First, I hope things do not turn out the way they seem to right now, i.e. with a loss in an important election. I do try to be an optimist!
In 4 weeks, Ohioans will vote to preserve or cancel a bill called Senate Bill 5, which limits the negotiating power of public-worker unions, so that costs for local governments can be brought down from the stratosphere. Our Republican governor and Republican legislature (23-10 in the Senate, 58-40 in the House) passed this bill, which includes unions for police and fire departments: one can debate whether that was strategically wise.
Second, it is to the credit of Governor John Kasich and the Republicans in the legislature that they passed this bill.
Here is my lament:
Almost immediately, the unions (all of them, not just public sector) organized a “grass-roots” campaign to repeal Senate Bill 5 in a referendum. A massive propaganda campaign was launched: misleading and even downright lying ads and claims sprouted everywhere. Door-to-door petitions were circulated: organizers were seen at parks, rock concerts, spring festivals, and churches. Even my own local Catholic Church was conned into announcing – from the pulpit! – that “Senate Bill 5 takes away all collective bargaining rights from the middle class,” a claim so outrageous that some people resigned from the parish immediately: the pastor published an apology in the bulletin a week later, saying he had misunderstood what the union-member parishioner had said (Ha!), but the damage was done.
Bumper stickers and yard signs popped up everywhere to “Repeal 5!” in November.
Former Vice-President Cheney admitted in an interview this year that one of the W. Bush administration’s biggest errors, if not its #1 biggest error, was to stay silent in the face of all the lying, distorted charges screamed by the Left, not to bother countering point by point the Big Lies proclaimed, and simply to shrug and assume that the game was rigged by the media, and so it was not worth their while to enter such a debate.
Ohio Republicans have copied that mistaken strategy. For months and months, as television and radio ads with Very Earnest Policemen and Firemen and Nurses almost cried on camera about the extremely unfair and even dangerous nature of Senate Bill 5, the Republicans responded with…silence. Only in the last weeks have some ads finally appeared to counter the months and months of falsehoods and warped propaganda.
Things became worse. In the summer, Republicans saw fit to vote for pay raises….for the legislative staff!!!
Staffers for both Republicans and Democrats in the Ohio Senate got pay raises this summer in the aftermath of state budget cuts and the passage of a law limiting public employee unions, state records show.
Payroll data reviewed by The Associated Press show 19 Senate caucus employees – not quite 20 percent of the staff – got pay hikes since July worth about $160,000 combined. Four employees – the chief of staff, deputy chief of staff, finance director, and clerk – saw bumps of more than $8,000 a year each on salaries already around $100,000.
And so they handed the Democrat-Union coalition an ace. It goes without saying that the Democrat minority in the legislature was quite happy to see this! Now it is quite possible that the paper-pushing staff deserved a pay raise: but if we are asking the fire departments and police, whose jobs carry the daily risk of death, to pay more for their retirement and hospitalization, this pay-raise – during such a political campaign – was worse than unwise, it was just downright moronic!
It would have been better for the Republican-controlled legislature to vote themselves and their staff a 10% pay cut as proof of the seriousness of Ohio’s budgetary problems.
No, why would they do that???
And so, it is possible that Senate Bill 5 may still be preserved despite all these stupidities. But right now, I am expecting the worst.
If the worst happens, let us hope that the defeat will be a huge warning to the national Republicans that they absolutely must respond – point by point – to the lies proclaimed by The Left. They absolutely must go on the offensive with positive reasons why a Conservative solution is the right one: e.g. has anyone yet seen or heard an ad against BIG BRObama’s “Jobs” Bill with the simple counter-argument that if nearly $1,000,000,000,000 has not brought down unemployment at all, but has only darkened our economic future with more debt, how on earth will adding another $500,000,000,000 (and yes, let’s use those zeroes as part of our technique to open people’s eyes) suddenly solve anything?
Plus, like Caesar’s wife, Republicans must remain above reproach: weak candidates or incumbents touched by scandal need to be told good-bye. Anything similar to the Ohio pay-raise stupidity during an austerity campaign needs to be avoided like the plague.
And if Senate Bill 5 is defeated, expect the result to be “nationalized” by the Dems and the MSM!