Kasich’s Collective Bargaining Fumble

November 8th, 2011 at 5:44 pm | 57 Comments |

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In just a few hours, pilule the polls in Ohio will close and we will begin to discover whether John Kasich’s signature initiative–Senate Bill 5, sick which ends collective bargaining rights for public sector unions–has survived the consistent attacks on it by the Ohio Democratic Party.

Specifically, and the electorate will have a chance to vote on Issue 2 on the Ohio ballot. A vote for the issue will keep Senate Bill 5 in place and vindicate Kasich. A vote against it will repeal SB 5 and repudiate him.

Most observers aren’t optimistic that Issue 2 will pass (Jim Geraghty calls the outlook “grim”), and given the polls, that’s probably wise. Progressives will probably claim this proves that Kasich’s leadership mandate is nonexistent and that the idea was foolhardy politics and bad policy to begin with.

They’re wrong on both counts.

When Kasich came into office, he was riding a wave of anti-public sector resentment. According to a poll done that July by the Buckeye Institute, 85 percent of Ohioans supported making the Buckeye State a right-to-work state and 43 percent preferred cutting public sector employee compensation over 36 percent for cutting spending and 16 percent for raising taxes. It was this mass resentment that gave Kasich the edge he needed to eke out his 2 point victory over Ted Strickland.

Lurking in these statistics is the key to understanding why Issue 2 is flagging in the polls. Kasich could have gone the more “radical” way and made Ohio a right-to-work state and had 85 percent of the electorate behind him, or he could have gone the more moderate way of just cutting public employee benefits and still had a plurality of support. The former measure he could have tied to job growth and attracting employers. The latter he could have justified on the grounds of public sector spending.

Instead, Kasich tried to turn the comparatively moderate course into a bold one by cutting benefits and removing the right of public sector workers to bargain them back up. So far, so good, but how did he justify it? By talking about job growth and attracting employers. In other words, Kasich took what was basically a fiscal measure needed to trim Ohio’s budget and tried to clumsily tie it to job growth, which was an unrelated issue.

This played right into the hands of unions, who easily seized on the idea that even if SB 5 would create jobs, they wouldn’t be jobs worth having because the employees, no matter who they were, couldn’t negotiate their way up from getting dog biscuits for a salary. Kasich tried to counter a la Scott Walker. This too fell flat.

Why? Because unlike Scott Walker, Kasich couldn’t counter that it was only useless public sector bureaucrats who’d feel the sting of his law – police and firemen were also targeted, and no one is going to agree that either group is useless.

As a result, rather than the Democrats being blamed for using a comparatively small subset of workers to claim victimhood for all workers everywhere, Kasich ended up being tarred for claiming he was only attacking a small subset of workers, when really his agenda could hurt everyone by taking cops off the streets or letting their houses burn down. This combined with Kasich’s hard-hitting, take-no-prisoners style made for a singularly unattractive picture.

In short, if Issue 2 fails today, it will not be Kasich’s fault for proposing bad policy. Nor will it be a repudiation of the national GOP, as Issue 3, which attacks Obamacare, looks likely to pass. The only way to explain SB 5’s failure is to state plain and simply that Ohio Republicans chose the wrong arguments to defend the right policy.

Recent Posts by Mytheos Holt



57 Comments so far ↓

  • medinnus

    Or it could be that the argument itself is flawed, and that the voters repudiate him.

    Just once I’d like to see the GOP say “Y’know, maybe its not as simple as making excuses – maybe we lost because we’re wrong on this issue…”

    • Steve D

      Refresh my memory. The last time Democrats did this was…. (crickets)

      • medinnus

        Being a conservative and a centrist, I don’t really give two coughs (g-rated site, you know) about what the idiot Liberals do.

        I would like to think MY side is smarter and more thoughtful.

        That the Democrats are just as blind and stupid (if not moreso) excuses the GOP how?

    • Fart Carbuncle

      The union thugs won.

      The public treasury in Ohio will now be raped at will, so public employee salaries, perks and pensions will be the norm until communities go bankrupt and the state looks like California in a few years.

      • medinnus

        Give it a rest. And while you’re at it, change your handle to Hindenburg.

