Having followed Democratic former Ohio governor Ted "Holier Than Thou" Strickland lo these many painful years, including the memorable episode when as a Congressman he called out 355 of his colleagues as liars for unanimously supporting an anti-pedophilia resolution (seriously), it's remarkable (actually, it's clear evidence of Ohio media bias) that it's current Republican governor John Kasich who has the reputation for arrogance. During the administration of "Turnaround Ted," who Kasich defeated in 2010, Ohio lost over 400,000 jobs. It should be self-evident to any Ohioan who endured his four long years in office that Strickland's authority to opine on anything relating to the welfare of the Buckeye State is non-existent.
Yet there Strickland was Tuesday night, being interviewed by Fox News's Greta Van Susteren about the meaning of Ohio voters' 66%-34% landslide approval of Issue 3, which put prohibitions of Obamacare’s mandates to buy health insurance and participate in a health care plan into Ohio’s constitution (y'know, the document Ted swore to uphold when he was the state's chief executive). Watch the exchange, as Van Susteren calls out Ted's contempt for the expressed will of Ohio's voters:
Greta Van Susteren: You're very proud of the Ohioans in that they sent a message that they don't like this healthcare business. Are you proud of them on that as well?
Ted Strickland: Well, quite frankly, as, uh, y'know, as was recently said on this program, uh, what happens with the healthcare legislation will be determined by the federal courts. Uh, and so this vote in Ohio was uh, uh, fairly meaningless in terms of its effect upon what actually happens ultimately, uh, in terms of, uh, the Affordable Care Act.
GVS: (attempts to interject, fails to get in a word)
Strickland: And uh, so consequently there was not a lot of, uh, effort put into this effort in Ohio. It was, it was, largely, um, uh, an issue that was not fought hard, on either side.
GVS: Well you say it's meaningless, but I think to the many voters who voted for it and rather overwhelmingly, eh, voted for it, uh, it was not particularly meaningless. And it does send a signal that, uh, must be sort of rattling those people who like the national health care. I don't think it's quite as meaningless to the voters. I mean, uh, it, it certainly doesn't look by the numbers.
Strickland: Well, uh, Greta, the fact is that there was very little campaigning done on this issue. I, I think, uh, uh, uh, people, uh, voted, uh-uh, for, uh y'know, reasons that were, uh, perhaps not fully understood. But, uh --
GVS: Are they dumb? Are you saying that they're uninformed?
Strickland: Y'know, the reason there was not, the reason there was not a-a real campaign on this issue is because everyone, Republicans and Democratic alike, understood that ultimately the federal courts will decide whether or not, uh, a federal mandate regarding health care is constitutional. And so it was, it was a symbolic, uh, victory for those opposed to the Affordable Care Act, but it really has no force, uh, of law in terms of what will actually happen in Ohio and across America, uh, as far as the, uh, mandate is concerned.
GVS: Huh, y'know, I don't know, Governor, if it's really fair to sort of, y'know, to sort of divide it that way. I mean I understand sort of a split victory. But to say, y'know, to say that y'know you're proud of Ohio, Ohioans on the one hand and then say, "Well, y'know, that's like, it wasn't campaigned on much, they voted for it but it's largely symbolic." (As Strickland says "no, no" and attempts to interrupt) I mean, I think those people were sending a strong message about how they felt.
Damned right they were, Ted. And thank you for exposing to the entire nation your utter contempt for the people you once served.
As to the issue that the vote is meaningless, five points.
First, effective Tuesday night, the Ohio Healtcare Freedom Amendment has been incorporated into Ohio's constitution, which, last time I checked, is not a "symbolic" document.
Second, Issue 3 proponents' FAQ document obtainable here explains its relevance:
Several members of the Supreme Court have recognized that it is compatible with our form of government for the federal government to defer to state articulations of fundamental liberties, when enshrined in that state's constitution.
When a citizen challenges the constitutionality of a statute, courts apply a test whereby they place the burden on the citizen to prove that the statute is unconstitutional “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Passage of a state constitutional amendment shifts that burden to the federal government, or at minimum, creates a level playing field.
Translation: Despite the media memes and Obamacare apologists' arrogant dismissals, the amendment's passage is far from "meaningless." At worst, its impact is debatable. At best, it trumps Washington. We won't find out unless and until it's tested.
Third, the "yes" side campaigned hard. Their "Y3S" signs were everywhere. The fact that the "no" side claims they didn't campaign hard isn't the "yes" side's problem. Opponents banked heavily on the idea that those who voted "no" on Issue 2 (see the final item below) would reflexively vote "no" on Issue 3 like reliable union people would be expected to vote. Problem is, they most emphatically did not.
Fourth, it has long been observed that "the Supreme Court follows the election returns." An overwhelming indication of unpopularity such as that expressed by Ohioans on Tuesday, where Issue 3 failed in all 88 counties, is far from irrelevant to their ultimate deliberations on the constitutionality and desirability of upholding or throwing out ObamaCare.
Finally, while the returns tell us many union and/or Democratic voters and households obviously didn't like the collective-bargaining reforms and public-sector employee cost-sharing contained in Issue 2 (which lost by 61%-39%), they disliked ObamaCare's mandates even more. You don't get to 2.2 million votes and a victory margin of over 1 million in an off-year election on the backs of Republicans, conservatives, and independents alone. ObamaCare is self-evidently unpopular across the board.
Many if not most Ohioans would be more than grateful if Ted Strickland would go to Florida and sell T-shirts like he said he would consider doing in 2008 after his time in the Governor's Mansion was over. One thing Ted would notice if he ever does that: The Sunshine State, to which Ohioans have all too often fled, doesn't have an income tax. Like Ohio today, it also has a governor who is spending every waking moment working on legitimately turning his state around from a prior governor's disastrous term.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.