I can’t find the Republicans

I wrote about how Mike Huckabee from Fox News is parachuting into Ohio to push Kasich’s union-busting law, and there was a great point raised in the comments:

How hard up is Kasich that he is calling in a celeb from Fox? Do you see any Ohio GOP heavies campaigning for this? Like…um…the last 2 Republican governors, Taft or Voinovich?

Good question. Where are the Ohio Republicans? Voinovich and Taft are missing, but, more importantly, sitting Republican members of the Ohio Congressional gang seem to be AWOL in the war on workers.

Here’s Sherrod Brown:

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown told members of the Fraternal Order of Police union that a “pretty small group of radicals” is attacking the collective bargaining abilities of public employees in Ohio and other parts of the country. Brown, speaking Monday morning at the FOP’s annual statewide meeting at the Memorial Civic Center, said that his senatorial office cannot be involved in the fight against Ohio Senate Bill 5. But he offered his personal support to help repeal the law through a referendum issue expected to be on a statewide ballot in the November election.
“What astounds me is the hostility I see in this state” for public employees, including state workers, teachers, police and firefighters,” said Brown.

Brown is right, of course, his office can’t be directly involved, No On Two is a non-partisan state issue, but he has an opinion and he offered his personal support.

And here’s Marcy Kaptur:

“In Ohio, we’re painfully aware of Wall Street abuses,” Kaptur said. “Right now, we’re standing up to the anti-worker agenda of a governor who came from Wall Street via Lehman Brothers.” She said, “Ohioans should fight back against Wall Street greed by defeating State Issue 2, which would limit the rights of teachers, firefighters, and police officers to participate in discussions with employers about wages and benefits in their respective professions through normal collective bargaining.”

I called Congressman Latta’s office and I was told it’s a state issue and they don’t know where he is on it. I called Senator Portman’s office and I was told it’s a state issue and they don’t know where he is on it.

Well, sure it’s a state issue, and the We Are Ohio folks have been very careful to keep it non-partisan, but it’s a huge issue in Ohio, and that’s where Latta and Portman have to go to get elected. Ohio. The state. Where we have state issues.

I know they can’t campaign for Governor Kasich’s anti-union law, although they certainly campaigned for Governor Kasich, but one would think they’d have an opinion on the multi-state conservative effort to destroy unions.

This is Nate Silver on union voters and Republicans and Democrats:

More tangibly, Republican efforts to decrease the influence of unions — while potentially worthwhile to their electoral prospects in the long-term — could contribute to a backlash in the near-term, making union members even more likely to vote Democratic and even more likely to turn out. If, for instance, the share of union households voting for Democrats was not 60 percent but closer to 70 percent, Republicans would have difficulty winning presidential elections for a couple of cycles until the number of union voters diminished further.

Could the (apparent) hesitancy to weigh in on this by Ohio Republican congressional leaders have anything to do with the fact that a lot of union households vote GOP?

I don’t remember all this polite reluctance to weigh in on a non-partisan state issue in 2004, when GOP leaders put a state issue on my ballot to amend the state constitution, ban same-sex marriage, codify bigotry in Ohio and drag former President Bush over the finish line.

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37 replies
  1. 1
    Paul in KY says:

    Excellent comments by Sen. Brown. Sure am impressed by your commitment to your fellow Ohioans, Key.

    Don’t let up!

  2. 2
    kerFuFFler says:

    Thanks Kay for another great post! I always feel like I learn something from your submissions. You’re my favorite at Balloon-juice.

  3. 3
    cleek says:

    have you tried turning over some rocks? i can usually find a few crawling around there.

  4. 4
    amk says:

    And why would they do that ?

    that a lot of union households vote GOP…

    To do an exhausting, back-against-the-wall fight now ? Nuts.

  5. 5
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Guys like Kaisch and Huckabee, blinded by their short term avarice, don’t see the long term benefits for everyone of having a contented, happy work force…which means collective bargaining as a means to achieve that end.

    They want to be able to steal labor, basically…and while that looks good for making next month’s yacht payment, it’s not good for the long term social stability that makes it far less likely that their yacht doesn’t have an “accident” down the road.

    Don’t go poking at the bear, dumbshits.

  6. 6
    Feudalism Now! says:

    It’s almost like they don’t want to be personally connected to legislation that has a visceral negative reaction from constituents. The wide array of constituencies involved in We Are Ohio frightens the oligarchs and re noise machine. There is very limited support or call for the oligarchs draconian re-invisioning of collective bargaining and the veil is lifted on what their true agenda is. A weaker position for the working class.

  7. 7
    Mike says:

    I can tell you that I personally know a bunch of traditionally loyal republican voters in Ohio who happen to be either employed as or related to cops, firemen, and teachers. The venom they have for Kasich is incredible considering their political history. I mean veins popping out of heads anger. I don’t know if it’s enough to get them to vote Dem (they are still harbor the Limbaugh view that Dems “take” money from “deserving” folk and “give” it to the “undeserving” ones); however, they will be out in force in a few weeks to vote no on Issue 2, and they might just switch to Dems for at least statewide and local races. It’s a start, at least. They are spitting mad! And some of them who are in unions hate their union, too, but they still don’t like being made to be the scapegoat in all of this.

