“The thing about John Kasich is, he’s kind of a jerk,” writes The Atlantic‘s Molly Ball in her profile of the Ohio Governor April 30.
Kasich has been getting into the glossies more and more recently with these types of profile pieces meant to introduce him to the national political audience, including another profile in the National Journal by Michelle Cottle, titled, “How (Arrogant, Prickly, Smart) John Kasich Would Upend 2016.”
In both pieces, Kasich’s self-aggrandizement is on full display: The governor is somehow of the belief that despite his ravaging of state aid to the poor and disenfranchised, he, John Richard Kasich, is the only person in the world who cares about them. Of course, Ohioans are used to this type of disingenuous, delusional tripe from the governor.
It does not go unnoticed by his profilers, who are both savvy enough pro-geeks (and I mean that in the best way) to see through Kasich’s self-important bunkum.
Let’s take a look at some of their best references to it.
First, from Cottle:
“… for Kasich, it’s a fine line between charming warrior and off-putting jerk. As his communications director, Scott Milburn, so delicately puts it, ‘He kind of gets off on conflict.'”
“Kasich’s in-your-face disposition doesn’t go over well with everyone, however. Dems and conservatives alike will, when disgruntled, blast the governor as a bully.”
A bully? Meh. He’s more like the little twerp on the playground who hides behind someone else bigger and stronger than he is.
“‘He’s prickly,” says (Ohio political reporter) Henry Gomez. “And he doesn’t take criticism very well.'”
No foolin’, Henry. That’s part of what makes it so fun to criticize him.
“But whatever the roots or reasons, Kasich’s not-always-genial persona could prove problematic if he acts on his national ambitions. Because, for better or worse, the American electorate tends to go with presidential candidates who come across as likable. (Former Defense Secretary Leon) Panetta chuckles at the thought of Kasich enduring the trials and tribulations of a presidential run: ‘He doesn’t have a helluva lot of patience. He likes to get to the point. Having the ability to kind of sit back and be able to listen to a lot of viewpoints he disagrees with, that’s not going to be easy.'”
You’re tellin’ me, sister.
Now, from Ball:
“… he has a combustible personality that strikes some as refreshing and genuine but others as erratic.”
Anybody who is struck by Kasich’s personality as genuine, please contact me, I have some coastal property in Idaho for sale at a price that’ll floor you.
“Lobbyists in Columbus warn their clients before meeting the governor not to take it personally if he berates them.”
Yes, sit back and learn to enjoy being berated.
“A top Ohio Republican donor once publicly vowed not to give Kasich a penny after finding him to be ‘unpleasantly arrogant.'”
We’re all shocked, SHOCKED.
“As I was writing this article, Kasich’s press secretary, Rob Nichols, helpfully emailed me the thesaurus entry for ‘prickly,’ sensing that I would need it.”
I miss your emails, Rob. And I love word definitions! Check out Facebook’s “Grandiloquent Word of the Day” page. It’ll blow your hair back.
“(Kasich) said that my job, writing about politics and politicians, was ‘really a dumb thing to do.’ Later, he singled me out in a meeting of cabinet officials to upbraid me for what he considered a stupid question in one of our interviews. At a Kasich press conference I attended at a charter school in Cleveland, he interrupted several speakers, wandered off to rummage on a nearby teacher’s desk as he was being introduced, and gleefully insulted the Cleveland Browns, to a smattering of boos.”
Is this guy Presidential material, or what?
“But while Kasich can be rude—and at times even genuinely nasty—he is also prone to spontaneous displays of empathy, frequently becoming emotional as he talks about the plight of people ‘in the shadows.'”
Important phrase here, folks, a “display of empathy,” as in, a show, a performance, calculated to make John Kasich feel a warm rush of vainglory while he continues in reality to ignore the plight of the downtrodden and dismiss those actually seeking to help them.
And now, the real screamer.
“When I asked him where his political beliefs came from, Kasich described a deeply felt sense that big institutions were hostile to the little guy. ‘Big government, big business—I mean, what do they care?’ he told me.”
But you do, John? As Captain O’Hagan quipped, “I’ll believe that when me shit turns purple and smells like rainbow sherbet.”
David DeWitt is a writer and man of sport and leisure based out of Athens, Ohio. He has also written for Government Executive online, the National Journal’s Hotline, and The New York Observer’s Politicker.com. He can be found on Twitter @TheRevDeWitt.