It’s great being a conservative in the Buckeye State. I mean, after last November, what’s there to complain about? No more Senator Sherrod Brown and President Barack Obama, am I right?
Oh wait… We lost. And while the GOP fared better in General Assembly races, capturing supermajorities in both the House and Senate, they’re stuck with the same liberal laws and regulations coming out of D.C., hamstringing what they can accomplish here in Ohio.
But given the rhetoric from some conservatives throughout the state, you’d think Democrats were completely marginalized. From criticizing Senate President Faber on his response to last week’s Right to Work presser, to threatening a break from the Republican party over the ORP officer’s elections the week prior, apparently there’s nothing liberal for us to complain about; conservatives might as well yell at one another.
Yet, in reality, Ohio conservatives do not have the luxury of eating their own.
So, when a new site apparently dedicated to ripping apart Ohio Republicans popped up in my news feed today, I found myself more than a little confused:
Seriously, between this and some of the other blatantly orchestrated hit-jobs that have come out of late, I have to wonder who’s paying these folks to write this stuff. At this point, it’s starting to look like Democrats have found a way to get conservatives to implode on themselves.
More to the point, since when did complete, 100% ideological purity become the standard by which every Republican in the State of Ohio is measured? And why is it an unforgiveable sin to take political reality into account when making decisions? It’s as if pragmatism is more awful than holding a completely opponent view on the issue at hand.
Let’s take a look at a handful of issues one at a time, and apply a little reality to the situation:
The Heartbeat Bill: We have a pro-life House and Senate. We have a pro-life Governor. So why didn’t this bill pass? Because the campaign promoting it apparently missed Lobbying 101. You do not accomplish anything by throwing roses at Senators and threatening legislators with a primary challenge. But you put a kabash on the whole thing when, in the eleventh hour, you throw a litany of amendments into the mix. This bill will pass when proponents can put their egos in check, meet with the appropriate legislative leaders, and work out a compromise on the minor issues that stalled it last December.
Medicaid Expansion: Obamacare sucks, but given last November, it’s here to stay. So our best bet as a state is to insulate ourselves as best we can from its negative impacts, and not to mislead Ohioans on the issue.
Right to Work: I want this more than anything on my political wish list. But after the General Assembly botched Senate Bill 5 two years ago, there’s no way they invite that circus again. It will have to come via a citizens’ initiative. So, why haven’t the leaders of the Tea Party & Liberty Coalition done anything? They claim huge grassroots support—and it showed in 2011 with Issue 3—but where’s that fire this time around? Polling shows Ohioans support the measure, so why not ramp up the signature effort? Voters would approve the measure in a fair fight. Of course, unions won’t let that happen…
If you thought the $40+ million unions stole from their members in the Issue 2 fight was a lot, wait until you see the $100+ million they confiscate to lie to Ohio voters about how if RTW passes, your hours will be cut, dad’s job will be sent offshore, mom’s healthcare will mandate she be executed, and grandma, hell, she’ll be fed to malevolent CEO’s. If we’re going to win this fight, we need to do it in stages, first passing paycheck protection and giving union members the choice—not the mandate—on whether their hard-earned dollars should be used for political purposes. Watch how quickly union coffers dry up when John Q. Public actually has to voluntarily support their intellectually dishonest campaigns. And when unions have to argue the facts, they lose every day of the week.
Portman on Gay Marriage: Like it or not, the debate on marriage in this country is shifting, and with it, so are the conservative talking points. Rail against Portman all you want as to the reason he switched (I myself take issue with changing a political position based on personal experience), but are conservatives really saying they’d rather have a liberal nutjob like Bob Hagan instead? Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face…
I could go on, but the point here is sometimes reality only allows people, no matter how well-intentioned, to go so far. And the constant criticisms from fellow conservatives only serve to jeopardize our voice in the debate. In the name of making a political point, are conservatives really willing to throw away how far we’ve come since failed Governor Strickland left and all that we’ve accomplished in just the past two years:
As you can see, great things—great conservative things—can be accomplished with the leaders we have here in Ohio. And that goes beyond Governor Kasich and those at the Statehouse. Yes, we can do better and we should do better. But how we go about getting there should not be what we’ve seen in the past few months. We need to work from within and through the system we have in place if we ever hope to reform it.
To draw on a sport’s analogy, no starting quarterback in the NFL got that job by blasting their general manager & team owner in the media. They worked hard in practice and lobbied the proper people behind the scenes.
The same holds true for Ohio conservatives. We’re playing for the same team here. Let’s start acting like it.