Ohio Gov. John Kasich stiffed-armed everyone this year by refusing to debate any of his challengers for governor. His campaign’s initial flimsy excuse was that Ed FitzGerald’s campaign imploded. But later the cowardly Kasich defended his decision by declaring that everyone knows where he stands on various issues, because he spends lots of time at carefully constructed GOP-friendly events built to showcase the master in his traveling Evangelical tent show.
John Kasich once thought he was ready for prime time on the national scene in 2000 until his launch for POTUS crashed and burned. Now he and his disciples boost the buzz that he will be a presidential contender in 2016 by offering intentionally cryptic comments about whether he will run or not that keep his name afloat. Johnny Pennsylvania will have a date certain to show up or not for the first round of GOP debates.
The Reagan Library, located in Simi Valley, announced that “potential GOP presidential candidates will be invited to participate in a televised debate at the Reagan Library on September 16, 2015. Former First Lady Nancy Reagan said of the future event, “Ronnie would be so pleased to know that his presidential library continues to attract America’s leaders to discuss the future of the country he loved so dearly.”
At age 30, the glib governor known for sticking his foot in his mouth, was elected in 1982 to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served for 18 years before trying his hand at national politics, then going to work for Lehman Brothers and the Fox News channel before accepting his so-called “calling” to return to public life in 2010. Kasich jumped in front of the Tea Party parade and used absorbed their energy and activism to win enough votes to squeak to a narrow victory over former Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland. Kasich came of political age during President Reagan’s two terms in office, and loves to be described as an acolyte of The Great Communicator.
On Saturday, Kasich will again be with another GOP heavy weight, Chris Christie. The Garden State governor will join Ohio’s first-term hard-right CEO for a victory rally in central Ohio. Christie is on a final swing before Election Day next Tuesday to pump up GOP candidates like Kasich. Christie, the governor of one of the worst performing states on job creation [48th out of 50], will continue to proclaim his “love” for Kasich, whose state ranks just nearly as low [45th out of 50].
Chairman of the Republican Governors Association and among the top names to try to claim the nomination in two years, Gov. Christie will likewise have to decide whether it’s his time to enter the GOP presidential primary debates. It will interesting to see just how interested John Kasich really is in a White House run as September 16 nears. Ohio media gave him a pass this year on refusing to even one on-stage confrontation with FitzGerald or Green Party gubernatorial hopeful Anita Rios.
It’s hard to image that national media won’t stomp all over Mr. casual Fridays for stiff arming the Republican sweepstakes, where his poor record, especially on job creation, will be on display and not ignored as Buckeye media has done. Playing coy is one of Gov. Kasich’s favorite tactics. He did it with success this year, but that won’t play well for him going forward. And for those who followed the rugged debate schedules for the GOP class of 2012, when candidates from Mitt Romney, the eventually winner who lost the national race by five million votes to President Obama, to Godfather’s Pizza leader Herman Cain and Minnesota’s crazy congressman Michelle Backman and others ripped each other apart, Ohio’s go-go CEO style governor’s favorite tune, that he’s above politics and Republicans should remake themselves in his image, will fly as well as bird without wings. Or in his case, a governor that’s nearly all perception with little to no production.
Mark the date, John, September 16th of next year. John Kasich will either take his spot on stage or he won’t. If he does, he’ll be chewed up. If he doesn’t, he’ll be chewed up, too. So what’s it going to be, governor? We’re all waiting to see how you play this one.