Shortly after the Republican Party’s 2010 victory, Governor-elect John Kasich’s first priority was attempting to getting Kevin DeWine replaced as Chairman of the Ohio Republican Party by Kasich confidante/Franklin GOP Chairman Doug Preisse.  Not surprisingly, the Ohio Republican Party Central Committee saw no reason to replace the man who had just led the GOP party out of the political wilderness and back into power, sweeping all the State races, winning back the Ohio House, and picking up five Congressional seats (Space, Wilson, Boccieri, Driehaus, and Kilroy). So Kasich’s GOP coup was thwarted, and a rivalry deepened.  Preisse got a consolation prize of quickly becoming one of the wealthiest lobbyists in Ohio.

Kasich had kept DeWine and the State party largely out of the loop when he picked then State Auditor Mary Taylor to be his running mate at the last-minute, sending DeWine scrambling to locate a candidate for the one non-judicial statewide office the GOP managed to hold onto after the 2006 massacre.

Kasich’s camp is deeply paranoid about Secretary of State Jon Husted, with whom supposedly DeWine is allied (in conservative circles, this has almost been accepted as a given fact, but nobody has ever been able to point to any evidence of it).  Kamp Kasich is utterly convinced that Husted might primary Kasich in 2014 even though the Ohio Republican Party doesn’t have serious primaries in incumbent races (seriously, when was the last one?  Taft didn’t even get a primary challenge).  Instead of focusing on “stop sucking” and doing something to improve his stellar 36% approval rating, naturally Kamp Kasich’s plan is instead to try to tear Husted down, as they still blame him for not doing more to make it harder on labor with Issue 2 by, you know, following the law instead.

Enter last week’s Mitt Romney fiasco.  Almost immediately after it began, Kamp Kasich went into overdrive to blame the Romney disaster on… ORP Chairman Kevin DeWine with a nonsense conspiracy theory that somehow this was some DeWine plot to embarrass Kasich:

Two sources with ties to Governor Kasich suggested that the Romney appearance was designed to humiliate Ohio’s governor.

Specifically, they suggested, Romney was advised not to take a side on this unpopular issue.

I can tell you that those [DeWine's] sentiments [about Issue 2] have been made clear to governor Romney. The opinion of those close to the [Ohio] chairman is that Romney should stay as far away from this thing as possible. That it is unpopular,” said the experienced operative.

“They are covering their ass,” says the operative with ties to Kasich, “The politicos in Ohio are pissed about what happened. It’s not a good showing for him… Romney lost a lot of support in Ohio. Donors too, we have donors that wrote $1 million checks to this campaign [on Issue 2] and are Romney supporters. I don’t think they are happy how this went down.”

This theory, that DeWine specifically brought Romney in on Issue 2 on his clout and then counseled him to keep his distance on the issue (while standing in Issue 2’s regional campaign HQ) got so much currency that at least one major GOP donor actually publicly called on DeWine to resign.  (The donor and his wife maxed out to John Kasich, or very close to it, with over $33,000 in total donations to his campaign).

Governor Kasich brings forth Senate Bill 5, botches it so badly it becomes one of the most politically toxic thing for the entire Ohio Republican brand – you’d think it was a Coingate indictment – and he’s already laying the groundwork to use its defeat to do what the election victories in 2010 prevented him from doing: dumping Kevin DeWine.  Think about the sheer insanity of this.  Kevin DeWine had nothing to do with SB 5, except the inglorious task of trying to rally the electoral Republican machine to do battle with the sleeping giant that is organized labor in Ohio, awoken by John Kasich.  And the first result of Issue 2’s defeat is that Governor John Kasich’s political power base in the state party might get… stronger as a result if DeWine is made the sacrificial lamb for its defeat?

When Quinnipiac’s polling showed a twenty-five point margin in favor of repeal, I wrote:

Expect Shannon Jones to be thrown under the Kasich bus as they continue to rewrite history and suggest that Jones went “rogue” and rolled out Senate Bill 5 prematurely (even though Kasich had enough notice about it to appear at the legislative unveiling of the bill and gave it his full endorsement.)  Grab the popcorn, folks.  It’s about to get really interesting over the next couple of weeks.

(In the same post, I predicted Romney would have to do something at his scheduled appearance at a Issue 2 function to keep his distance).

