SB 5, the union-busting legislation Ohio Gov. John Kasich worked hard to pass and is now working to save, seems headed for defeat in a statewide referendum set to take place on November 8th. But no worries, SB 5 supporters! Former Mass Gov. Mitt Romney, Presidential candidate and consistent straight talker, has come to the rescue. According to a tweet from CNN’s Peter Hamby, Romney stopped by a pro-SB 5 phone bank in Ohio to rally the troops.
Then, when asked what his own position was, Romney said….well…he didn’t have one...
Of course, there seems to be a fairly simple explanation for Romney’s hedging: the bill looks to be going down hard. Quinnipiac’s polling showed that repeal forces have a 25 point lead at the moment, and a recent Public Policy Polling (D) survey showed a 20 point one.
So when Romney showed up to rally the pro-SB5 political operation, it was a bit of a shock to conservatives who have been working to stop repeal when he said the following, picked up by CNN:
“I am not speaking about the particular ballot issues,” Romney said, only after repeated questions from reporters. “Those are up to the people of Ohio. But I certainly support the efforts of the governor to rein in the scale of government. I am not terribly familiar with the two ballot initiatives. But I am certainly supportive of the Republican Party’s efforts here”…
“This is a huge freaking deal,” wrote Red State founder Erick Erickson. “Playing it too safe is finally biting Romney in the rear end. He’s refused to call social security a Ponzi scheme. He’s refused to offer bold economic reform plans. He’s refused to address significant changes in entitlement reforms. His whole campaign has centered around tapioca.”
As Politico reported, Romney’s non-endorsement looks even worse in light of the fact that, back in June, he said “my friends in Ohio are fighting to defend crucial reforms that the state has put in place to limit the power of union bosses and keep taxes low…I stand with John R. Kasich and Ohio’s leaders as they take on this important fight to get control of government spending.” Evidently, something changed in the last four months to make Romney think that backing SB5 is a political loser.