        A Nazi gasbag, that is…

        • Fart Carbuncle

          Love it. Now I’m a Nazi troll. What’s next…calling me a sexual predator?

        • PracticalGirl

          What’s next…calling me a sexual predator?

          Maybe not a predator, but definitely perverted.

          After all, you are the poster who said, in response to the women coming forward (in the open, not asking for money) in the Cain sex scandal”

          This makes me want to vote for him even more.

          You outed yourself. Or was that a different Fart of the same stink?

        • medinnus

          You are a waste of oxygen, utterly devoid of any worthwhile observation. Your existence on this forum would be labelled “comic relief from the Village Idiot”, except you actually believe the diarhea that pours forth from your mouth.

    • medinnus

      UPDATE:

      Kasich’s comment on the loss: “Part of leading is listening to and hearing what people have to say to you”, and that the people of his state “had spoken”.

      In short, I got my wish… *grins*

  • cporet

    Kasich couldn’t counter that it was only useless public sector bureaucrats who’d feel the sting of his law – police and firemen were also targeted, and no one is going to agree that either group is useless.

    According to Republican dogma they are only useless if they are members of a union.

    • Fart Carbuncle

      Completely wrong.

      Public safety unions (police/fire) have been raping communities all across the land for years, harvesting fat salaries, perks and pensions from the public treasuries at will.

      Now that the union thugs won on the issue in Ohio, I suspect the remaining taxpayers in the Rust Belt state will flee.

      • ottovbvs

        Yeah Fart, it looks like over 60%, a landslide, voted for the thugs. Which suggests their perception of who are the thugs is a little different from yours. What a surprise. What is this love affair you have with sexual predators and hoods?

        • Fart Carbuncle

          Got it.

          I’m a Nazi sexual predator because I’m trolling FF with my anti-Democrat posts.

          No hiding now. LOL

          Am I the only one who notices the ‘libruls’ here can post all the drive-bys they want but attack every conservative with glee?

          Why do I always come back and get punished? :D

        • PracticalGirl

          Because you are a third rate gnat with an understanding of US politics and culture that’s as limited as your vocabulary?

          Just a guess.

        • medinnus

          Only the stupid pseudo-Conservatives get attacked.

          As to why you keep coming back? Pure Trollishness.

  • Oldskool

    Whenever voters in other states undo the GOP’s war-on-voting, how will that particular overrreach be explained away? It’s hard to blame all of their stupidity on unpopular personalities.

    • Graychin

      I’m worried about the War on Voting. How can voters remove voting obstacles when only favored groups are allowed to vote?

      • Oldskool

        The GOP is marginalizing itself again, as if they’ve never seen a wave election before. And their aging, single-race demographic will create an automatic fix to boot.

        • willard landreth

          Over at Democratic strategist, Ruy Teixeiria ‘discussed the new demographic in his book the Emerging Democratic Majority. I find what the rethugs are doing with voting reprehensible, but when you’re out of ideas – the best they can do is cheat more and harder. The more the old wasps refuse to understand the new melting pot that America is, the further into decline and whining and religious shelter they’ll fall.

          Remind me to ask Frum what happened to the “Party of Ideas”.

  • Graychin

    “Right to Work” would have been an easier fix to make stick? News flash -RTW doesn’t make unions go away. Employees join them to protect themselves from the likes of John Kasich.

    Kasich’s lies about crushing unions to create jobs is a tough sell – even if it is Republican dogma.

    The R’s made great gains in 2010. It’s going to give most of them back because of overreaching. Kasich will be recalled. The OH senate will flip to the Democrats. Congress has its lowest approval ratings since ratings began, and the ones who voted to end Medicare will be punished for it.

    The spinning has begun, I see.

    • Ogemaniac

      We should immediately adopt a “Right to Invest” law to match the Right to Work laws. How would it work? It would force corporations to only lobby using money that was especially set aside from the dividends of willing shareholders who affirmatively stated that they wished their money to be used for this purpose.

      Who cares if there would be a free-rider problem. Certainly not Republicans…

  • ottovbvs

    “The only way to explain SB 5’s failure is to state plain and simply that Ohio Republicans chose the wrong arguments to defend the right policy.”

