John Kasich believes himself to be a truly dear and inspirational leader and governor.  But by not debating this year, Kasich turned upside down a long-held tradition that allows the public to see the sense and strength of each candidate’s ideas, or why they don’t measure up.   This was a terrible testament to the core theme of  Kasich’s “Courage Is Contagious: Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things to Change the Face of America,” written and released as his ninth term in congress was ending, just prior to his short, ill-fated run for president in 2000.

KasichBookAccording to the Kasich lore of the day: “Now in his ninth term representing central Ohio’s Twelfth Congressional District, House Budget Committee Chairman and presidential hopeful John Kasich has become a nationally recognized leader of the Republican Party. Chief negotiator for the House of Representatives as Congress and President Clinton reached agreement on a plan to balance the budget by 2002, he also chaired the House-Senate committee that wrote the final version of the Welfare Reform Law in 1996. Newsweek named him one of its ‘100 People for the Next Century’ in April 1998.”

Far from being courageous this year, the 62-year old Kasich showed the world just how rude, childish, unprofessional and condescending he is in a video taken by the Plain Dealer newspaper of Cleveland at the only event where he and his challengers, Democratic candidate Ed FitzGerald and Green Party candidate Anita Rios were together in the same room. Kasich’s cowardice in not agreeing to a debate with either challenging candidate apparently was a bad example by itself, but it was apparently contagious enough that the Plain Dealer got cold feet as well and took down its own video of the question and answer exchange after Kasich’s handlers watched it and quickly realized that Johnny Pennsylvania had lived up to his God-given potential to be a total jerk. As one long-time Kasich insider told OhioNewsBureau at Tuesday night’s Republican victory party in downtown Columbus, Kasich has “evolved and matured” and is “the real deal’

But Kasich’s cowardice inspired more than the Plain Dealer to be one too. Ebola is hard to catch, but political cowardice is easy it seems. So easy, in fact, that it spilled over to other statewide races this year, including attorney general, secretary of state and treasurer. Incumbent Republican candidates for these three offices were apparently inspired by Kasich’s example to stiff arm Ohio voters by refusing to debate their challengers that they did the same thing. And it seems the Republican strategy to dump debates isn’t isolated to Ohio either, as other states must have had the Hand of the Lord on them, as Kasich said was the case with him after his “calling” to return to politics, because they essentially ran the same play.

“The values they exhibit are the very values we as a society need to encourage and support if we are to end our nation’s divisiveness and fulfill its glorious promise,” Kasich says. Yet Kasich’s courage to be courageous this year was a dismal failure of the glorious values he wrote other people possess. For John Kasich, who feigns reluctance and non-interest in being president but bathes in the attention he’s gets by playing coy about it, cowardice was his value choice, hiding from opponents and the public. His polished performance productions, the campaign events he held around the state this year, were supposed to communicate his position on the issues. But other that his standard crafted talking points—balancing a budget without raising income taxes, or replenishing a rainy day fund with funds he sequestered from local governments and schools, or accepting $2.5 billion to expand Medicaid to show his so-called compassion for his beloved “people living in the shadows”—many issues from raising the minimum wage to leveling out income inequality never saw the light of day.

As anyone who has looked at basic 2014 voter turnout numbers, Kasich’s four years of accumulated mountain climbing, crossing rivers and lifting people up “no matter their circumstances,” produced one of the lowest voter turnout elections in modern history. With only about 38 percent of voters voting, the cowardly Kasich nonetheless won by the second largest margin in modern history. Impressive out of context, but in context it just means he got a bigger slice of a shrinking pie that wasn’t big to start with. Kasich’s candidacy in 2010 could only brought out less than half of Ohio’s registered voters at the time, which by the way was much higher than the 7.7 million voters registered today, according to state election records. After four years of terrible ideas from a hard-right politician who got his way on most everything he wanted, nearly two-thirds [62%] of voters stayed home.

Kasich’s book, one of several others he’s written that are designed to lump him in with the people he writes about, is at its heart a veiled attach on government, and for Kasich, government bears original sin. It must be reigned in, taught a lesson, constrained, defanged, and milked by the private sector like a dairy farmer milks a cow. One person who read the book and commented, said, “Kasich has crafted a book which should serve as an inspiration to us all to be better human beings by motivating ourselves to assist others in need. If more people acted in the manner described in Kasich’s book, we would all benefit by less government involvement in our daily lives. I strongly recommend that everyone read this great piece of work!”

Kasich says government doesn’t create jobs, and that’s true, especially in light of his campaign messaging that implied the opposite and job creation numbers that put Ohio 45th out of 50 states in that category.