Enter yesterday’s National Review story, where Kamp Kasich is in full-spin mode:

First, the legislation is too complicated. Senate Bill 5 is a 302-page conservative wish list: a ban on public-employee strikes, a tightening of standards for union elections, and the elimination of automatic pay hikes, among other things. At first, Governor Kasich wanted to pass these reforms piecemeal — tuck a few into the state budget, add some more by separate legislation.

“We did not want to do the whole thing at once,” says William Batchelder (R.), speaker of the state house. “The governor and I agreed on that.”

Republicans control both houses of the legislature, but legislators have minds of their own. In February, state senator Shannon Jones (R.) introduced the catchall legislation, and state-senate Republicans, confident with their two-thirds majority, muscled it through the chamber. By March, the bill was passed, and the opposition was ready: Senate Bill 5 was a power grab — a pilfering of workers’ rights.

Tah-dah!  Except it’s entirely untrue.  First, the idea that Shannon Jones could just go rogue and introduce SB 5 like this is just laughable, especially since the launch was so coordinated that Governor Kasich specifically dropped by the legislative committee unveiling to give the bill his full endorsement. The  very next day he threatened that if the legislature didn’t pass it quickly enough, he’d insert it into his budget.

There’s another major defect in the “we wanted it in the budget originally theory.”   Guess which office was mostly responsible for inserting the “fair share fee” bans, union decertification provisions and PAC limitations into Senate Bill 5 when it moves to the House?  (Remember: those provisions, which even the Dispatch calls the biggest GOP overreach of the bill, did not exist until the House GOP unveiled their version of the bill, after the Senate narrowly passed its version by one twisted arm vote.)  Governor Kasich’s office!  In fact, e-mails from his office obtained through public records shows that when pushed to put some of these provisions in the budget, it was Kasich’s decision to put them in SB 5 instead, according to the Toledo Blade:

In response to an email from state Rep. Kristina Roegner (R., Hudson) urging the addition of PAC contribution and fair-share fee language to the state budget, Mr. Kasich’s legislative liaison, Matt Carle, responded, “I don’t think you’ll have to wait for the budget to see these changes made to the state’s collective bargaining. We’ve proposed that they include them in S.B. 5. I’d also like to include them in the budget, but I’ll let you know how that conversation goes.’’

“That conversation’’ resulted in these amendments to Senate Bill 5, but not to the $55.8 billion, two-year budget that passed about two months later.

For several months the Columbus Dispatch has reported, unchallenged, the theory that Governor Kasich really wanted a piecemeal approach that incorporated most of these provisions in the budget, but Shannon Jones jumped the gun.  It’s hard to square that unsupported theory with these e-mails.  In fact, now Governor Kasich has also claimed that it was smart to keep this all in Senate Bill 5 and not the budget because it distracted people from criticizing his budget (I swear, he honestly thinks he’s Snidely Whiplash as Governor). Folks, we literally have John Kasich making two completely contradictory claims within a day of one another.

But back to that National Review article.  In it, Kamp Kasich again tries to lay blame for Issue 2’s defeat at the feet of… Jon Husted:

In August, the state Ballot Board finalized the ballot language (“Shall the law be approved?”), and Republicans again faltered. The board comprises two Democrats, two Republicans, and the secretary of state, Jon Husted (R.). One Republican member, Faber, argued that opponents of the bill should have to vote “Yes” on the referendum. “The other side marketed the referendum on the premise of repealing the bill,” Faber explains. “The question on the ballot should have been, ‘Shall Senate Bill 5 be repealed?’” What’s more, people tend to vote “No” on referenda when confused by its language, so this wording would have advantaged the Republican side. Over 80 percent of state referenda phrased in this manner fail, partly because of this bias.

In an attempt at evenhandedness, however, Husted proposed that the question require opponents to vote “No.” The past twelve referenda had followed this format, according to his office’s records.

But since we’ve been able to see campaign finance reports of Building a Better Ohio, we have learned that they have done a ton of polling on this issue (which they have never publicly revealed or claimed showed them with any hope of winning).  And the National Review shows ultimately why Issue 2 will fail:

According to a source familiar with the situation, the pro-reform forces commissioned a focus group led by Frank Luntz that found Kasich’s association with the bill was toxic.

How toxic?  Well, the RGA stopped paying for ads that featured Kasich.  Building a Better Ohio has avoided mentioning Kasich, for the most part, during the entire campaign.  Which makes their decision to release their latest ad a complete puzzler:

If I didn’t know any better, I’d swear Kasich wants Issue 2 to fail, or he’s just too arrogant to realize he’s lost his touch with the Ohio voting public.