    So let me see if I have this right. Kasich with a compliant Republican controlled legislature rams through in the face of massive opposition a radical law to remove the collective bargaining rights of unions. Now it looks like the electors are going over turn this by a massive majority and Kasich’s approval is in the mid 30′s. The explanation for this according to Holt (relying on opinion polls which aren’t worth diddly squat) is that Kasich wasn’t radical enough. Yeah right. These Republican idealogues capacity to delude themselves defies belief but go right ahead guys. The other great news about this is that it’s done considerable damage to the Republicans who were elected on a small turnout in 2010 in the run up to the 2012 election when the turnout will be massive.

    • Graychin

      Kasich is a horrible example of what can happen when someone starts to believe his own BS.

      It’s called hubris.

  • TerryF98

    Could not happen to a more deserving Governor! Go back to being a Faux News personality it’s all you are fit for.

  • TJ Parker

    Why are RepubliKids all apologists these days? Learn to question your assumptions, not merely jerk your knee with adequate prose. Knee-jerks are so common and Messrs. Koch and Koch aren’t gonna support you all.

  • valkayec

    Well, Mythos, it appears your side lost. People really do care about the rights of labor to collectively bargain for wages and benefits. Maybe your side of the aisle should admit that ordinary, middle income laborers matter.

    • Houndentenor

      It’s not that we care about unions. I know I don’t. But we care about our neighbors and friends who are cops, firemen, teachers, etc. Those are important jobs and I don’t see how screwing them out of benefits they negotiated for in good faith is an honorable way to treat people who do difficult, often dangerous, jobs that benefit all of us.

      • willard landreth

        Hound
        you should care about unions. They’re the only protections that workers get. There are lots of *important* jobs besides the ones you state. I maintain, that had ENRON had a union, all that fake money would never have happened and the workers would have a job, or the business would have folded w/o causing the tremendous heartache and BS for the consummers states aand the poor employees who reinvested into the scam.. I think it would be very easy for others here to develop a line of comopanies etc that aren’t union who are screwing their employees –Wal Mart anyone?

        • Houndentenor

          Perhaps I was unclear. I belong to a union. It sucks. I pay annual dues plus 2% of what I make doing union jobs. The only thing worse than belonging to this sucky union would be not having the union.

          I’d rather be treated respectfully by my employer but experience (and doing both union and nonunion gigs, which I am allowed to do before someone pounces) has taught me that most (not all, btw) non-union music producers will pull all kinds of crap (like trying to get out of paying the negotiated fee or even bouncing checks). It sucks.

          I don’t like unions. I don’t like the leadership of most unions, especially mine. A lot of the criticisms of the abuses of unions are actually true. But workers are screwed without them. The workers who are not currently screwed without them are reaping the benefits of decades of work by organized labor to make certain practices illegal. When the unions are gone most people will be far worse off.

          It’s not ideal, but it’s the best we are going to get. So I don’t claim to be pro-union. I’m pro worker and most of the time workers without a union get screwed. I guess that makes me pro-union by default. That’s fair enough. I just wanted to be clear about what I think about all of this. My complaint with Kasich and others is not that he is busting the unions. It’s that he’s busting the people who do essential work.

        • wileedog

          As the spouse of a teacher who feels EXACTLY the way you do, +1.

  • TerryF98

    Well Kaich lost big time, The Mississippi life begins at conception ballot measure failed 60 against and the Main ballot measure to dump the GOP plan to exclude same day voter registration passed.

    So all three Right wing attempts to do harm to the political process, stomp on unions and end things like fertility clinics and contraception failed miserably.

    A great night for common sense.

  • jquintana

    Now it’s time for a national voter referendum on whether the other 49 states should bail out Ohio when it goes broke.

    • balconesfault

      Over the last few years, the Federal Government has been bailing out all the states.

      Even the GOP’s beloved Texas.

  • heap

    >The only way to explain SB 5’s failure is to state plain and simply that Ohio Republicans chose the wrong arguments to defend the right policy.

    Spiting liberals (or anything insufficiently conservative) isn’t policy. It’s politics. Politics is a win/lose situation, not an argument. SB5 lost.

    The rest seems like a lot of verbal dancing to avoid acknowledging the above.

