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Ohio Republicans Cave

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It’s been interesting watching how Wisconsin and Ohio have dealt with their individual union-busting Tea Party legislatures and governors. Wisconsin got all the press. In fact, I was pretty disappointed with the protests in Ohio–thousands came out, but they seemed to make little difference. They didn’t receive the media attention of those in Madison. The state capitals of both states are in the same city as the major university, but Madison is far more lefty than Columbus and so the student support was more limited. It seemed that John Kasich was getting away scot-free with what Scott Walker was going to pay for.

But it hasn’t worked out this way. Both states passed their draconian anti-union legislation. Wisconsin activists fought about seeking to recall the relevant legislators. They won a partial victory in this month’s elections, but in the end, Wisconsin Republicans still control the state Senate and recent polls show Wisconsin voters not enthused about recalling Walker next year. I believe Democrats will retake the legislature in 2012, but Walker can do a lot of damage before then.

In Ohio however, labor and Democrats used a provision in the Ohio Constitution that allows voters to petition for a citizen vote on any piece of passed legislation. Given the outrage Kasich’s bill, SB 5, caused in the still strongly pro-union Ohio (especially in northern Ohio), its opponents easily gathered enough signatures to get it on the ballot. And recent polls show an almost certain rejection of the bill, including this Quinnipiac poll showing it at 54-36.

John Kasich, who basically refused to meet with union members and who pushed through a radical agenda, is now calling for union members to negotiate rather than overturn the whole law. Moreover, he’s asking public sector unions to “set aside political agendas and past offenses.”

Ha ha ha. I mean, we wouldn’t want this fight to be dominated by a political agenda or anything.

There will be no compromise. Either the Ohio Senate repeals the entire bill or it goes down to defeat. Either way, after all of this, it is John Kasich and the Ohio Republicans who are looking far weaker than their brethren in Wisconsin.

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