    I’m still very nervous about issue 2. The lies spread on TV abound, and when people are feeling insecure, they are more likely to screw their neighbor as a way of venting their frustration. PPP should have their Ohio results soon. I wait with baited breath.

  8. 8
    Paul in KY says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: They don’t believe there would ever be an uprising like that in a million years. Also, if there was, the security apparatus is much better armed (compared to the teeming masses) than it was 80 or 90 years ago.

    That is why they are so smug (right now).

  9. 9
    Senyordave says:

    @Mike: Maybe I could see hating your union if you are a teamster, but if you are a public employee and you hate your union, you deserve to be shit upon. I have no sympathy for people who consistently vote against their own self-interest.

    I wonder how many just substitute “brown and black skinned” for “undeserving”.

  10. 10
  11. 11
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    What are the polls saying? If this is defeated I can see an opening crack in the Rove and the Koch Brothers iron juggernaut. Citizens United defeated in this a great feeling.

  12. 12
    Chris says:

    What Paul said.

    British elites, in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, were among the few (Bismarck was another) who understood that investment in the people’s well being was investment in their own stability and safety. American elites … not nearly that smart, much more like the French.

    Even if you could get them to see the logic of investing in the people, they’d just end up throwing a tantrum, complaining how unfair it is that the world works that way, and refusing to do it out of pure spite.

  13. 13
    NonyNony says:

    At first I was kind of surprised that the national Republican faces weren’t out stumping for this.

    But it’s not that surprising, actually. If Ohio had a Republican figure that was well respected, who could say “hey working class voters, go vote for this because I said so” then pulling that guy into the argument might help.

    Ohio’s national Republicans right now include Rob Portman (who gets a giant “who the fuck is that guy” from Republicans in the state), George Voinivich (who is still hated as the guy who said no to George W Bush that one time and cried on television), and Bob Taft (who is still hated as that doofus who was either corrupt or an idiot – the jury is still out). And then there’s King John Kasich – who’s hated because he’s an arrogant douchebag who has the world’s most punchable face.

    So it’s actually not surprising to me that Kasich would be reaching out to Republicans who might actually be somewhat popular. Maybe he can pay Sarah Palin some money to come in and stump for him – I’ll bet she’d do it for a few thousand bucks or so. For a state whose politics happens to be completely dominated by Republicans, there aren’t that many Republicans in the state who garner much respect with voters these days.

  14. 14
    Tom says:

    On a similar note, other than hearing that MLK was/would still be a Republican. I missed seeing any Republicans at the MLK event this past weekend. Did I blink? Kind of a big deal–being honored on the National Mall.

  15. 15
    Ivan Ivanovich Renko says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    They want to be able to steal labor, basically…

    They’re getting so obviously Confederate that a blind man could see it with a stick.

  16. 16
    rikryah says:

    Senyordave: +2

  17. 17
    rikryah says:

    I’ve said since Wisconsin that the thing that makes these types of protests different, for the most part, is that the folks that the GOP usually appeals to by disrespecting ‘ those damn protestors’’


    It’s why that SB5 bill in OHIO is doing bad. The people they want to appeal to help pass it, ARE THE ONES OUT THERE RUNNING AROUND TALKING ABOUT VOTE NO ON SB5.

    Of course, these are the folks who thought that the GOP was talking about ‘eerrrrrbody but them’, as they ran down groups over the years, not knowing that the GOP didn’t give a shyt about them. But, now, that it’s IN THEIR FACE, that they can’t turn around and point to someone else and say ‘ the GOP MEANS THEM’…….

    No, you stupid mofos, the GOP HAS ALWAYS MEANT YOU TOO.

  18. 18
    The Dangerman says:

    Can someone give me the ridiculously short version of what’s on the ballot and what I should be hoping passes/fails? I’ve heard Measure 5 and Measure 2 and, well, I’m confused (it’s Monday and I’m drinking Decaf, so take pity on me).

  19. 19
    kay says:

    @The Dangerman:

    I can give you 1, 2 and 3.

    One is on when judges have to retire. 70 (current law) or 76.

    Two is the union-busting law. No on Issue Two.

    Three is the Tea Party lunacy on the ACA. They want to repeal the federal health care law at the state level, which is insane. No on Issue Three.

  20. 20
  21. 21
    kay says:


    and, rikrah, I don’t know if we’re going to win.

    I don’t think it’s a slam-dunk or anything, so keep your fingers crossed :)

  22. 22
    The Dangerman says:


    Three is the Tea Party lunacy on the ACA.

    Surely, the Tea Party realizes that Federal Law trumps State Law; what a waste of money.

    Was Measure 5 the bill that passed last time around that is getting voided by 2? I thought the bill already passed and now it’s getting overridden? Or perhaps I’m thinking Wisconsin.

    Fuck it all, I may have to make a Starbucks run to try to come up to speed here.

