Put the American Policy Roundtable, ProgressOhio and the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law in the same room and you would expect some pretty serious arguing to result.
That's because they approach politics from different ideological philosophies. ProgressOhio is an unabashedly progressive - OK, liberal - organization, while the other two come from the conservative end of the political spectrum.
But they are in the same room talking about taking a case to the Ohio Supreme Court to overturn a recent state appellate court decision that said ProgressOhio and two Democratic lawmakers can't challenge the constitutionality of Gov. John R. Kasich's JobsOhio agency. The governor created the agency, with the help of Republican lawmakers, out of the Department of Development to move more quickly to attract and grow businesses in Ohio.
"We are almost always on the opposite side of ProgressOhio on substantive issues," Maurice Thompson, executive director of the Columbus-based 1851 Center, told The Enquirer. "In fact, they have sued to shut down some of our initiatives, so we could not like them less."
When a court in a separate case ruled that the Roundtable, based near Cleveland, didn't have standing to challenge the state's decision to allow video slot machines at racetracks, the organization held a press conference at ProgressOhio's Columbus office.
"Who across the state would think the Roundtable would be in the offices of ProgressOhio?" asked Rob Walgate, vice president of the conservative group.
"While we may not agree on what day of the week it is, we agree on the same things as it comes to the law. We agree the law should be followed.
"We have different visions of what we think the law should be or the intent of the application, but we both believe in the process. And we believe, according to the constitution, citizens ought to be involved."
Thompson agreed. On the issue of an Ohioan's ability to use the Ohio Constitution to challenge a government decision, "we could not agree with (ProgressOhio) any more and could not agree with the appellate court's decision less. We could not be more concerned about the standing issue than we are."
Brian Rothenberg, executive director of ProgressOhio, told The Enquirer that people are surprised the groups are of like minds.
"I came up in a different era of politics at the statehouse in the late 1980s and early 1990s where it wasn't as personal," he said. "Decisions were made based on what the issue was. You weren't demonizing people, you were talking to people even when you disagreed with them."
He said there is a much more polarized dialogue at the statehouse now.
"When people look at organizations like mine or the Roundtable, they sometimes equate things in sort of red or blue terms," Rothenberg said. "But there are times, maybe not for the same reasons, that groups on the left and groups on the right can actually agree."