Ohio voters will head to the polls in two weeks and will weigh in Gov. John Kasich’s (R) new law to cut state workers’ collective bargaining rights. Labor and its allies have reason to be optimistic about the vote on SB5 — a Quinnipiac poll released this morning found 57% of Ohioans support repealing the anti-worker law, while only 32% want the law left intact.

A successful repeal effort would be a triumph for unions, who began collecting petition signatures soon after Kasich signed the bill into law in March. Progressive activists quickly formed We Are Ohio and turned in nearly 1.3 million signatures to force the issue onto the November ballot. Kasich is trying to rally support for his SB5 law, but it’s not working — not only does the public oppose the attack on collective bargaining rights, but the governor’s own approval rating has slipped further to 36%.

Mitt Romney, meanwhile, stopped by a Republican campaign office in the state this morning to lend his support — sort of.

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney made a 45-minute visit to a Terrace Park Republican phone bank operation this morning, where volunteers have been making thousands of phone calls to voters urging yes votes on state issues 2 and 3.

But Romney, who would not speak to the media, told Ohio Republican Party chairman Kevin DeWine as he left the building on Wooster Pike in Terrace Park that he was not endorsing either Issue 2 — which would repeal the GOP backed bill that limit collective bargaining for public employees, or Issue 3, which would allow Ohioans to opt out of the mandatory health care coverage portion of the health care law passed by Democrats in Congress last year.

“I’m not saying anything one way or the other about the two ballot issues,” Romney told DeWine. “But I am supportive of the Republican party’s efforts here.”

CNN’s Peter Hamby called it an “incredible moment,” and that seems like a fair description.

Think about what transpired: the Republican presidential frontrunner visited with a Republican phone bank to offer support for the Republican campaign to curtail collective bargaining rights. But Romney refuses to take a position on the issue? He’s “supportive” of their efforts, but he won’t say whether or not he agrees with their efforts?


Putting aside party and ideology, it’s hard to shake the realization that Mitt Romney lacks a certain political courage. He’s so desperate to calculate how every decision might affect his ambitions that he struggles to remember what he believes, and either ends up cowardly ducking issues or taking both sides of nearly every fight. It can be hard to watch, and even harder to respect.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.