Beware the crystal-ball story that predicts a backlash -- a liberal newspaper will constantly find backlashes to predict wherever conservatives succeed. The Washington Post unleashed their clairvoyance on Friday in an Amy Gardner story headlined "Ohio GOP may invite backlash with tough stance on unions." It began:
COLUMBUS -- State Republicans took the toughest line yet against public-sector unions this week, delivering an early and significant victory for a slew of lawmakers elected in November.
Perhaps too tough. Democrats and even some Republicans said that the bold action and the uncompromising way it was carried out could boomerang on Republicans in the next election, in much the same way that the stimulus bill and health-care overhaul haunted Democrats in Ohio and elsewhere last year.
Except the Post didn't write stories predicting Democrats would be "haunted" by their success the day they passed something.
Beware the "even Republicans," who are usually the Democrats' best friends. The first star of this story is a state senator from the Cleveland suburbs, who conjured up visions of doom, with Republicans "turning off broad swaths" of voters. "Taking on the fire and police, from a political perspective, is illogical...The ad that is going to be fatal to Republicans is going to be the fireman carrying the baby out of the burning building." That came right beneath the bold subhead ""Illogical' move."
It turns out Sen. Grendell is running a "backlash" dare all his own. He is term-limited to just two more years in the state Senate, and won election to the state House in 2010 -- and then decided he wouldn't take the House seat since he couldn't choose his Senate successor.
Grendell was followed by the man Gov. John Kasich defeated, Democrat Ted Strickland, who naturally insisted Ohio "shuns extremes," so the Republicans are in trouble. He was followed by the liberal president of the firefighters' union. Then in paragraph 14 comes an actual conservative, Sen. Shannon Jones, the author of the bill on unions. Jones was followed by another "even Republican" who voted against her bill, Bill Seitz. That's a liberal-friendly 4-to-1 ratio.
Gardner and the Post don't seem to realize the opposite result could be just as likely to invite backlash: Republicans getting elected to trim government, and then being too incompetent or weak-willed to do what they promised to do.