It doesn’t take much these days to ignite soaring media interest in a speculative presidential campaign by Gov. Kasich. In a matter of 24 hours, at least two of the remaining Ohio metropolitan newspapers dashed into print long stories spinning off a Wall Street Journal article that claimed the guv would “rebrand the Republican Party”. Oh?
The relay of exciting Kasich prospects came in the Columbus Dispatch and Plain Dealer. Nothing surprising there. Both had endorsed him in his first gubernatorial campaign and quite likely are headed in the same repetitive motion directlon when he’s back on the ballot in 2014. So enamored of Kasich are both papers these days that one wonders what will be left in their political arsenals as he heads down the stretch next year.
(At this point I should note that the Beacon Journal had not a word about this journalistic uprising.)
The Dispatch’s entry glowed on the front page and was written by the paper’s authorized Kasich biographer, Joe Vardon, who always turns up in full gush when there’s anything helpful to add to Kasich’s surging political career. In fairness, Kasich always shrugs off such speculation linking him to White House ambition, which, in politics, is a non-denial denial. Besides, it was pointed out that Kasich no longer wants to refer to ObamaCare but rather to “Hillarycare” – which tells you what he’s got in his telescope as …um.. a non candidate.
The governor’s name hit the sweet spot in the Plain Dealer with political writer Henry Gomez, who quoted some passages by Vardon quoting the WSJ. Gomez told us that Kasich was emerging from unpopularity a few years ago to now being the “trendy GOP pick for the presidency in 2106.”
As a rule, despite the media-ites, Republicans don’t pay much attention to trends now, if you consider their hostility toward women’s issues, abortion, gay marriage, minimum wage, unencumbered voting and more liberal immigration policies.
Yes, times are changing. But my experience from my Columbus days reminds me that nothing has changed at the Dispatch. A long time ago it was the leading engine in Central Ohio when Jim Rhodes won four terms. Even though fliers turned up at the GOP conventions with Rhodes-for-president verbiage, nothing frightened Rhodes more than a a starring role in a national campaign. He said he was in no way interested, and you could believe him.
A couple of cautionary notes: The Big D went all out for Mitt Romney and the paper’s home county of Franklin went for Obama. As for the Plain Dealer, it has lopped off staff and retreated to a four-day-a week home delivery.
But if Kasich says he’s not eager to head the national ticket, don’t believe him. Every politician has a big ego and stars in his eye. In his case the star he sees is John Kasich.