As Gov. John Kasich managed to rile up thousands of union workers across the state, threatening a decades-held right to bargain collectively with the big, indiscriminant stick of budget cuts, he at least did one thing right: He got people to go downtown.
If any good can be found in the governor's union-busting crusade, it must be that. Protests are good for business.
Rather than asking unions to the table-such dialogue appears to be far too genteel for the tough-talking former Fox Newser-Kasich picked the path of most resistance. Union members know the state is in dire budgetary straits; state workers already were taking 10 furlough days a year. But they weren't given the chance to talk about concessions. Instead, Kasich suggested taking away their right to talk collectively at all. And so he provoked thousands to flock to downtown, thereby boosting sales of concessions.
Union members came angry and they came hungry. They snacked in solidarity.
As a story in the Dispatch mentioned, the protests were a boon to downtown eateries not accustomed to having people to feed past 2 pm.
Sign holders can be fortified with sandwiches from Au Bon Pain on Third Street. And those potentially losing money from future pensions can at least seek consolation in that delicious green sauce at El Arepazo in the alley.
Come for the rally, stay for the Ringside, with burgers as good as they claim.
Man can't live on righteous indignation alone.
Maybe Kasich is on to something. Getting people to come downtown has been a struggle since the now departed City Center stopped being cool more than a decade ago. The thrill of seeing democracy in action during a routine Senate committee hearing just isn't the lure your social studies teacher wishes it was.
But by going after a smart, organized and engaged group that doesn't mind a good protest, Kasich attracted more than 8,500 people to the area for a few days. And that was in February! Imagine if he'd threatened workers' rights in more temperate weather.
So, for the future, I suggest Kasich only attempt to pass bills that are unpopular. (A New York Times and CBS poll showed 60 percent of Americans oppose weakening collective bargaining.)
It also was canny of Kasich to rile up Jesse Jackson by removing Martha Harris from the state school board over a technicality to put in his own pick, drawing the reverend to town in February. Free publicity for Columbus. Well done, guv!
He might manage to draw earth-hugging, protest-loving hippies by going after the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, whose bow he's already fired a shot across by insisting it holds back business and job creation. Everyone, into your Priuses!
Surely there must be some funding to universities he could cut as well. You know how college kids love a good cause.
The unveiling of his state budget in mid March was a prime opportunity to provoke, as it was impossible to please everyone with the huge cuts that had to be made. I can only hope that he protects businesses and people with high-paid lobbyists and goes after the little guy, who is much more inclined to stand outside and complain.
And pay for parking.