Your Humble Blogger wanted to note something about the Ohio results. Y’all probably know that the Ohio voters overturned an appallingly awful anti-union measure passed by the legislature, and also passed a goofy state constitutional amendment outlawing mandated participation in a healthcare system, essentially presented as seceding from Obamacare. This has led people to notes like Not so Rosy in Ohio? over at TPM and You’re Not the Boss of Ohio, Man over at John Scalzi’s Whatever. Neither of which are bad posts, I should point out.
Gentle Readers know by now that I stubbornly dislike (and fear) legislation by election; I want elected legislators doing the legislating, and citizens booting out the bad ones at their displeasure. Yesterday’s election (and particularly the election news) was a good example of what I dislike: all the fuss was about these ballot questions, amendments and referendum lines, most of which were poorly written chunks of shit even when they are intended to promote policies I disagree with. The citizens of Ohio want to protect the rights of their public employees to bargain as collectives? Why the hell did they vote for Republicans, then? Are all those Republican legislators whose bill was overturned going to resign, or are they going to be booted out at the next election… or more likely are they going to continue in the confidence of their constituents, that is, the confidence to do anything except legislate. It’s a hell of a way to run a railroad, and a terrible way to make a democratic society to be free and self-governing. On the other hand, at least the unions won. This time.
As for the notes above and the others like them I saw, I’m not convinced that Ohio supports unions and hates the Affordable Care Act. I suspect that the difference between Issue 2 and Issue 3 is that there was a nationally organized effort to support Issue 2, and that wasn’t one to oppose Issue 3. Lots of money and lots of GOTV and lots of individual persuasion happened there, and then there was that whole Wisconsin thing that nobody really wanted to have happen all over again, and on the whole Issue 2 was on everybody’s mind, as far as I can tell. Issue 3, not so much.
Would it have been a better night for our society, or for progressive ideals, if the insurance companies (who stand to benefit greatly from the individual mandate, of course) had spent a bazillion dollars getting everybody worked up about Issue 3? I’m not saying it would have failed—at the end of the day, they count the ballots, not the dollars, or Issue 2 would have had a different ending. But a lot of money can get people worked up, for sure.
Well, well. I don’t know. I am relieved that the state won’t be able to completely screw over its employees, I know that. I would have been dreadfully disappointed had the law not been overturned. I’m just… it’s a terrible analogy, but do you remember when Woody Allen was accused of abusing Mia Farrow’s children, and he was not convicted (I don’t remember the details, whether there were charges that were dismissed, or if it never got to the charges part, or what) and he was asked how he felt about winning, he said something like what winning? I didn’t win anything, they tried to kill me and I escaped. I don’t remember the exact quote, but his point was that he was still worse off than he was before the whole thing started. Which, if he hadn’t done anything wrong (and remember that my point isn’t about Woody Allen) was powerfully true; he was dragged through the mud, spent a zillion dollars that could have been spent somewhere else, had this awfulness the focus of his life for months, and all he got at the end of it was that it was almost much, much worse.
And that’s how I feel about the good news.
Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,