One potential 2016 presidential ticket combination will be on display in Columbus again this Saturday when New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie joins John Kasich for a” Victory Rally in Franklin County.” Kasich and Christie will be joined by other statewide leaders as part of the “Ohio Works Bus Tour. Christie, whose part-time job is to head the Republican Governors’ Association and help elect Republican candidates, will be on stage with Kasich in Columbus just three days before Election Day.
Christie came to Ohio in 2010 and proclaimed his love for John Kasich. He renewed his betrothal to Kasich again this year, hoping to help Kasich win big, a victory both governors would point to as proof voters see the magic Gov. Kasich has performed. This could play into Christie’s narrative that the next president should be a state governor with a solid track record of success.
But as Christie and Kasich bask in the pre-glory that hoovers over the race for governor in Ohio this year, their political party is mired in an agenda with no vision, that others say is all wrapped up in promoting the false narrative that President Barack Obama has been a failure.
The GOP strategy this year, as it has been since 2008, is to not recognize anything good the Obama Administration. From the stimulus that saved the nation from a far larger depression, to Obamacare that has driven down healthcare costs as it allowed previously uninsurable people to buy affordable health coverage. Meanwhile, the no-vision Christie-Kasich comedy team is befuddled by numbers that demonstrate just exactly how poorly both have done with job creation. Both proclaim success on this topic despite numbers that show just how bad they are at it.
Christie and Kasich run states that, measured over 12 months, dwell near the bottom of all 50 states in job creation. According to updated information from Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business, Ohio fell from 37 to 45 in job creation while New Jersey has settled in at 48th out of 50. Being a bottom dweller is not a good selling point for what they can do for the nation, which under President Obama has regained all the private sector jobs lost during the Great Recession and then some. Christie and Kasich cannot admit that because the truth hurts, and the truth of their administrations is that they’ve adhered to old school Republican ideas like cutting taxes on the wealthy by tax shifting to middle class and low-income people, deregulating government even more and passing spending bills that make fiscal hawks gag at their audacity.
Karl Rove, a one-time Republican king maker who brought you George W. Bush, said a “governing vision” by the GOP has proved to be the problem. “Republicans are glib at saying what it is not – not Obama – but get tongue-tied when trying to explain what it is,” writes Robert Borosage at Campaign for America’s Future, a progressive advocacy group. Borosage says that the problem is when the conversation turns from horse race to issues, “not Obama” isn’t exactly persuasive. “Obama is for health care reform, for comprehensive immigration reform, for raising the minimum wage, for equal pay for equal work, for free all-day preschool, for rebuilding our infrastructure and putting people to work, for paid family leave, for making college more affordable, for insuring that the rich and corporations pay a more fair share of our taxes to help pay for this stuff,” he writes Monday, adding, “Republicans voted virtually in lock step against all these in Congress and oppose them on the campaign trail. While Obama hasn’t exactly been a forceful advocate of these reforms, the reforms themselves are popular.”
According to published reports, Gov. Christie said in an interview with “Fox News Sunday” that Republicans face a “daunting task” in defending 22 of 36 governor’s seats in November’s election but pointed to competitive campaigns in Michigan, Massachusetts, Illinois and Connecticut as fresh evidence of offense heading into the campaign’s final week. Ohio probably isn’t in question, but Florida, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Maine, all states that elected Tea Party governors like Kasich in 2010, could see a change at the top as voters send austerity CEOs like Scott, Walker, Corbett and LePage, respectively, to their political graves.
Should Gov. Christie do in 2016 what many wanted him to do in 2012, run for president, he might have his list of state governors whittled down a lot, such that Kasich could be one of the few GOP governors who will withstand voter ire. Christie’s field of possible candidates would be greatly diminished, leaving Ohio’s skinny, hunchbacked governor, who himself has visions of White House sugar plum fairies dancing in his head, as his self-selecting bromance of choice.
Ohio has been a Republican state for decades, ever since 1994 when the GOP captured the legislature and all statewide offices and held onto them until 2006, when their corruption in government became so flagrant that voters turned them out for Democrats. But they reclaimed their positions in 2010 and may well do the same again this year, although hope remains that Democrats can again move into seats other than governor.
National Democrats have won Ohio 4 out of the last 6 presidential elections. Picking Kasich or Ohio Sen. Rob Portman in 2016 for the big ticket could be a factor that puts Ohio in play for the GOP. But a ticket made up of two governors who have such poor track records in creating jobs won’t be a winning hand since neither one can offer a new vision for Republicans that doesn’t deviate one whit from past GOP policies Christie and Kasich champion that have turned out to be big duds.