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Major Backlash at Right-Wing Ohio Governor Has Him Scrambling for 'Compromise' With Progressives

Recall victories in Wisconsin and plummeting approval ratings have John Kasich scared--and now he wants to make a deal with labor and progressive groups.

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The ramifications of Kasich's overreach go beyond Ohio state politics. Sherrod Brown, one of the Senate's most progressive members, is up for reelection in 2012 and has survived a drop in support that most Democrats felt in 2010--a recent poll rated him the most popular politician in the state. The loss of Brown in the Senate would be felt across the country by progressives looking for a champion on labor and jobs.  

And of course there's the presidential election in 2012, which could very well hinge on Ohio. Foley pointed out that the infrastructure built by We Are Ohio and organized labor has created a solid progressive base in the state that will be there going forward. But the presidential election will also require Democrats to do more than wait for Kasich and his cronies to screw up--if there's no serious action on jobs by 2012, Ohio, which has counties dealing with up to 15 percent unemployment, may be ambivalent at best toward President Obama. 

That might be the real benefit of these campaigns—creating a grassroots infrastructure in swing states like Wisconsin and Ohio, bringing together broad coalitions that recognize their common interests, and training new organizers who then have skills and experience for future fights.  

That's enough reason, for now, not to give in to Kasich's conciliatory attempts.  

“We have 1.3 million people who signed this petition,” Foley said. “How do you compromise when you've got that many people out there who want to overturn this thing?”

Sarah Jaffe is an associate editor at AlterNet, a rabblerouser and frequent Twitterer. You can follow her at @seasonothebitch.

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