The unconditional surrender of Kasich & Co. to the voters on Tuesday was a textbook example of crushed political arrogance. The mismanaged Republican-led assault on public worker unions was DOA at the polls, but its demise has been widely anticipated from the day the opponents of Senate Bill 5 filed more than a million signatures calling for a referendum to repeal it. Even with the support of the state's two biggest newspapers - the Plain Dealer and Columbus Dispatch, which lamely tried to provide cover for the law - the ill-conceived legislation was destined to land in a pauper's grave with the clearly shaken governor offering a brief TV benediction.
Good! Since his arrival in the governor's office in January , Kasich has shown little patience for rational conversation with his critics as well as the public at large. Stripping public workers of their bargaining rights has been one of his planned fail-safe initiatives in attempting to convince the corporate world that status quo is not a term you would ever find in his dictionary. Yet there he was, no more than your average chastened pol, in the gloom of painful defeat telling us that the voters have spoken and he will now need time to reflect on its meaning. It's not likely his funeral oration will remotely approach Pericles' in content and vision.
Taking a longer-lasting hit was his triumphant exhuberance in gruff political engineering in the coming months. That also will be true of the Republican lawmakers, consumed by their own self-importance, who have left sound logic at the backstage door. Many will be on the ballot in 2112. At the same time, some current øbservers have noted that Kasich had operated on the weird notion that his anti-union handiwork would be so widely applauded that he could end up on the national ticket. Fat chance of that.
Meantime, the demolished Kasich power play has energized a once-musty Democratic labor base that is expected to have long memories. Sometimes it helps if you can depend on your opponents to lend you a hand. The unionists should be among the first to send the governor a thank-you card.