Despite massive protests outside the state capitol, Republicans in Ohio’s state legislature pushed through Senate Bill 5, a union-busting law that went even further in curbing public employees’ collective bargaining rights than a similar law in Wisconsin. Gov. John Kasich (R) signed the wildly unpopular law, and has since seen his approval ratings plummet to depths that he struggles to explain.
The protests did not stop with Kasich’s signature, however, and opponents of the law went to work collecting signatures to put a referendum on the ballot next Election Day that could repeal SB 5. In fact, the law’s opponents collected nearly 1.3 million signatures, a million more than they needed to successfully get the referendum on the ballot. They brought so many signatures to the state election board, they needed a tractor-trailer to deliver them.
But this morning on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Kasich pretended that the opposition to his signature piece of legislation was no big deal, saying with all sincerity that “there was no drama” in his first six months as governor:
KASICH: What’s driven my negatives up is the fact that we’re trying to rein in and give local communities the abilities to control their costs with public employees… So it’s just protesters and noise. But when it comes to the budget, no protests, no noise, and we got it through. And got through virtually all of what we really wanted.
The people of Ohio, however, disagree. Not only do big majorities support repealing SB 5, they also oppose his budget. As for Kasich himself, polls have shown that if Ohioans could have a do-over of 2010, when he defeated former Gov. Ted Strickland (D), they’d hand him a 25-point defeat. Of course, to Kasich, that’s all just noise.