Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Let's talk about John Kasich.

     It appears inevitable that in spite of the impassioned, angry response of the women in the State, Texas will pass their repressive Reproductive Health law. Governor Rick Perry's lasting legacy of shame and humiliation for the women of the Great State of Texas. Compared to Ohio Texas, The Old Confederacy and all the extreme Right Wing dominated Legislatures here in the North are rank amateurs.
Not one, as Ohio has done, has seen fit to redefine pregnancy. I really can not rehash these regressive laws stripping women of their rights as citizens again. It gets a bit messy as my head explodes. Google. OK? 
I want to, wait. Let me rephrase. I need to talk about Ohio Governor John Kasich.
Once again the wannabe historian lurking inside takes the reigns, shoving me aside.
John Kasich. Where to start? Sheesh.
John grew up in Pennsylvania the son of a Letter Carrier. Yep, he grew up with a Union Thug. Kasich attended and got his degree from The Ohio State University. I wish he had gone to Michigan then he'd be their problem, not Ohio's.
Kasich stayed and was at twenty-six elected to the Ohio Senate. Even then he had a likeable public persona. John drew on his blue collar background, pointing out his father worked for the Postal Service, projecting an everyman image. He moved on wresting the 12th Congressional District back from a one term Democrat in 1982. He would hold that seat until 2001.
During this time he would convert from Catholicism to Evangelical Christianity, divorce his first wife. He then married his second and current wife. They have twin daughters.
Kasich came to Congress as a member of the minority GOP.He voted for the Clinton Impeachment. John also voted for NAFTA and helped get passage of the Assault Rifle Ban in the now Republican House. I am surprised that vote did not haunt him during his Gubernatorial bid.
With the GOP in control of The House, Kasich became head of the House budget Committee. He helped   pass the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. That is something he still claims full credit for, as if no one else was involved.
As Kasich declined to stand for relection again in 2000 he opened an exploratory committee for a Presidential run. That bid collapsed under massive indifference. He withdrew prior to the Iowa straw poll and endorsed George W. Bush.
Following his Congressional career Kasich received a show on Fox News. "Heartland With John Kasich".Here he pushed himself as a reasonable voice from the heart of America. He polished that performance. Fox also used him as a commentator and guest host for O'Reilly. John also subbed for Hannity. Sean, as a fair and balanced journalist, heartily endorsed Kasich's run for Governor.
While at Fox John also went to work for Lehman Brothers as a Managing Director based in Columbus Ohio. As they collapsed, nearly taking the economy with them, John received nearly a half million dollars in bonuses.
The collapse of the economy in 2008, the rise of the Tea Party, and falling poll numbers for Ohio Democratic Governor Ted Strickland convinced Kasich to run in 2010..
The near implosion of the American economy caused Ohio/s to tank. As a good Republican Kasich blamed the Democrats and the evil, greedy Unions. He rode the Tea Party and Democrats Unicorn Wing sitting out due to annoyance with President Obama. Thus the Democrats lost every Statewide elected office. This spelled disaster as redistricting loomed. Kasich won a brutal election by less than two percentage points. Like Bush in 2004, Kasich felt this was a sweeping mandate.So he took on the Public Sector Unions.
In a speech in Ashtabula County in March of 2009, Kasich spoke of a "Need to break the back of school unions." Thus when a bill eviscerating public sector union rights in Ohio passed the legislature. no one was surprised.
It took old school political shenanigans for this bill to pass. An Ohio Republican State Senator on committee was replaced to ensure the bill would make it to the floor. The Democrats were steamrollered. Opposition witnesses were denied a chance to speak.As the Statehouse was packed with and surrounded by angry Ohioans the bill passed. It was promptly signed by Kasich.
The opposition coalesced and gathered millions of signatures for a ballot repeal initiative.It required a truck to deliver the petitions to the Secretary of State. SecState Husted, staking out his independence from Kasich rejected Republican attempts to split the initiative into multiple ballot issues. The GOP also lost court battles over ballot language.
The fight was on. A former Republican lobbyist I know smugly predicted a crushing defeat for Issue 2. It was simply a matter of education, he said. We(GOP) just have to show the electorate the right way to vote. Massive amounts of out of state money poured in on both sides.The GOP attempted to split the Union vote by offering to remove Police Unions from the law. The FOP rejected it for solidarity.The poll numbers were dismal showing a defeat coming. So at the last minute the GOP offered to negotiate a new bill with Dems if the ballot measure was removed. That was met with a resounding NO. Issue 2, the Union Busting Bill was repealed 69%-31%.
With majorities in the State House and Senate the GOP turned their eye to women.
A Heartbeat Bill was introduced in the House. This legislation would have prevented abortion once a fetal heartbeat was detected. The result would be effectively banning abortion as a heartbeat occurs before most women realize they are pregnant. A fetus testified to the House via sonogram. Ohio was a laughingstock, again.
This bill was so misguided that so called Right To Life Organizations opposed it. They knew full well it would never survive a court test. Thankfully it died in the Senate. However there was no veto threat from Kasich.
Throughout his political career John has at every opportunity bleated his Pro Life credentials.
The Ohio Republican reactionary social agenda was rejected in 2012 by electing President Obama and Senator Sherrod Brown with a comfortable margin, Actually Senator Brown crushed his conservative opponent.
So, with the message given by voters the Ohio Legislature, with opposition proof majorities, did the only rational thing they could. They went after women.
These guys seem to feel they have a God given divine right to impose their narrow, theocratic moral views on the population of Ohio. The best way to do this they felt was in a budget bill effectively preventing open debate. Because, freedom.
As I said earlier, I am not going to revisit those provisions today because I can't type as I weep for Ohio.
Now tucked away in the budget passed by a conservative Republican majority was a provision forbidding an expansion of Medicaid in response to the ACA. Let's look at what happened after the budget was passed.
Prior to passage there were large protests outside the Statehouse. This should have been seen as proof the issue isn't the winner they think it is. In their bubble they must think,"Women, cute how they think they're  important."
This reprehensible budget passed on a Friday less than forty-eight hours ahead of a legal deadline.
The calls for the Governor to use his line item veto to strike down these provisions was loud and immediate. The response was to stop answering their phones and emails.
In answering questions for the Media over that weekend Kasich extolled the virtues of the new budget. He would work with the Legislature to get Medicaid expansion even though they'd just bitch slapped him over it. As to the abortion provisions he needed to look oat them. He also made it a point to often cite his pro life credentials.
Democrats and progressives I know thought that Kasich is at times a pragmatist. To avoid court fights he would veto the abortion regs. I disagreed because I saw this as a play to the base with his constant waving of the pro life ensign. I truly wish I had been wrong.
Kasich vetoed the prohibition on Medicaid expansion and did not veto ANY of the abortion provisions in the budget. This way he avoids a bloody GOP mutiny as he eyes reelection in '14 and a possible Presidential run as a champion of the pro life movement. So for naked political ambition John Kasich is willing to boost his ambition on the backs of women. He sees no downside to stripping women of their rights. Kasich must feel women are too complacent to cause any meaningful political damage to his election plans. Perhaps he should have a chat with Mitt Romney.
Ohio, it is tme to show these officeholders the political price of hubris and arrogance.
They need to be reminded who they serve. The people of Ohio. All the people of Ohio not just the most vocal, connected and generous with campaign contributions.
It is time to retake the asylum from the patients.Sanity, compassion and equality must return to the political discourse in Ohio. The only way to cause that is to show extremism has a high political cost.
The time to stand united with women is now.
The time to restore sanity is now.
The time to shout no further is now.
Stand for our daughters, sisters and a womans right to control her life and future.

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