After the Walker recall failed, people suggested that the difference between Kasich and Walker was that Walker had repaired his poor image among voters, while John Kasich had not. And the polls bear him out:
The red line tracks Kasich’s disapproval rating while the black line shows voter approval. His low point came last fall as his collective bargaining reform went down to defeat. By March, he’d hit his peak, likely tied to his attempt to position himself to the left of his GOP counterparts in the legislature by proposing a miniscule tax increase on oil & gas drillers. But it was short-lived.
In fact, the most recent polling available, released May 31 by Rasmussen, shows the Governor’s unpopularity at an all-time high of 56 percent.
So what’s an unpopular Governor to do?
Enlist your friends at the Dispatch to try to help repair your sagging image.
Just three days after the Rasmussen poll, the Dispatch ran a Joe Hallett piece with this gag-worthy headline: “Kasich stepping on toes because he’s doing what’s right.”
Clearly aimed at portraying Kasich as a moderate willing to fight his own party, not the extremist you saw privatizing state government, fighting transparency, cutting funds for local government in half and attempting to eliminate collective bargaining rights for public workers, the Hallett piece played loose with facts. Many of the examples of Kasich “fighting” his party to do what was right weren’t fights at all—Republicans are more than happy to push Cleveland School reforms that resemble SB5 and funnel tax levy dollars to charter schools. Similarly, we don’t recall opposition from either party to the collateral sanctions bill.
Hallett also gives credit to Kasich for doing “the right thing” when he quite clearly didn’t – signing the Lake Erie water withdrawal bill after vetoing an earlier, slightly worse version, is not the act of an environmental champion. Nor is watering down the state’s renewable energy portfolio. And his opposition to Right to Work has more to do with just having had his ass spanked by labor than a principled policy stance.
But to the average reader who didn’t pay attention to these policy debates, Hallett presents Kasich as a middle-of-the-road guy just fighting the good fight and confronting entrenched interests in Columbus. No mention is made of Kasich surrounding himself with lobbyists who have signed up as clients the same companies that have benefited from his policies or of naming a lobbyist who pled guilty to public corruption charges as Executive Director of the Ohio Republican Party. If he’s fighting any entrenched interests, it’s in an attempt to serve his own interests.
Also in the June 3 edition of the Dispatch, Joe Vardon reported a piece headlined “Conservatives find fault with Kasich” which cites a handful of examples where voices on the far right discuss policy differences they have with Kasich. Paired with the Hallett piece, the headline is designed to give Dispatch readers the impression of Kasich as a moderate, willing to go against some on the right.
Readers of Plunderbund know this isn’t true.
Kasich is as extreme as they come. Starting with his support of privatization, his budget and its drastic cuts to local governments and shifting of public money to private and parochial schools, his attack on collective bargaining, his embrace of fracking, support for gerrymandered Congressional districts, signing into law a rollback of early voting, enacting every piece of anti-choice legislation that hit his desk and even his recent comments in support of drug testing welfare beneficiaries.
The Dispatch is so in the tank for Kasich, we assume there will be more of this re-branding effort in the weeks and months to come.