Friday, November 11, 2011

Here we go again, from abortion to RTW

AS THE SULLEN SUPPORTERS of the anti-union Senate Bill 5 continue to reach for noble platitudes to launder their loss in the spin cycle, we learn that 2012 will bring us further mischief from the political and religious Right. Oh, my.

Shall we begin with a fellow named Patrick Johnston, a Tea Partying Ohio doctor with strong pulpiteering tendencies? He's leading a movement to put his version of the anti-abortion Personhood amendment on the Ohio ballot next year. He says he's not concerned in the least that Mississippi voters convincingly rejected it in Tuesday's election. Undismayed - zealots always are - Johnston says: "We have science and divine law on our side. With God's help we will win through."

(Historical note: the early Romans also believed that "no enterprise could be undertaken without divine sanction", and look what's happening to Italy today. )

Let's move on. There's the right-to-work thing. It is called the "Workplace Freedom Amendment" that would be added to the Ohio Constitution if approved by the voters next year. You wouldn't be shocked to learn that it is operating as the Liberty Council (!), a Tea Party Affiliate. One of the movement's organizers is Bryan Williams, one of Summit County Republican Chairman Alex Arshinkoff's favorites from the party's practice squad who was vanquished by Mayor Plusquellic several elections ago. Williams, a lobbyist for builders and contractors, was quoted in the Beacon Journal as saying the RTW amendment would "unleash an economic engine".

Or, on the other hand, the same union juggernaut that crushed Senate Bill 5 as it did RTW in 1958. Not only RTW but, as the late Ray Bliss had warned his party at the time, the statewide Republican ticket. I wonder if Arshinkoff, Bliss's alleged apostle, has reminded Williams of the scary odds against the GOP in 2012 with the avatar of RTW hanging around. No one , however, would appreciate another arousal of the Democratic/Labor folks more than President Obama.

I was working for the old Columbus Citizen when the right-to-workers went to the ballot in 1958 and were thrashed. The Scripps-Howard newspapers had strongly endorsed it. You should have seen the editors' faces the morning after. The first order of damage control from the editor: Start looking for positive feature stories about the city's labor leaders.

Jeez. The more I see of the GOP's political tactics, the less I understand, and it looks like we're going to have another awful year to figure them out.

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