You must read Joe Klein’s “Swampland” Blog Post on Time Magazine.
I always saw Kasich as more a legislative character than an executive–he was too wild, too undisciplined and wonky–and though he’s aged some, he remains the same John Kasich. When I caught up with him this morning, he was holding a press conference in a factory, announcing a new job training initiative, flailing his arms around a convoluted box-and-line chart, saying, “Look at all this stuff–all these programs–and no coordination!” The trouble was, his solution was, well, incomprehensible.
He wanted to create a new board supervising the jobs training programs from out of the Governor’s office. But wasn’t that yet another layer of bureaucracy? Never mind. He did have one good idea: giving employers training vouchers they could give to their workers to go to local tech schools and community colleges to plus-up their skills. (I later learned that the current Ohio Governor Ted Strickland already has a similar program. Oh well, never mind.)
Strickland is very much a grownup. He is 69 years old, a former minister who grew up poor in southern Ohio’s hillbilly country, one of nine children. He compares himself to a salmon swimming upstream during this Republican year, “but salmon ultimately make it upstream,” he smiles, “and spawn.” He has balanced Ohio’s budget without raising taxes the past two years. And he isn’t running scared when it comes to defending the President or the Democratic agenda. “I was just up in Lordstown,” he told a group of supporters in Delaware, Ohio, this afternoon. “They opened a new Chevy plant.” The plant had hired 4500 workers to produce 1260 copies of the Chevy Cruise, which is not a hybrid but gets 40 miles per gallon. “That wouldn’t be happening if the President hadn’t helped the auto industry.”
He then told a pretty amazing story: At a moment when Obama was still considering the auto bailout, top executives from Honda–which operates a huge engine plant in Marysville, Ohio–asked to meet him on a frigid night. They said, “We’re not often advocates for our competitors, but 80% of our subcontractors also do work for the Big Three”–the anachronistic nickname for Ford, GM and Chrysler–“and it’s a very fragile network. If the American companies fail, some of our subcontractors may go out of business. Please ask the President to help save GM and Chrysler…
“I’m here to talk about the Democratic philosophy of government,” he said, sticking out his chest just a bit. “Government has a role to play.”
Except for his radical tax plans that he almost never mentions anymore except to hyperpartisan audiences, Kasich is running on a platform to extend Governor Strickland’s record.
You almost have to wonder if this is how Tuesday’s gubernatorial debate is going to go: