She, like, totally hearts Romney, you guys. Literally:
"Literally" count: Four. We also learned that "Newt Gingrich is not pop-culturally relevant" to Meggie Mac's generation. Like, at all, you guys. Good to know. Okay, I'll stop goofing on her now, if only to avoid the lawsuit. In all seriousness, we shouldn't hold it against Mitt Romney that Meghan McCain supports his campaign, or that she seems intent on gratuitously bad-mouthing everyone else in the field. He has no control over what she says or does. He does, however, exert control over his own policy positions -- like whether or not he supports Ohio conservatives' efforts to uphold a newly-enacted measure curbing government unions' collective bargaining "rights." I mentioned this little cop-out in my Perry post yesterday, but it deserves a second go 'round:
The former Massachusetts governor visited an Ohio Republican Party phone bank in the suburbs of Cincinnati, where GOP volunteers were contacting voters about two hot-button measures that will be on the Nov. 8 ballot. One of them, Issue 2, would ratify Senate Bill 5 - the controversial legislation backed by Republican Gov. John Kasich that curbs collective bargaining rights for public employees.
Romney expressed generic support for Kasich's efforts to curtail union rights, but he would not say whether he supports or opposes the specific measures. "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 reign 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."
What specific provisions of the law did Romney decline to endorse? Conn Carrol lays out the possibilities:
Kasich's new law: 1) bans government unions from bargaining over health insurance, 2) requires that all government union members pay at least 10% of their wages toward their pensions, 3) ends seniority rights as the sole factor in layoffs, 4) replaces seniority pay raises with merit pay raises, 5) bans government unions from striking, and 6) makes government union dues voluntary. But government unions would still be able to bargain about many other topics including pay and working conditions.
I would like to know which, if any, of these items Mitt Romney doesn't feel comfortable embracing. As Carroll notes, the law is so crucial to righting Ohio's sinking fiscal ship that the state's two largest dailies -- the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Columbus Dispatch -- are urging readers to uphold it. The former paper endorsed Barack Obama for president in 2008. Even so, recent polls show that organized labor's efforts to overturn the landmark legislation have been very effective. That might explain why Romney is suddenly reluctant to weigh in decisively on the question. As is so often the case with the former Massachusetts Governor, that might be clever short-term politics, but it's not leadership. Oh, and I say "suddenly reluctant" because it turns out Romney wasn't quite so reticent a few months ago:
“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,” Romney wrote on Facebook. “I stand with John R. Kasich and Ohio’s leaders as they take on this important fight to get control of government spending. Please visit www.BetterOhio.org for more information.”
Romney was right in June. Is he wavering now? If so, who's to say he won't throw the whole thing overboard sometime in the future? It's this sort of calculating caution that makes Romney so difficult to pin down. Sometimes opportunistic political chameleons get elected. Sometimes they don't. Romney has an authenticity problem with many conservatives -- an issue he'll need to at least partially rectify to win the nomination. Episodes like this won't help.
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