Opposition to Issue 2 nearly doubled in the month the RGA was running these ads under its PAC called “Make Ohio Great,” which suddenly stopped running ads and instead donated directly to the Building a Better Ohio campaign.  Building a Better Ohio has received over $28,000 in in-kind contributions from Americans for Prosperity in the form of radio ads and GOTV telephone banking.  It did not report any in-kind donation from the RGA or “Make Ohio Great.”  However, this ad seems strangely similar to the kind of ads the RGA group had been airing and nothing like the ads Building a Better Ohio is airing.  It has all the appearance of being a leftover ad in the can that was filmed at the same time as the others, but now only being aired by the only pro-Issue 2 organization controlled by Kasich’s most loyal staffers.

This is the arrogance of Kasich in full display.  Even after Frank Lutz tells them that Kasich is single-handedly Issue 2’s biggest political liability, John Kasich thinks he can take off his tie, spew garbage about how after three months of rising unemployment followed by the second largest monthly loss of jobs in the nation, he’s got Ohio on track now, and the people of Ohio will suddenly flock to support Issue 2 at the last-minute.  Like we all forgot that he supported Issue 2.  What Kasich forgets is that he never asked Ohioans during that campaign a year ago to support his anti-union agenda.  He only revealed that immediately after he won.

John Kasich has nobody to blame but himself.  He asked for this fight.  He begged for it.  When conservatives like controversial firebrand Willie Cunningham in Cincinnati warned Kasich on his show that he was playing with fire, Kasich arrogantly dismissed and ridiculed the criticism.  He wanted this fight.

I’d say let’s finish it, but when the Republicans are already doing the post-mortem on Issue 2 a week before the election.  Well…vote anyways.  It’ll just piss Kasich off who will blame Husted for letting you vote at all.

Vote No on Issue 2!

Evangelize!
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  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/7MU6XCC3QXAPBJW4FFBE4NDRP4 James

    I’m hearing some scuttlebutt the NO vote may approach 70% (Personally, anything less than 60% would disappoint me).  But will Kasich ever listen?  Well, if 70% really happens he’ll have few defenders left and no one to blame but himself…Jim, Columbus 

  • Anonymous

    I’ve never enjoyed reading  National Review article as much this one.  Thanks for the update, but we can’t leave anything to chance.  Cuyahoga county early voting is down 33% from 2009.  We are going to need to ramp up GOTV as much as we can!

  • Annekarima

    So Modern, is the moral of the story that there is an Ohio version of the “Tom DeLay” by by lobbyists on it way?

  • http://twitter.com/meatstack Craig Clawson

    I hadn’t seen this latest Kasich-starring ad. Doesn’t make me want to brick my TV like the last one. 

  • Thinking Behind

    Chickens and Eggs –
    Republicans have a terrific voter turnout effort every election. 
    Democrats, not so much, lately.

    Gotta love a guy who operates a political party, as the governor of what was once a vibrant state, with the intellectual principle that is summed up, in his own words, “…I never think ahead…” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lb8lYMIGMCc&feature=player_embedded

  • http://www.plunderbund.com Eric

    Fixed…

  • http://www.plunderbund.com Eric

    I’ve made some corrections and cleaned this up a bit.  It’s a longstanding criticism of our readers and we’re thinking of ways to get better in this area.

    The main problem is two-fold.  First, all of us here have other full time gigs.  That Modern is able to keep up the quantity and quality of his writing has amazed me for years given this gig doesn’t really pay anything.  Secondly, we are trying to get information out quickly and we don’t have any kind of editorial staff.  We have had some volunteers and we are looking at ways to incorporate such help.  I hope to have that figured out soon.  You can imagine the difficulties and the trust needed to pull that off.

    Lastly, we are working hard to grow our readership and have the site earn revenue which WOULD support at least someone – possibly eventually many someones – working full time writing here.  We’ll keep at that and appreciate all your support.

  • Anonymous

    I refuse to get my hopes up until after all the votes are counted and certified. An early concession might be a rope-a-dope to drive down voting enthusiasm for Issue 2 critics.

  • Anonymous

    Now that the blame game season approaches, let’s hope the major players  remain distracted enough to not do any more damage to Ohio.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=579137007 Jim Knox

    The only thing that Jones has going for her is that her district is dark red. Most of the sheep in Mason, Springboro, and West Chester think she’s doing an outstanding  job. She is doing a bang up job, just like FEMA’s Brown during Katrina!!!

