Yesterday, voters in Ohio produced two diametrically opposed results. On the one hand, they voted down Governor John Kasich's courageous and necessary reforms to rein in the government sector unions and their bankrupting costs. On the other hand, they also voted to opt out of ObamaCare.
The quick lessons here: The labor unions remain incredibly powerful and flush with money to enforce outcomes that protect their cushy positions on the taxpayer-funded gravy train. We must understand this going into 2012. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker succeeded in his attempt to restrict collective bargaining for most government employees, but he went through a union-backed onslaught and still faces a recall. Also keep in mind that Walker exempted police and firefighters from his union reforms. Kasich did not, allowing the unions to pitch an emotional---and local---argument about public safety. That, more than anything, is what held sway. Kasich tried and lost his fight to save his state. The voters of Ohio basically screwed themselves over. A real shame. A tragedy, really.
The vote on ObamaCare is interesting. The same voters who torpedoed the union reforms voted as well to kill ObamaCare. Actually, MORE voters voted against ObamaCare than to support the unions. Of course, their decision on this will have no real impact because federal law trumps state law and referenda. But if Ohioans went with the labor unions but against Obama on ObamaCare, what does that say? It says just about everyone hates ObamaCare, how it kills jobs and its intrusion into our personal lives and freedom.
Both issues are size-of-government issues, but the inion vote was more of a local concern. Ohioans gave us a split decision yesterday. If I were Obama, I'd be happy that the unions showed real muscle. They'll help him big time next year get out the vote, run ads and smear the other side through protests, mobilization and general thuggery. But if I were Obama, I'd also be freaked out by the widespread loathing of his signature domestic "achievement." Conservatives, Republicans, Independents, Democrats and even some liberals hate ObamaCare. Much of his legacy is built on it. If the voters hate it that much, and the Supreme Court kills it next year, all of the union power in the country may not be enough to save him.
So thanks a lot, voters of the key swing state of Ohio! You've clarified nothing for the rest of us. Hope you guys had a good election day! The chance for the rest of us comes in less than a year.