  • mlindroo

    Holt wrote:
    > unlike Scott Walker, Kasich couldn’t counter that it was only
    > useless public sector bureaucrats who’d feel the sting of his
    >law – police and firemen were also targeted,

    Horrible statement, but sadly it’s a rather typical one. “Public sector” = “useless bureucrats” … except for [the military,] “police and firemen”!

    MARCU$

  • rbottoms

    GOP dipsh*t ideas soundly rejected nationwide.

    Swing voters are rising up to say “the crazy, it burns!!”

  • Ogemaniac

    Actually, Mr. Holt, the evidence that “bureaucrats” are overpaid is thin. However, cops and firefighters probably are overpaid with respect to their closest private-sector analogues. I wonder why?

    Politics.

    Btw, I know a lot of “bureaucrats”. I really hope they are as incompetent as you think, and they somehow forget to keep Chinese rat poison out of your pills or send you your SS check. A few just desserts would do you some good.

    • Houndentenor

      So you think we are overpaying the people who may one day be asked to run into a burning building to save your sorry ass? Is that what you’re saying?

  • PracticalGirl

    Issue 2, down in flames by 61% of the vote.

    “It’s time to pause. The people have spoken clearly. You don’t ignore the public.”
    Welcome to your wake up alarm, Gov Kasich. You are 5 minutes too late, but certainly didn’t miss the opportunity to surround yourself with teachers for the post-vote photo op.

    Issue 3, passed.

    Ohio can point to one of the highest percentages of residents insured- 89%. While some may say Obama is in trouble in Ohio, I don’t see Romney as having a clear path, either. After all, he affected insurance for all to protect the 7% of MA residents not covered, and it’s obvious that the majority in Ohio repudiate that, as well.

    I also don’t see a Rick Perry being somebody Ohio would love. He’s set in stone regulatory measures that allow Texas employers to skip the whole employer offered insurance, which is why his state’s residents enjoy one of the lowest coverage percentages in the US. In fact, I don’t see any GOPer candidate resonating with this base in 2012, at least not on their major platform showpiece of repealing all of Obamacare.

  • ottovbvs

    “Now it’s time for a national voter referendum on whether the other 49 states should bail out Ohio when it goes broke.”

    Whatever way you cut the mustard last night was a very big win for the Democrats on what are central planks in the Republican ideology. Which just goes to prove that when voters understand the issues clearly as they unquestionably did in OH, MS and ME and are energized they tend to come down on the side of reality (aka the Democrats). This leaves the likes of paul_bs, fart, jquintanta et al spluttering and mouthing inanities like the one above.

  • abc123

    Issue 2 failed because Kasich tried turning regular people into the enemy. He acts like a condescending jerk more often than he should and it’s biting him with his approval rating. I think he suffers from that same news bubble mentality that Frum mentioned about Cain.

    Don’t read into Issue 3 passing too much. There wasn’t a united front against it like there was against issue 2. We had people against obamacare saying to vote yes on issue 3, and people for obamacare saying vote yes on issue 3.

    What do these votes mean for next year? Only that people are not the simple red and blue categories of voting that pundits and politicians make them out to be.

    • ottovbvs

      “What do these votes mean for next year? Only that people are not the simple red and blue categories of voting that pundits and politicians make them out to be.”

      I would disagree because events like this tend to shape overall perceptions of reality. We now have polls out there telling us that around half the country believe Republicans are trying to sabotage the economy and 70% believe they are primarily interested in protecting the interests of the wealthy. Do events in OH tend to deny or reinforce these perceptions of the GOP as being pro wealthy and anti worker? Attitudes to brands (and the Republican party shares many similarities with popular brands) are shaped by a complex amalgam of emotional and physical reactions so one can’t be awfully definitive about this but overall I’d say this was a boost for the Dems election prospects in OH next year.

  • Rob_654

    Talk about Tea Party delusion. Why do people on the Far Right and Far Left – when they get hit with the reality that the majority of people really don’t support their beliefs – say that is not that we went to far – its that we didn’t go far enough or that we made the wrong argument?

    In other words saying that those morons in the middle are just too stupid to see our great plans and its just that we didn’t explain our greatness to them in the right way or obviously they would agree with us.

