What? You didn't hear about it?
First, lets start with some background. On Sunday, the Columbus Dispatch published the aforementioned editorial calling for the 2 sides of the SB5 debate to compromise for the sake of the state. In it, they stated that Governor Kasich had made efforts to deal on the bill.
Gov. John Kasich previously has made overtures to union leaders for compromise, but so far, union leaders have not reciprocated.This sent the unions and the left, especially our pals over at Ohio left-wing loony headquarters, Plunderbund, into quite a little fit. They even accused the Dispatch of fabricating the story.
Monday, We Are Ohio released a statement that they were not interested in any deals, and were going full steam ahead with the referendum. The same day, the Dispatch reported that there HAD been negotiations between people close to Governor Kasich, and representatives from both the Ohio Education Association (OEA) and the AFL-CIO.
Today, sources told Dispatch reporters that informal discussions between two people affiliated with the defense of Senate Bill 5 and representatives from the Ohio Education Association and the AFL-CIO took place about six weeks ago, but labor backed away.So, back to today. We Are Ohio said they had a "major campaign announcement" scheduled for 2:00 PM. The major announcement was to, er, repeat what they said on Monday, that they were still going forward with the referendum.
That's some announcement, huh?
As you'll see in the video below, Joe Vardon from the Dispatch even asks We Are Ohio spokesperson Melissa Fazekas, "Didn't you say this on Monday?" Watch the video of the presser today. Skip ahead to about 6:20 where they start taking questions.
Video courtesy Ohio Capital Blog
Her response is that they made the "major announcement" because there was talk about the two sides meeting to compromise. She then goes on to claim that neither Governor Kasich, nor anyone representing him ever reached out to compromise. She denied it, just like Plunderbund had claimed it was false. Now, Joe Vardon from the Dispatch was at the press conference, and asked her again, point blank, "were there discussions about a compromise that included high level people from the OEA and AFL-CIO?" She said that no conversations ever took place. She calls the reports of such conversations "rumors", and such rumors were the reason they had to make this "major announcement" today.
Confused yet? They say there were no discussions about a compromise. But they had to schedule a major announcement in response to the discussions that didn't happen. And the major announcement was that were would be no compromise. Uhh...yeah. Thanks for wasting everyone's time.
Except, that the conversations apparently DID happen. In his report today, Joe Vardon reports that there were indeed such conversations, and names names.
But, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the discussions, high-ranking officials from two of We Are Ohio’s biggest supporters did meet on several occasions to discuss parameters of a possible deal with two people affiliated with the defense of Senate Bill 5.Once again, a tip of the hat to GOHPBlog for being all over this story, and summing it up quite well.
Sources said that in June, Ohio Education Association vice president William Leibensperger and AFL-CIO president Tim Burga met at least twice with former Republican Ohio House Speaker Jo Ann Davidson and Chan Cochran, a confidant of Gov. John Kasich.
These aren’t just a couple of campaign volunteers getting together with two Kasich voters. These are the two biggest supporters of We Are Ohio reaching out to hugely influential Kasich confidants.Ohio Capital Blog's Marc Kovac sums up the pointlessness of today's event at the end of the video perfectly.
This was not a backroom deal—it was We Are Ohio’s A-Squad seriously negotiating with Kasich’s top advisors.
So not only did We Are Ohio waste the time and energy of the statehouse news corps, and not only did they call out a legitimate and respected news organization, but they completely and blatantly lied about it.
So, the major campaign announcement is that you're not pulling this from the ballot, but you never actually toyed with the idea of pulling it from the ballot.I'm sure an apology to the Dispatch from We are Ohio and Plunderbund is forthcoming. Right?