John Kasich was the head pastor Saturday morning at a Republican political tent show that featured as his lead-in, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. One political pundit recently muffed Christie’s name, mistakenly calling him Chris “Crispy.” Appearing on the David Letterman Show last week, funny man Jim Carrey’s flub of the Garden State governor’s name probably even made some commonsense conservatives laugh.
Mr. Crispy and Mr. casual Fridays stood out from the crowd of other white men and women at Don Scott airport by wearing their special governor’s jackets. For Kasich, that was a black zip jacket sporting the Ohio flag and the Great Seal of the State of Ohio. For Christie, it was a navy blue zipup number with a tiny outline of the State of New Jersey dominated by “Jersey Fresh” logo. Gov. Crispy showed just how fresh he is last week when he shouted down a Hurricane Sandy recovery victim, bullying him to “Shut up. Sit down.”
Chronically uncompassionate pal politicians like Crispy and Kasich always feel the need to remind everyone of their compassion, because their programs and policies over time have shown just the opposite. Crispy and Kasich walk the same walk and talk the same talk, if there’s any daylight between them on almost anything, it’s nothing that rises to moral compass issues, nuances in management is the best it gets.
And so it was again today at the mid-morning rally, where Crispy made his pitch that Gov. Kasich, who has a mean streak that’s matured with age, is “a compassionate conservative who cares about the less fortunate just as much as he cares about job growth and a balanced budget,” according to one reporter at the event.
In 2010, Johnny Pennsylvania brought out his treasure trove of Kasichisms, many of which come pre-dipped in a soothing bath of Bible babble to convince his audience he’s a man of faith who listens to The Lord, which he implies he did when he got a “calling” to return to politics. God-given is always the first and last trump card played in the Church of Kasich. The first paragraph about him on his campaign website wastes no time in invoking Him. “Recognized nationally as a leader who takes an independent and innovative approach in order to get results, John Kasich is working with Ohioans to create the climate for people from every corner of the state and every walk of life to have the opportunity to fulfill their God-given potential.”
Four years ago beating Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland was all about climbing a mountain, a favorite Kasichism, used again when he set up this run for reelection by singing a $62 billion budget [the largest in state history, BTW] the day before the start of the new fiscal year on July 1, 2013. This election cycle, the biblical metaphor is about crossing a river. Cuyahoga, Scioto, Maumee, Ohio, or the River Jordan? “What we need to do is reach out to our Democratic niece and nephew, or friend down the street, or somebody that you argue with at the water cooler and say, ‘What’s the choice? You got the jobs, you got the budget, you got the health. We’re bringing everybody together. Come across the river,’” according to one reporter present.
With all the rugged terrain metaphors in play by Ohio’s very Republican governor, it makes Kasich sound like he’s had his own Lewis and Clarke search going on, but instead of finding a path for more to take, he seeks a passage only the Kasichateers can fit through, and that bus doesn’t hold a lot. Lewis and Clark climbed real mountains and crossed real rivers; for Kasich, his bantering, wrapped in swaddling words, is nothing more than a carefully honed strategy designed to avoid answering questions on his governance.
Refusing to answer questions is, for this governor, a demonstration of his hostility to the public interest, and all the ways constitutions, Federal and state, protect it. Kasich tried to ignore the state constitution, but the constitution, in its present form, won. That may not be the case in the future should the Constitutional Modernization Commission veer hardright and implant, with the help of a skillfully promoted packaged that garners 50.1% of the vote to win, some very bad things in the constitution. The Westerville Wizard took some scalps several times already this year by refusing to answer questions submitted to him in writing by various newspaper editorial groups, or even the radicals who call themselves The League of Women Voters, arguably one of America’s most nonpartisan groups.
Crispy and Kasich are sort of the Laurel and Hardy of modern politics. As Oliver Hardy used to say to Stan Laurel when the situation turned very bad for both of them, “Well, here’s another fine mess you’ve got us into.” The comedy stylings of Crispy and Kasich may be funny to some, but to others, especially those living in shadows created by Kasich, the “best is yet to come” promises by both governors by another name will be “another fine mess” they’ve gotten us all into.