John Kasich continued to pretend he’s not campaigning for president this week while traveling to New Hampshire to campaign for president. And he apparently impressed upon everyone just how golly-gee nice he is by declining to attack Hillary Clinton.
A column in the Boston Globe titled, “Ohio Governor John Kasich’s positive politics,” came on the heels of two national magazine profiles that referred to Kasich as arrogant, prickly, rude and and off-putting jerk.
In the Globe piece, columnist Scott Lehigh was struck by Kasich’s failure to Obama thrash and Clinton bash.
“Indeed, he declined even when an audience member asked for ‘two or three of the best reasons you can give us as to why Hillary should not be president of the United States.’
‘I’m not getting into Hillary today,’ Kasich replied. He answered another question, then circled back. ‘If I’m talking about what I don’t like about Hillary, then I’m not telling you what I think. And I think you need to know more about who I am, and what I think, than what I think negative about somebody else.'”
Kasich has been getting buttered up more and more by the national punditry and the Globe‘s piece plays directly into his tactic of pretending he’s something he’s most certainly not: some sort of paragon of decency in the rough-and-tumble world of politics.
Camp Kasich may have gotten the headline they wanted, but we in the Buckeye State are not fooled.
In Lehigh’s article, the would-be Hillary-jab provocateur said that Kasich actually gave him the answer he had wanted.
“I think people in the north country of New England are pretty tired of politics as usual, and will be looking for a candidate that speaks plainly and just talks about the issues,” he said.
He being ski mogul Les Otten, a former Republican candidate for governor in Maine.
Yes, when we think of John Kasich, we think of a man who defies politics as usual, a plain-spoken issue talker. Ay caramba.
Nevertheless, Mr. Lehigh’s suspicions were stoked by Otten’s statement:
“I also expect New Hampshire Republican primary voters will end up favoring a results-oriented conservative pragmatist over the right-wing to-the-barricade ideologues…
A pragmatic rather than a doctrinaire conservative, Kasich, 62, hasn’t retooled his stands to pass right-wing litmus tests, at least not so far. He supports Common Core, for example, citing the need for better educational standards. He expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, though he wants to repeal the rest of Obamacare and let the states craft health-coverage solutions. Kasich has said he thinks climate change is a problem, but hasn’t displayed any urgency about addressing it. Fiscally, Kasich, whose resume includes nine terms in the House, has been a tax cutter and budget balancer, but also someone who thinks government should help the poor, a belief rooted in his strong religious values.”
John Kasich: someone who thinks government should help the poor. Assumes facts not in evidence, your honor. John Kasich jawing about helping the poor, and John Kasich actually helping the poor, are two very different things. He’s done plenty of the former and none of the latter.
In fact, throughout is tenure as governor, Kasich has made Ohio taxes far more regressive, increased food insecurity, and vastly exacerbated the poverty achievement gap in education. I don’t know one serious anti-poverty advocate in Ohio who wouldn’t laugh you out of the room if you declared John Kasich a friend of the poor.
In fact, the mere suggestion is pretty insulting, especially in light of the fact that as recently as May 1 Kasich was “flirting” with the idea of laying the flat tax plank down in his presidential campaign platform.
Balanced Budget Amendment, and the Flat Tax, that’s John Kasich’s plan, and it’s about as friendly to the poor as a boa constrictor would be to the three blind mice.
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.