  • Anonymous

    I’m not hearing anything close to 70% which would be a > 40-point margin.

    Let’s keep it realistic.  Defeat is still possible, albeit improbable.  A narrow (<5 pt. victory) is probable.  A 10-15 spread is likely.  A 20-point is about the outskirts of the probable at this point.  We aren't going to see a 70% repeal vote.  Only largely uncontested, non controversial issues like a bond issue to give veterans a bonus for wartime service see that kind of numbers.

  • Anonymous

    I’m not hearing anything close to 70% which would be a > 40-point margin.

    Let’s keep it realistic.  Defeat is still possible, albeit improbable.  A narrow (<5 pt. victory) is probable.  A 10-15 spread is likely.  A 20-point is about the outskirts of the probable at this point.  We aren't going to see a 70% repeal vote.  Only largely uncontested, non controversial issues like a bond issue to give veterans a bonus for wartime service see that kind of numbers.

  • Anonymous

    I can confirm that thanks to Husted’s order and deal with Fitzgerald preventing absentee ballot requests to be sent to all registered voters, turnout in that county is down that much in the early vote.  But I’m not hearing much concern from the We Are Ohio folks about that number.  But it’s going to definitely have an impact on the result that will depress the anti-Issue 2 side.

  • Anastasjoy

    Well, at least the National Review uses the word “comprise” correctly. Now I will use it correctly: the contention of Team Kasich that somehow everyone but them is responsible for this debacle comprises the biggest pile of hooey I have ever seen.

  • Anastasjoy

    Oh also — Kasich won’t be primaried in 2012 — next year – because he’s not u[ for re-election. And he wont be primaried in 2014 because he won’t be on the ballot. He’ll be heading back to Fox “News” so fast he’ll be a blur. I only wish he would go now.

  • Anastasjoy

    2009 was the “most important election in Cuyahoga County history,” according to the Plainly Republican. That is a bit of an exaggeration; however, a LOT of urgency was ginned up about these first-ever county races. And also, people still got ballot applications in the mail. I’m not too worried either.

  • Anastasjoy

    Kasich won’t listen to anything. As you can tell, he’s already eager to blame everyone else. He’ll convince himself that the provisions of SB 5 are still popular somehow. He doesn’t live in the real world.

  • Anastasjoy

    Also, is that comparison the number early voting so far with the total number early voting last year? Because, as we know, the heaviest early voting time previously was the three days before the election. Those won’t be available this year so there may be a big uptick at the polls. Pray for nice weather!

  • Anonymous

    short answer: no. There’s nothing in the Constitution that prevents it. And the 90 days to bring a referendum on provisions in the budget has passed.

  • Anonymous

    It does make me want to brick that ugly ceramic pumpkin thing on his kitchen table.

  • Anonymous

    Pardon me if I don’t cry any tears over Jon Husted being used as a whipping boy.  This piece of work was investigated for claiming to live in Kettering while his wife and kids were living in and attending school in Upper Arlington.  He is actually one of the few people in Ohio investigated for VOTER FRAUD.  And now he’s in charge of – elections.  He still managed to find a way to STOP early voting, just days before the election.  Kasich should be down on his knees kissing Husted’s hem for so confusing voters about early voting that they may just not vote at all!  I was told that even going to the local BOE and sliding your filled out absentee ballot under the door (after 6 pm on Friday) will get it disqualified.

  • Anonymous

    Actually, that’s not exactly true. The “break the backs” remark was a one-time remark directed at teachers unions made in late 2009. It wasn’t much reported in the media, other than blogs (the real media), and I cant find evidence he made any further such remarks. Also as far as I can tell there is no video or audio of this appearance so to much of the media, that gives them license to pretend it never happened.

  • Sluggo

    Kpowersopba

    I have to really disagree with you here.  The only mention of “breaking the backs” of unions in schools was in 2009 in Ashtabula.   The only other mention of collective bargaining that Kasich made was in a Dispatch article just before the election on Sept 26 where he was asked about the quote..the Dispatch reported
    http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/insight/2010/09/26/division.html

    During a speech before Ashtabula County Republicans in March 2009, Kasich talked
    about the need to “break the back of organized labor in the schools,” according to the Ashtabula
    Star Beacon. He did not back away from that quote last week, saying as he pushes ideas to change
    schools he has often clashed with teachers unions, who have “smeared my record and distorted it.”

