2011 has come to an end and with it a somewhat ignominious end to Year One of King John’s reign. A year that began with high aspirations of power and arrogance was brought back down to earth by the people, who defeated his signature legislation, Senate Bill 5.
Sold as a much-needed economic tool to bring us out of the economic malaise (caused primarily by the greed and arrogance of him and his Wall Street buddies), it was soundly thumped 2-1 by Ohioans who saw through the ruse. The much-vaunted bus that we were all supposed to get on or get run over by instead backed over Kasich and the GOP majority’s grand overreach.
After promising to bring jobs and prosperity to Ohio, Kasich and the GOP have brought us a net job-loss economy and giveaways to corporate cronies. In the name of economic development that has fooled no one; at least about two-thirds of the voters were not fooled. The coming year promises to be very interesting. Most of the jobs brought to Ohio were the result of policies begun under the Strickland administration or were the result of economic decisions made without Kasich’s JobsOhio’s input or influence. This didn’t stop the Guv from showing up at every photo op, trying to appear relevant. His end-of-the-year summary of his so-called achievements was sparse and embarrassing. Even with dozens of links proving otherwise, he tried to say he never said he was going to run over anyone with his bus. It was all a big misunderstanding.
Instead of jobs being the No. 1 objective of the administration and the newly elected GOP majority, like they promised when they ran in 2010, we were subjected to a litany of bills that had been on Republican social engineering wish lists for years. Instead of jobs, we got the right to carry guns in bars and church, and an abortion bill that even many in the anti-abortion movement didn’t want. Not one bill has been passed to help working people in Ohio. Instead, working people were blamed, attacked and disrespected as practically the first order of business. Going after police and fire forces and schoolteachers was a mistake I am sure they now rue in most Republican circles. Even though this was part of a nationwide overreach by the GOP, it had the opposite effect of what they were going for: it brought out tens of thousands of demonstrators against their policies and awakened a sleeping giant.
Kasich and the GOP majority were elected more by the apathy of voters in 2010 than by any great groundswell of support for their ideas. Kasich was elected by less than a majority of the voters and took that as some sort of mandate to foist his grandiose plans on a public already suffering from the results of many of those same thought processes. That public was not fooled, and made its displeasure known by collecting 1.3 million signatures, the largest number of signatures ever collected in Ohio for a referendum, and proceeding to overwhelmingly defeat the implementation of Senate Bill 5. Did the GOP learn anything from this? Evidently not, since just days after the defeat, legislation was introduced to make Ohio a right-to-work state.
This just proves that it never was about saving money and jobs, but about political retribution. Add in the obscenely gerrymandered map they’ve passed, in concert with John Boehner and his staff of Washington insiders, and you have a recipe for disaster. 2012 should offer some interesting political times. The previous apathy of a large number of voters appears to have been overcome, and coupled with the distaste many previous GOP supporters and independent voters have for their policies, that could signal as large a swing if not larger, than in the 2010 elections. This could be an interesting an election. If the Mayans are right, the world is going to end on Dec. 21 next year, so what the hell: let’s go for it!