John Kasich promised last fall that his second term as governor of Ohio would be better than his first, and he’s done nothing to dampen speculation that he wants to be President of the United States in 2016, so why would he want to duck out of the annual press confab organized Thursday by the Associated Press?   The twice-elected governor should relish this one-day opportunity to crow about his many first-term accomplishments, which gives him another chance to deliver yet another sermon on how he intends to lift people up so they can achieve their god-giving potential.

Kasich Quackery Reason To Duck Press

Gov. Kasich is no stranger to breaking with tradition, as he did without guilt last fall when he stiffed some reporters, told others to stop asking him questions he wouldn’t answer, and went so far as to even banished one from from his media events. He  refused to debate his challengers one-on-one, a format that’s worked well for decades to give voters a picture of who their choices are and what those choices represent. But Mr. Kasich, who over the course of his long and lucrative career in public office has honed his practice of evading situations that could backfire on him, declined to appear at today’s gathering in downtown Columbus, even though Ohio’s other statewide office holders, including auditor, attorney general, treasurer and secretary of state, agreed to the show up.

Last year, when Gov. Kasich did show up for the event, he showed again why he’s at his best when the deck is stacked in his favor. He generally got softball questions, but there were a couple that clearly got under his skin, prompting him to lash out at the questioners. But there won’t be any of that old give-and-take this year. Some reporters wonder if he’ll ever do a no-holds barred presser, now that he’s untouchable to voters and is engaged in his quixotic crusade to force feed a federal balanced budget amendment that has been roundly ripped by both conservative and progressive critics as either stupid or dangerous.

The big story for the first half of 2015 will be Gov. Kasich’s third budget proposal, to be released next Monday. The governor’s last two budgets were, in spite of his caterwauling about budget deficits and low rainy day accounts, the two largest spending plans in state history. The second spending plan, at $62 billion, was larger than his first one in 2011. It will come as no surprise to many that his third budget will probably be even bigger, as he continues his quest to lower income tax rates to zero.

50 Ways To Stiff Media

There are, no doubt, good reasons why Mr. Kasich declined to face reporters today, many of whom fell in love with him last year when they chose to skewer his opponent on minor missteps while giving him a get-out-jail-free card over issues that deserved coverage on front and editorial pages. Some reasons Gov. Kasich may not want to take questions from media today include the following list from Policy Matters Ohio’s latest report:

  1. Ohio is experiencing its 26th straight month of under-performing the national average on job creation.
  2. Ohio ranked 47th among the states in health value, as the Health Policy Institute’s cites.
  3. Ohio ranks 48th in the nation for infant mortality and 50th in the nation for African-American infant mortality in 2011.
  4. Ohio ranked 36th in state support for higher education per $1,000 of personal income.
  5. Ohioans living in poverty is at 16 percent.
  6. Ohio’s need-based grant aid declined by 51.9 percent, the sixth largest decline in the nation.
  7. Ohio still trails the nation, which has now surpassed the level of employment before the recession.
  8. Ohio’s largest occupational groups, nearly a dozen of which have median wages so low they leave a family of three in or close to poverty.
  9. Ohio’s tax cuts over the past decade have slanted the tax system further against low- and middle-income Ohioans, while removing about $3 billion a year from the resources available to invest in needed services.

Whatever Gov. Kasich’s reasons are for ducking the press yet again, and there even more than we named here, it will be interesting to see if any one of those reporters stood-up by this governor today will take it lying down, as he expects them to do. Or whether they’ll wake up to the realization they are neither loved or wanted by Gov. Kasich and his top lieutenants, who expect them to dutifully scribble down without question his gospel of government: Do as I say, not as I do.