want to screw the unions and workers.

Oh by the way I can't trust your words any more, I thought you stated you were not going to post on sb5 any more..
In fact you stated you were done posting all together. That didn't happen either. You should be a politician. Dio as I say and not as I do.

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9AnotherAverageCitizen(1175 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

""Regarding my not posting... I'm still on a hiatus from posting, but am back temporarily,
because I
can see my Independent thinking/voice remains desperately needed here""

Now thats funny, LOL contadicting yes, but still funny

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