You’ve probably heard a lot about , the citizen-led referendum to repeal , which is Governor Kasich’s attempt to break unions.
What you may not have heard much about is Issue 3, his attempt to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, labeled “Obamacare” by Republicans nationwide. If you are fond of the term “Obamacare,” incidentally, you are probably equally as loathesome of the term “Romneycare,” which one would expect you will be hearing about in the months leading up to the Presidential Election of 2012.
(It’s also why you’ll probably never see Romney choose Herman Cain as his potential Vice President, as I’m sure Republicans are certain they don’t want “Romney/Cain 2012” on yard signs reminding the voters he passed a very similar law as governor of Massachusetts).
Issue 3 ended up on the ballot as a Republican strategy to bring out their base to vote not only for the repeal of any sort of national health care law, but also to vote for Issue 2. Their theory is that they will bring a sizable voting block out to attempt to kill two birds with one stone.
What is disgusting and misleading about Issue 3 is the wording on the ballot itself. When you stop into your local voting booth Tuesday, November 8th, you wil see the following words under the Issue 3 heading:
“TO PRESERVE THE FREEDOM OF OHIOANS TO CHOOSE THEIR HEALTH CARE AND HEALTH CARE COVERAGE”
(the link to prove it is here: http://www.sos.state.oh.us/sos/upload/ballotboard/2011/3-language.pdf)
This means, if you are in favor of the national health care law, you are voting “NO, I do not wish to preserve the freedom of Ohioans to choose their health care.”
Of course, nothing in the national health care law prohibits Ohioans from having the freedom to choose their health care; and whether or not the law is deemed constitutional on a federal level by the Supreme Court (as they will likely decide upon next year), a federal law would trump any additions Ohioans might make to their state constitution. I am fairly certain we fought a war over the federal ability to get states to do things they may or may not want to do.
Besides that, Ohioans are required to buy car insurance in this state, so precedents have already been somewhat set in the matter.
But I digress. The idea behind the language of the ballot, of course, is simple: the Republicans want to not only bring out their base, but trick unwitting voters into amending the Ohio constitution on the basis that they will see the words “preserve the freedom of Ohioans” and vote YES. Because what American would vote against preserving freedom? The ballot might as well say:
“TO PRESERVE THE FREEDOMS OF SUPER-CUTE OHIO BABIES AND THEIR FRAIL, LOVING GRANDMOTHERS FROM DOMESTIC TERRORISTS WHO SEEK TO SWINDLE THEIR HEALTH CARE, PUNCH THEM IN THE FACE, AND THEN SKIN A BALD EAGLE.”
The fact that the Ohio Ballot Board would somehow have approved of this language is pretty shameful. It’s misleading, and should Issue 3 pass and Issue 2 fail overwhelmingly, any political statistician with any common sense would look at the results and understand that something is not quite right here.
This situation is indicative of politics in America at this point. It used to be that we would disagree over things that were seemingly at a rhetorical impasse, with logical arguments being made on both sides. Propaganda has always been a political disease, but with the addition of SuperPACs and the internet the truth is hidden further and further beneath the layers of abdicated responsibility on all sides.
Now we’re dealing with calculated efforts to mislead the public—not just with propaganda—but with blatant lies, hyper-hyperbolic statements, and psychological ruses aimed to get one party to win elections rather than what’s best for the good of the country.
So this ballot language is also a larger sign of our times.
In 1964, Lyndon Johnson ran the infamous “Daisy Girl” ad—where an innocent little girl counts as she picks the petals off flowers only to then hear the voice of a nuclear countdown leading to a juxtaposed image of a nuclear mushroom cloud. The ad ran once, and was considered in such bad taste, it is often taught in schools as historically despicable. Now our daily politics are all “Death Panels,” “The Muslim Antichrist,” and ballot language aimed at tricking voters.
I understand that people are supposed to be responsible enough to knowledgeably understand what they are voting for, but politicians and ballot boards should be responsible enough not to purposefully deceive them as well.