  23. 23
    kay says:


    If Ohio had a Republican figure that was well respected

    It just pisses me off. The gang on Morning Joe can’t wait to tie Democrats together as one amorphous blob. Any Democrat anywhere does anything, it reflects on ALL Democrats, everywhere.

    Why don’t they do that to Republicans?

    Republicans never have to defend this crap, as a Party, which is a big part of the reason Republicans are never on defense.

  24. 24
    kay says:

    @The Dangerman:

    SB5 was the state law that Kasich signed. Issue Two is the repeal of that law.

    It’s not really a “repeal”. The way Ohio law works, the law never went into effect, but that’s not important.

    Voting NO on Issue Two is repealing SB5. No on Two.

    As far as the Tea Party lunacy, Issue Three, pretend health care law repeal, that’s a funny story.

    The Tea Party tried for two years to collect enough signatures, and failed.

    They had to turn to the Ohio GOP to get it done, and on the ballot.

    That’s because they’re a great grassroots, independent movement :)

    The Ohio GOP had to bail their asses out because they’re too lazy to collect their own signatures.

  25. 25
    kay says:

    @The Dangerman:

    Just vote NO on One, Two and Three, unless you feel strongly that judges should stay on the bench past 70, then vote YES on One.

    I don’t know why you would want to keep Kasich’s appointees on the bench as incumbents for longer than you had to, but that’s your call. I myself think judges should retire at 70 and give someone else a chance.

  26. 26
    DZ says:


    What is your problem with the French? They have national health care, a very good retirement system, unemployment insurance that doesn’t run out, almost no poverty and world-class trains. WTF?

  27. 27
    Chris says:


    Sorry dude: didn’t mean to attack the current French system (I’ve got dual citizenship there and wouldn’t mind at America adopted some of it).

    Was talking about their elites from back in the day (200 years ago): the unwillingness of the aristocracy to pay their fair share (which played a part in causing the revolution), the “let them eat cake” divorce from reality, that sort of thing. It’s exactly the entitlement mentality you run into when looking at American elites from this day and age.

  28. 28
    Sly says:


    It just pisses me off. The gang on Morning Joe can’t wait to tie Democrats together as one amorphous blob.

    My suggestion is to not watch Morning Joe.

    1) Your sanity and perspective is much improved.

    2) Morning Joe loses… what? 5% of its audience if you personally stop watching?

  29. 29
    kay says:


    I don’t watch it. That wasn’t my complaint.

    I think it’s a valid complaint, which is why I wrote it, although I appreciate your concern for my health.

  30. 30
    kay says:


    I think the “audience share” defense of cable tv is nonsense. It isn’t that they have a huge audience. It’s that all of the people who set the terms of these debates and appear on these shows go out and resell whatever they were sold on the show.

    If audience share made cable news irrelevant, Fox wouldn’t be successful at selling Republicans, and they are successful at selling Republicans.

    Beginning in 2005, I watched cable news sell “voter fraud” like a product. Huge success. Voter fraud is complete and utter bullshit, there isn’t a single stat or state where “voter fraud” holds up, but the hosts and guests on cable news were very successful at selling it.

  31. 31
    cokane says:

    well Taft’s presence would hurt Kasich as Taft left office in ignominy. Voinovich has probably just retired from politics and was never a strong conservative.

  32. 32
    The Dangerman says:


    I don’t know why you would want to keep Kasich’s appointees on the bench as incumbents for longer than you had to, but that’s your call.

    Oops, sorry; I was searching for information as a Californian from California. I’m just watching from afar.

  33. 33
    ellenelle says:

    have not read all these comments here (apologies), but kay, have you seen any of the details of huckabee’s speech? seems he is suggesting folks drive ten family members and friends to the polls, and if they won’t go with you because they don’t support the initiative, then make sure they don’t go at all, even “slash their tires.”

    there’s a law against that, isn’t there?

  34. 34
    ellenelle says:


    “let the air out of their tires.”

    he was allegedly “clearly joking,” but about as serious as palin was about those crosshairs, i suppose.

  35. 35
    Exurban Mom says:

    @kay: Oh, the Teatards were out in force collecting signatures on this bill in my community. For months and months, they set up their little table in front of the post office. It was disgraceful.

    The issue is receiving VERY LITTLE media coverage, and I haven’t seen one ad yet, on either side of the issue. I’m hoping the default position of voting NO on ballot initiatives that don’t involve gambling or preventing gay marriage will kick in, and my fellow Ohioans will vote down both issue 2 and issue 3.

  36. 36
    kay says:

    Huckabee told the same joke in Virginia in 2009.
    It’s not funny because he’s not funny but it is apparently just one of his stock lines as a FOX News correspondent-grifter.
    I don’t think it’s illegal.
    Moronic and meanspirited, but not illegal.
    It’s kind of great that he tells the same dumb joke at every Tea Party event.
    He’s just phoning it in at this point, and cashing the checks.

  37. 37
    Kat says:

    They sure are spending the money on this dead horse. My mailbox in Dayton is stuffed with flyers weekly, on why I should vote yes. I stopped reading it long ago. Now it just fills up the trash can. Go Bengals !

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