       Kasich, who is backed by business groups, also opposes paying prevailing wages
    on state-funded construction projects. And as part of a sweeping review of state laws and
    regulations, he wants to reexamine the 1983 law that gave public employees in Ohio the right to
    collective bargaining, arbitration and strike (except for safety forces).

       “I’ve never been for prevailing wage because it drives up the cost,” said
    Kasich, who hastened to add he doesn’t oppose unions.

    That was it from Kasich – March 2009 and Sept 26 2010.  I want you to do some searching and find any references to collective bargaining from the Kasich campaign during the election campaign.  I’ll save you some time – there aren’t any.  I did my best to try to find them because I am a teachers union president and I was trying to show my members that what OEA was putting out wasn’t bullshit propaganda.

    If a teacher listened to OEA in 2010 you didn’t vote for Kasich.  If that teacher thought they were just trashing Republicans again, they and 40% of their peers ignored what they were told and pushed the button for Kasich.

    They couldn’t help themselves after the election, though.  Instead of talking about jobs, they started talking collective bargaining.  Shannon Jones announced her intent on Dec 21 with a big fat lump of coal for employee unions on Dec 21 http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2010/12/21/collective-bargaining-is-target-of-next-ohio-senate.html

    It’s hard to believe that Kasich who was recently quoted as saying “I never think ahead” had any master plan beyond his well-documented arrogance.  There is no way they were caught by surprise when Sen. Jones springs her intent in December.  Kasich himself went to the sponsor testimony for SB5 when Sen. Jones introduced it.

    Watching Kasich vs DeWine vs Husted is like watching scorpions fight in a bottle.

  • Sluggo

    Kpowersopba

    I have to really disagree with you here.  The only mention of “breaking the backs” of unions in schools was in 2009 in Ashtabula.   The only other mention of collective bargaining that Kasich made was in a Dispatch article just before the election on Sept 26 where he was asked about the quote..the Dispatch reported
    http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/insight/2010/09/26/division.html

    During a speech before Ashtabula County Republicans in March 2009, Kasich talked
    about the need to “break the back of organized labor in the schools,” according to the Ashtabula
    Star Beacon. He did not back away from that quote last week, saying as he pushes ideas to change
    schools he has often clashed with teachers unions, who have “smeared my record and distorted it.”

       Kasich, who is backed by business groups, also opposes paying prevailing wages
    on state-funded construction projects. And as part of a sweeping review of state laws and
    regulations, he wants to reexamine the 1983 law that gave public employees in Ohio the right to
    collective bargaining, arbitration and strike (except for safety forces).

       “I’ve never been for prevailing wage because it drives up the cost,” said
    Kasich, who hastened to add he doesn’t oppose unions.

    That was it from Kasich – March 2009 and Sept 26 2010.  I want you to do some searching and find any references to collective bargaining from the Kasich campaign during the election campaign.  I’ll save you some time – there aren’t any.  I did my best to try to find them because I am a teachers union president and I was trying to show my members that what OEA was putting out wasn’t bullshit propaganda.

    If a teacher listened to OEA in 2010 you didn’t vote for Kasich.  If that teacher thought they were just trashing Republicans again, they and 40% of their peers ignored what they were told and pushed the button for Kasich.

    They couldn’t help themselves after the election, though.  Instead of talking about jobs, they started talking collective bargaining.  Shannon Jones announced her intent on Dec 21 with a big fat lump of coal for employee unions on Dec 21 http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2010/12/21/collective-bargaining-is-target-of-next-ohio-senate.html

    It’s hard to believe that Kasich who was recently quoted as saying “I never think ahead” had any master plan beyond his well-documented arrogance.  There is no way they were caught by surprise when Sen. Jones springs her intent in December.  Kasich himself went to the sponsor testimony for SB5 when Sen. Jones introduced it.

    Watching Kasich vs DeWine vs Husted is like watching scorpions fight in a bottle.

  • Anonymous

    As long as there is a circular firing squads with live ammo, with it televised, it is cool with me.

  • luv2teach

    I agree. We need to come out in droves on November 8. And after November 8. He is not going to stop … it is obvious he is a lunatic!

  • Anonymous

    error corrected. we hope you’re right about 2014. though a primary would be fun to watch.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Carrie-Preston/100000765994211 Carrie Preston

    Like other predators let them eat their their own. That just keeps our job of ousting them down to a minimum.

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