Last week, Ted Strickland compared John Kasich to Ken Blackwell in a comments to the press at the Ohio State Fair. Jon Keeling heard about this in Virginia and got the vapors.
I don’t know why. Anyone that reviews what little the Kasich campaign has shared sees an awful alot of similarities:
- Both claim the legacy of President Ronald Reagan.
- Both are economic and social conservatives.
- Both frequently compared Ohio’s economy to Florida’s to try to sell their platforms.
- Both ran on platform of large tax cuts for the richest Ohioans as a “job creation” plan.
- Both ran on platforms with vague calls for even more tort reform than what Republicans had already passed into law in the 1990s as a “job creation” plan.
- Kasich’s education plan is virtually identical to Blackwell’s education platform: more school vouchers, more policies benefiting the private, for-profit charter school operators who heavily donate to their campaigns.
- Both campaigns had a signature economic issue (Blackwell with the TEL Amendment and Kasich with the income and estate tax repeals) that made legislative Republicans nervous because of the budgetary pain those plans would cause Ohio’s cities and local governments.
- Both, at one time fully embraced the Presidency of George W. Bush:
- But after President Bush and his policies became unpopular, both ran as “renegade” Republicans.
- Both oppose allow gay couples to adopt and protecting other civil rights to members of the GLBT community.
- Both have cited their business experience as making them “uniquely” qualified to improve Ohio’s economy (except in Blackwell’s case, he actually can credibly say he is a successful business man.)
- Both are regular conservative talking heads on Fox News where they routinely bash President Obama and his policies.
- Both support privatizing government services on a wide scale (even though Ohio history shows that it rarely saves money and has normally resulted in the loss of private sector jobs to out-of-state private companies.)
I’m sure I could come up with more, but those are the similarities I could come up with on the top of my head. In the end, you’d be hard press to see a difference between the few hints Kasich has made of his platform in 2010 and the more open platform Blackwell ran on ‘06. In fact, its probably this very similarity is why Kasich has prided himself for not talking about his platform.
There are some differences, but they’re mostly differences in emphasis than true differences in policy. Ken Blackwell was better on gun rights than Kasich. Blackwell tends to focus more on social conservative issues while Kasich focuses more on economic conservative issues. Kasich is not, it appears, banking on a massive religious conservative GOTV strategy like Blackwell, but this is a difference in political strategies, not policy. However, while the focus is different, on the issues, they are largely the same.
In hindsight, Blackwell’s TEL amendment, which would have only limited the growth in state and local government spending was not nearly as radical when compare to Kasich’s reckless tax plans which could cost the State as much as nearly half its revenues.
Keeling can squeal all he wants, but the comparison is apt. Despite the fact that Kasich one time threatened to run in ‘06 because it looked like Blackwell was going to win the nomination, that has more to do with a personal rivalry than an actual difference of policy.
Ken Blackwell and John Kasich, on the issues, are virtually indistinguishable from one another.