    Now that Kasich got spanked last night in a most public way – the next step will be to see if there might be a full blown recall attempt – or if not, if he survives re-election.

  • armstp

    “…has survived the consistent attacks on it by the Ohio Democratic Party”

    Actually, the attacks (although more like people standing up for their rights) are by working people across Ohio, including many First Responders, who are traditionally often Republican voters.

    This is a completely disaster for the GOP in Ohio and may make it much more difficult for them to win the State in the 2012 general election.

    “When Kasich came into office, he was riding a wave of anti-public sector resentment.”

    There is absolutely no proof to this statement that there was an anti-public sector wave. Kasich only rode a wave of anti-incumbent economic hardship. And not much of a wave as he barely beat Strickland. In fact, this rejection of Issue 2 shows the public pretty much supports the public sector.

  • valkayec

    I wonder if this rejection will have an impact in Wisconsin?

  • Frumplestiltskin

    Why? Because unlike Scott Walker, Kasich couldn’t counter that it was only useless public sector bureaucrats”

    So says a young punk who writes his opinions for a living. Holt is the very definition of useless.

  • icarusr

    “In other words, Kasich took what was basically a fiscal measure needed to trim Ohio’s budget and tried to clumsily tie it to job growth, which was an unrelated issue.”

    Sometimes, as others have said, it is really the content of the policy that stinks. I think that, as long as you believe that it’s just in the form, you will not be able to “reform” the conservative movement.

  • Okie Exile

    People may also be seeing some of the less desirable effects of the anti-union movement. It’s not so much that public employee compensation+benefits is generous (in many states, they only look at way when comparing non-educated workers to those in the private sector), but that private sector packages have continued to get worse. If you keep making the point “look at all the pensions and benefits they get!”, people are going to start asking “how about you make mine a little better instead?”
    Unions may have their downsides, particularly in the adversarial relationship that both sides have fostered in some industries, but getting rid of them doesn’t always equate to making things better for non-union workers.
    If you’re really concerned about “lazy workers”, then focus on the performance and incentives issues, and reforming work rules, rather than focusing on benefits and making what comes across look like a punitive measure.

  • TerryF98

    This is not just a fumble, it could be the state that looses the GOP the 2012 presidential election. There is little chance of Romney winning if he looses Ohio. When you look at the results of the latest poll, Romney is 9 points behind Obama.

    Kasich has handed Obama Ohio on a plate In 2008, Obama won Ohio 52-47 So the GOP are in deep do-do there at present. Thanks Gov (asshole)

    Public Policy Polling. (PDF) 11/4-6. Ohio likely voters. MoE ±3.1% (Oct. 2011):
    Barack Obama: 50
    Mitt Romney: 41

    Barack Obama: 50
    Herman Cain: 39

    Barack Obama: 51
    Newt Gingrich: 38

    Barack Obama: 51
    Michele Bachmann: 37

    Barack Obama: 53
    Rick Perry: 36

  • Fart Carbuncle

    The unions are happy now but when it’s time to pay the bills it will be cut time:

    Lop off police and fire crews because communities cant afford their bloated salaries and pensions.

    It’s back to square one again.

    • Candy83

      ^ Can you tell us, briefly, how you came to select your first name to use in posting here at FrumForum.com?

      • Traveler

        Maybe because he is an a**hole? I think he may well be Smarg reborn, still trying to link a subject to verb, but not making any more sense. At least we dont have to listen to Kenyan conspiracies.

  • Bebe99

    “Kasich couldn’t counter that it was only useless public sector bureaucrats who’d feel the sting of his law…”

    Political commentators should watch whom they are calling useless!

  • wileedog

    First this:

    “because the employees, no matter who they were, couldn’t negotiate their way up from getting dog biscuits for a salary”

    then this:

    “The only way to explain SB 5’s failure is to state plain and simply that Ohio Republicans chose the wrong arguments to defend the right policy.”

    Or, in other words, it is good policy to put employers in a situation where they can pay their workers in dog biscuits and there isn’t crap-all the workers can do about it (you know, like in Texas). Kasich just sold it wrong because he let on that even cops and firefighters would be stuck with the plight of the biscuit-eating rabble.

    Keep on looking out for that middle class GOP!

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