I have to admit that Kyle Sisk asked a pretty good question today:

What kind of lifestyle are John, Karen and the twins leading that Kasich has to continue to do speeches for large speaking fees to just about anyone…and I mean anyone…across the US???

I was already thinking about this myself after I heard Kasich was scheduled to give the keynote address at CHS inc’s annual meeting in early December.

CHS is a company from Minnesota that sells crop nutrients, livestock feed, grains and other related products. Not exactly the type of high-profile gig that helps improve your name recognition with Ohio’s voters.

The only reason to do this, of course, is money.

But with Kasich already a few months behind Strickland in campaign fundraising, the question seems obvious: why the hell is John out running around the country charging big fees to make keynote speeches when he should be campaigning and raising campaign cash for 2010?

You do know you can’t use these speaking fees for your campaign, right John?

So what’s all the money for? Didn’t he make enough as a partner at Lehman Bros? As the host of his own show on Fox? Didn’t he save anything?

I could half-jokingly say it was for his drug habit or for prostitutes. Or for hush money to the people who know about his drug habit and his frequent visits to prostitutes. But then I’d mainly be just be guessing and making stuff up.

The truth is probably much less glamorous and much more troubling. And Kyle’s ‘lifestyle’ suggestion certainly seems like a possibility.

After all, John does have a 12 room, eight hundred thousand dollar mansion on a golf course in Westerville – a ridiculously large house for a family of four.

When he built it ten years ago Kasich was still single and, as far as I know, still living off his pretty modest congressional salary. He wasn’t married yet but he was engaged to his second wife – a gal 11 years his junior.

From what I’ve heard, John seems like the kind of guy who would go out and do amazingly stupid things just to show people how rich and important he is. Like building a 12 room mansion on a golf course to impress his new trophy wife even though his income is no where near enough to pay for it.

That’s a pretty ballsy move for a guy making barely 6 figures a year. But I’m sure it wasn’t the first time – and certainly not the last. And it seems quite possible that John has racked up some serious additional debt over the years trying to live outside of his means.

I’m not going to go so far as to say that John Kasich is a raving egomaniac who is more concerned with his image than with the financial security of his family – but it certainly is possible that he spent a lot more than he earned over the years and now he’s trying to catch up.

So possible, in fact, that I feel pretty comfortable classifying Kyle’s “extravagant lifestyle” theory as “very likely”.

There are certainly other possibilities, though. But I’ll leave those for another post.