Looking quaffed and acting all friendly last Sunday, the Governor of Ohio bantered on NBC’s “Meet The Press” with host Chuck Todd about his resume, and how it makes him the most qualified of the other dozen-plus Republican candidates hoping to take on the Democratic nominee for President of the United States in 2016.
Widely known as imperious, Ohio’s CEO Caesar harbors multiple personalities ranging from easily irritated to marginally engaged to defiant jerk. Gov. John R. Kasich got nailed by Todd for his intentionally snarky remark about Jeb Bush and his political action committee “Right to Rise.” Doing what he always does when called out on his behavior, Mr. Kasich lapsed into sophomoric mode, pretending his remark was him just trying to be funny. Those who know the governor know he and his PR handlers excel at snarky comments designed to distract, not inform.
How Low Can Kasich Go?
Desperately trying to raise his terribly low national polling numbers—one or two percentage points at best these days—so he won’t embarrass himself by not qualifying to be in the first GOP debate to be held in early August in Cleveland that will feature the top ten Republicans, a message went out Monday that the 62-year old relic of the Reagan Era will be visiting Iowa, the first primary state. The governor thought he could skip Iowa, a caucus state, and hitch a ride on another rocket ship in another state. He’ll probably fly on his venture capitalist friend Mark Kvamme’s private jet to get to his June 24 address to the Greater Des Moines Partnership. While there, Mr. Kasich will attend additional events not listed in the announcement from New Day for America, a spokesman for his presidential campaign organization said. Kvvamme has provided transportation to his friend and governor on many previous occasions.
While his third two-year state budget, the biggest spending plan in state history, gets torn apart and rebuilt by the Ohio House and Senate, Gov. Kasich is expected to travel again to New Hampshire on Thursday to speak at a business roundtable then on Friday to speak to the Grafton County “First in the Nation Primary Dinner.” John Kasich thinks his rocket ship ride starts in New Hampshire, but he’s as little known there as he is in Iowa or any other state for that matter.
Kasich’s spiel these days is he won’t run if he knows he can’t win so his family and friends won’t be burdened by a campaign that falls short. That happened once already, in 2000, when Texas Gov. George W. Bush forced Kasich to the curb and into the private sector at Fox News and at Lehman Brothers. Among deals he made at Lehman, John Kasich arranged meetings between Ohio pension officials and his employer, who tried to persuade those officials to invest in Lehman Brothers. When Lehman Brothers collapsed, Ohio seniors lost $480 million from their retirement funds while some speculated that Mr. Kasich made more than a half a million dollars. Kasich quickly distanced himself from Lehman Brothers’ when it went bankrupt and its CEO, Dick Fuld, who brought Kasich to the firm, became toxic as the housing bubble popped and took Wall Street and the nation down with it.
Kasich hungers for a sugar daddy, but until casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson dumps tens of millions into his campaign, he’s relegated to raise money the old fashioned way. “I go out and tell people what I think. And I say to them, ‘If you hire me, I’m a CEO, and I’ll listen to you.’ But at the end of the day, I’m going to make the decision, something I’ve done throughout my whole career with, frankly, great success,” he told Todd last Sunday.
Dares To Deceive
Now a term-limited governor after winning a big victory in a very low turnout election last year—the lowest since World War II—Ohio’s governor told Todd he’s optimistic about he and his team are. “I mean I’m optimistic on the resources. I’m becoming more and more optimistic on the organization,” he told the show’s audience
Gov. Kasich, contrary to what he told Todd, that “we’ve gone from basically a state that was dead to a state that’s optimistic and growing,” inherited a state on the road to recovery, a roaring recovery that was outpacing the national average for job creation. Under Mr. Kasich and his administrative machine, Ohio’s economy stalled. Todd obviously didn’t know enough to ask Mr. Kasich why, if his claim that “we’re growing jobs” is true, he’s now 30 consecutive months of under performing the national average compared to former Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland, who took the worst the Great Recession to dish out and still managed to put the state on the road to recovery, producing a substantial number of jobs John Kasich took credit for in his first year that came from Strickland’s recovery efforts.
Beltway reporter Amy Walter found it interesting that Gov. Kasich seems to think the primary is over and he’s the General Election candidate. “Well, this is always the interesting thing to me about John Kasich, which is he’s running as a great general election candidate. But you have to be able to win a primary,” she said.
John Kasich was helped last year by a Republican-led legislature that helped clear his primary field by passing a law he signed that made it very difficult for third party candidates to get on the ballot. The Ohio Libertarian Party and its candidate Charlie Earl were feared by camp Kasich, which engaged in a secret campaign with political operatives friendly to Kasich to bounce Earl out of the race. That case, heard recently by the Ohio Elections Commission, was dismissed in a 5-2 vote, but it may not be over if LPO and its legal counsel decide to pursue it in civil court or through judicial review.
Kasich won’t have help to clear the national GOP field for him. If he continues to poll so poorly, he’ll be the one who’s cleared to make way other stronger candidates, like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who polled in Iowa recently at 17 percent. Walker is also the governor of a Midwestern state and, like Kasich in Ohio, has made his resume and touch decision making core reasons for why he’s the next great white hope for the GOP.
John Kasich’s resume after 18 years in congress is full of glaring holes. His resume as Governor of Ohio is equally riddled with bad decisions that benefit his friends but disadvantage most everyone else who isn’t wealthy. If Gov. Kasich thinks his resume is his road to victory, he better keep drinking his own Kool-Aid so he can continue to be optimistic and confident, because it won’t be long before he’s called to account for how lucky he’s been so far and how bad his “Ohio Model” would be for the nation.