The Bible warns against worshiping false gods, but that hasn’t stopped the capital city newspaper’s chapter of the I-love-John-Kasich-fan-club from repeating the now debunked history that, but for then Congressman John Kasich, there would not have been a balanced budget during the presidency of one William Jefferson Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States who won two terms in the White House that included consecutive wins in Ohio in 1992 and 1996.
But that was exactly the all-too revealing idol worship that popped up in print again in last Sunday’s edition of one of Ohio’s largest newspapers. Ever ready to fuel the fire of just how indispensable John Kasich has been to the nation and now Ohio, the paper’s “Capital Insider” reporter oozed glee when the governor of Ohio set Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker straight on who was the responsible party on achieving a balanced federal budget in the late 1990s. Like a show pony on display, Kasich traipsed down to Florida last week to join the gaggle of other GOP governors there to win the hearts and minds of mega-donors ready to back a winner in 2016.
Gov. Walker, who like Kasich was reelected to a second term earlier this month and who routinely bashes President Barack Obama, said the budget deal the Clinton White House and Congressional Republicans of the day reached was lacking in confrontation. Then as now, John Kasich, like his alter ego of today, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, was all about cutting the federal budget to balance it. “Look, I did it,” Kasich told Walker, as reported by Capital Insider. “I was one of the architects of that balanced budget. I know what it was like, and it wasn’t fun.”
For budget history scholars, the first budget that began to reduce the federal deficit was President Clinton’s first budget of 1993, a budget every Republican including John Kasich voted against. In 2010, four years into Kasich’s stealth campaign to run for governor, the Dayton Daily News had already sized up Kasich’s revised recollections of what happened in Washington and who was really responsible for it. And legitimate accounts don’t credit John Kasich for most of it.
Indeed, a DDN editorial at the time said, “Mr. Kasich painted himself as the ‘chief architect’ of the budget surplus at the end of Bill Clinton’s presidency. He was chairman of the House Budget Committee. He said he is ‘willing to share credit,’ but he really didn’t seem to mean it. He did, in fact, play a constructive role, being early to put together a plan for balancing the budget. But by most accounts, the hero of the surplus was the booming economy of the 1990s. Actually, Mr. Kasich wants credit for that, too.”
Gov. Kasich has a long history of foot-in-mouth disease, and DDN called him out on it: “This plan will not work,” Kasich said then about Clinton’s budget. “If it was to work, then I’d have to become a Democrat and believe that more taxes and bigger government is the answer.” Kasich the denier denied then that the Clinton program worked. “Perhaps the 1993 Clinton initiative doesn’t deserve credit. Clearly, though, the Kasich types — the true-believers in conservative ideology — were profoundly wrong. The disastrous consequences they predicted never happened.”
It’s basic Kasich to mislead by conflating and misconstruing two events as if they were really causal and connected. Standing in stark contrast to current Kasichlore, economic historians know it was the growth of the 1990s that balanced the budget. Indeed, the Clinton budget Kasich voted against worked wonderfully, and Kasich, as he’s done before, took credit for an outcome he voted against. With revenues filling federal coffers, the Westerville Wizard jumped in front of that parade by putting himself center stage.
Kasichlore recalls his Balanced Budget Act of 1997 as the single achievement that created the economic prosperity of that decade. But history shows it was the Clinton economy, started years before, that drove job creation and revenues sufficient to produce surpluses that would not have produced a balanced budget without them. Kasich, of course, wanted to cut government spending then as he does now, notwithstanding the fact that his two biennial budgets have been the largest spending plans in state history, with the second being even more than the first one.
It’s well known that Kasich likes to buddy up to success, but is quick to dump what or who is not popular. He did that to President George W. Bush when his poor decisions on going to war and spending trillions on tax cuts pushed his approval ratings into the 30s. He also did it to Dick Fuld, the head of Lehman Brothers, who Kasich was all for when he went to work for the Wall Street investment banking house but who he quickly shunned when the firm collapsed, triggering the meltdown on Wall Street from which Ohio has yet to recover. Meanwhile, three years after Kasich’s “landmark budget deal” became law, Kasichlore fails to recall the nation went into recession.
As assessed by PoliticalFact’s analysis of a Kasichlore TV spot in 2010, the truth of the matter is that Kasich’s claim is farther from the truth than Kasickateers care to acknowledge. “Kasich deserves credit for conceiving, sponsoring and negotiating passage of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. But the ad overstates his role by saying he balanced the budget. And it exaggerates by giving Kasich, or the budget agreement, credit for a surplus or “record” job creation. We rate Kasich’s statement as Half True.”
During the 1990s when the Clinton Administration created more than 23 million jobs, the federal government continued to spend more and more money, and it was revenues, not spending cuts, that created the balanced budgets and surpluses of the 1990s. Kasichlore can’t abide by that rendition of the facts, which history now attributes to revenue growth, not spending cuts, as Kasich wanted and argued for.
And let the record show that Congressman John Kasich, as much of a partisan, ideological Republican now as he was then, voted for all charges of impeachment against President Bill Clinton brought by a GOP-controlled House of Representatives. The record also shows that Mr. casual Fridays was in full support of shutting down the federal government along with the other petulants in his party.
Now then, recall that Kasich claimed in 2010 that if elected he’d be the firewall that would stop Obama winning Ohio a second time. Kasich quickly blamed Mitt Romney for the loss because he was a “terrible” candidate. Now the question is, can two-term Ohio Gov. John R. Kasich be a firewall to keep another Democrat from following Obama into the White House?
Time will tell whether Johnny Pennsylvania can stop the wife of President Clinton, or maybe someone else in 2016 from winning the state. And should Mr. 25-percent find himself on the high or low end of the GOP’s presidential ticket in two years, losing Ohio then would really be a tall tale to explain away.