It took NBC Guru Chuck Todd and Ohio Gov. Kasich no more than a few minutes on Meet the Press Sunday to leave all of us with more questions than answers. It also heightened the shortcomings of national pundits who invite Kasich to their tables without much homework about who the guy really is.
Kasich told us that he liked Jeb Bush, loved his country,would pray for Vice President Biden in the loss of his son, hired John Sununu for Team Kasich because there was none better than the Cuba-born ex-Republican senator from New Hampshire, and…and (take a breath)… that he worked in the private sector for many years “where I learned so much.”
If you, as I did, quickly recalled that sector as Lehman Brothers, the Wall Street global investments firm, that gave up its ghosts in 2008 and declared bankruptcy , and Fox News, where Kasich was a regular contributor, I’m now waiting for him to tell all of us what he learned.
But the heart of the matter emerged when Todd got around to asking the governor, who is heading into the home stretch of declaring his presidential candidacy, about his pro-death penalty position, noting that his guest was a “deeply religious man” of Catholic faith conflicting with the Vatican stance.
Instead of correcting Todd, Kasich said it’s all about justice and consistency. He saw no conflict with his faith. (He’s an Anglican and has said it leads him to a small Episcopal church every Sunday for Communion.)
Obviously, Todd didn’t know that and didn’t question the conversion from Catholicism in Kasich’s religious life. But he should have known it. Many viewers were left with the idea that Kasich is still a practicing Catholic. When the governor, who seems to fascinate national pundits these days as a kindly Wizard of Oz, can move on without grade school challenges, it matters not whether he’s a Catholic or an Anglican, but only whether the national media are up to their jobs.