Who really won in Ohio?
Like the Centennial Institute at CCU, The Franklin Center (www.franklincenter.org) is addressing the importance to the Republic of journalistic integrity.
Elections held early this month around the United States were discussed in a Nov. 10 webinar hosted by Franklin and Ballotpedia (www.ballotpedia.org).
Two ballot issues in Ohio produced the most talked-about results, at least in part on account of the appearance of voter Schizophrenia. By a margin of 61-39 percent, about 3.5 million Ohioans voting on Issue 2 “vetoed” Senate Bill 5 enacted last March. That law placed limits on public employee unions’ bargaining rights and stepped-up employees’ financial responsibility for their health insurance and retirement contributions. (Arguments pro and con can be seen here.) http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/Official_arguments_for_and_against_Ohio_Senate_Bill_5_Veto_Referendum,_Issue_2_%282011%29
The Issue 2 vote is seen as a big victory for organized labor and for the national leader who has advocated for union interests in Ohio and Wisconsin elections, Pres. Obama.
Not so fast, though. By an even larger margin, 66-34 percent, the same voters approved Issue 3, a constitutional amendment barring that state’s citizens from being required to purchase the health insurance that is the lynchpin of the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act, ObamaCare in shorthand. Since ObamaCare looms as a major issue in the 2012 presidential election, this is seen as a huge loss for Obama. Hence the appearance of voter Schizophrenia.
The union side on Issue 2 spent some $30 million, perhaps three times the opposition’s spending. For perspective, John Kasich’s campaign spent under $19 million last year getting him elected governor. Remaining to be seen is whether in fact this turns out to be the win for organized labor that is superficially apparent. Gov. Kasich had said repeatedly that the changes in law are mandatory for the state and political subdivisions to finance operations without severe layoffs.
Webinar guest speaker John Fund, until recently a respected political analyst and reporter for The Wall Street Journal and now writing a book, called the union win “a Pyrrhic Victory,” suggesting that unions will now pay the price of job losses.
Webinar participants remembered well the recent fight in Wisconsin over lawmaking to rein in public employee unions. Fund was asked the portent of the Ohio vote as to a possible recall effort against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. He mentioned distraction from Obama’s re-election effort and Walker’s unlimited authority to raise funds as major factors cutting against a recall.
Webinar presenters addressed elections of state executives and/or legislators in Kentucky, Virginia, Mississippi, Louisiana and New Jersey. Though Republicans “had a good night,” this wasn’t an election with either party achieving a victory indicating overwhelming advantage nationwide. Instead, Fund said, “People are not in a mood for radical change right now.” As to that, however, there is little question from polling and Ohio’s Issue 3 that ObamaCare either falls into the radical change voters don’t want, or its repeal is radical change they do support.