We in Ohio were lectured for months by Governor Kasich and media that Kasich’s union busting law was not about unions. It was about health insurance. It was about merit pay. It was about budgets. It was about balancing the state budget. Very few in Ohio believed that, because it was obviously not true.
The Republican base in Ohio are now going to push a constitutional amendment that will destroy both public sector and private sector unions. That’s what opponents of Governor Kasich like me told Ohio private sector union members. We said “they’ll go after you next”. What we didn’t know is that they would go after private sector unions members even if they failed in destroying public sector unions, but it really doesn’t matter. What we said they were planning is in fact what they’re now doing.
This wasn’t hard to predict. Governor Walker in Wisconsin told us all about it, way back in February:
Gov. Scott Walker claims that Ohio’s overwhelming rejection of anti-labor legislation modeled on the measures he developed and promoted in Wisconsin has no bearing on the debate about whether he should remain in office.
The governor is in full spin mode.
By any measure, last Tuesday’s election results from Ohio represented a devastating rejection of the agenda Walker and his allies have been peddling since February. Offered an opportunity to endorse a Walker-style attack on collective bargaining rights for state, county and municipal workers and teachers, Ohioans voted “no” by 61-39 percent.
Of Ohio’s 88 counties — with big cities, small towns and rural areas — 82 voted to defend public employees and their unions. More Ohioans took a pro-union position in 2011 than voted for the governor who promoted the anti-labor legislation, John Kasich, in 2010.
Faced with the facts, Walker’s political team claimed that comparisons of Wisconsin and Ohio were “ridiculous.” Funny, that’s not what Wisconsin’s governor was saying back in February, when he refused to negotiate with unions representing state employees, and when he and his aides tried to lock hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites out of the state Capitol.
“I talk to Kasich every day — John’s gotta stand firm in Ohio,” Walker told the caller he thought was David Koch. Walker said that Kasich was one of the new Republican governors who, like the Wisconsinite, “got elected to do something big.” “You’re the first domino,” the Koch caller said of Walker’s anti-labor push in Wisconsin.“Yes,” replied Walker. “This is our moment.”
Throughout the conversation, Walker portrayed himself as the quarterback of a national push to cut pay and benefits for teachers and other public workers, and to crush unions. And he suggested that Kasich was on his team, carrying out the same mission in Ohio that Walker has undertaken in Wisconsin. “Little did I know how big it would be nationally,” Walker chirped. “This is our time to change the course of history.”
People don’t change the course of history by assessing public workers 15% more in health care costs. People don’t change the course of history by balancing a state budget. Governor Walker isn’t telling the truth about his objectives or his plans, just like Governor Kasich wasn’t telling the truth about his objectives or his plans. That’s now become painfully obvious in Ohio, because conservatives are moving ahead to destroy both public and private sector unions.
The campaign to recall Walker kicked off. It will be harder in Wisconsin than it was in Ohio, because in Ohio John Kasich is so disliked and his campaign staff were so inept and incredibly arrogant that we thought at times they were on our side.
We also got some last minute help from the entire GOP 2012 Presidential field, who parachuted in to tell everyone in Ohio that Kasich had lied to us all for nearly a year, and all the GOP superstars were 110% on board with the union busting campaign Kasich had been vehemently denying he was conducting. That must have been awkward for the former Fox News personality. Wisconsin, invite Mitt Romney to visit with Walker volunteers the week before the vote, and then sit back and watch as the entire GOP Presidential field endorses the anti-worker agenda Walker will have just spent six months denying. It’s magical.
We’ll be watching in Ohio, and we’re pulling for you.