The Columbus Dispatch announced that John Kasich is launching an exploratory bid for president, reporting that Mr. Kasich plans to see how well he fares in primaries in Iowa and New Hampshire. “The better we do, the more money will come in. Part of the challenge we have is getting people to take me seriously,” Ohio’s self-proclaimed “Greatest Home Newspaper” wrote about their long-revered golden calf politician.
Then Is Now
One might think this assessment was ripped from today’s headline, but it wasn’t. The legacy print newspaper that announced Tuesday that it sold for a fire-sale price of just $47 million to New Media wrote this about Mr. Kasich’s chances to be elected leader of the free world long ago. Like deja vu all over again, this assessment was cast in print in February of 1999, but it rings as true today as it did then of Mr. Kasich’s chances to win the hearts and minds of Republican primary voters enough to find himself atop the high heap of GOP White House wannabes climbing on-board the USS Republican before it departs port.
In 2000, then Congressman Kasich got aced out by Texas Gov. George W. Bush. In 2015, Gov. Kasich is facing a phalanx of GOP White House wannabes, among them former Florida Gov. John Ellis, aka “Jeb,” Bush, who poses a high, hard wall to overcome. Now twice-elected and term-limited, Gov. Kasich delays announcing he’s in the race even though 11 others have made the plunge.
On Being Blunt, Candid, “The Donald” Trumps Kasich
Then there were 12. Worse for John Kasich is the trump card that is Donald Trump, who Tuesday declared he’s in the GOP race for president. “I am officially running for President of the United States, and we are going to make our country great again,” said Mr. Trump to his small but energized audience in New York City. Earlier in the day Trump, whose patented phrase made famous through his “The Apprentice” TV series is “You’re fired!,” set his worth at $9 billion. Gov. Kasich has kept his wealth private, but while that game worked in-state, with “Art of the Deal” business icons like Trump ready to fill out specific federal forms, Gov. Kasich will only open the door to more scrutiny if he doesn’t follow suit.
Kasich’s emerging cross to bear is his mood and personality swings, which routinely toggle between heavenly homilies to his natural state of being mean, cranky or dismissive. It’s not the content of his political ideology that makes headlines these days, but his political showmanship and style. The 63-year old’s chances increasingly turn on whether “candor” and being “blunt” alone are as valuable as what he’s done to his adopted state’s citizens. His misguided agenda favors the rich over the middle class and poor, and extending his so-called “Ohio Miracle” to the nation to many would be a terrible turn of events.
The governor’s state budgets so far have been bad enough, siphoning off billions and billions from local governments, schools and certain public union workers even though they’ve been the largest by a country mile in state history. His current proposed budget of more than $71 billion is being hammered into very different shapes by warring factions of House and Senate Republicans, who control the General Assembly by supermajorities. The budget Gov. Kasich eventually signs into law by the end of June will become an equally large cross for him to bear. He may decide to veto some provisions, which will be held out as him standing his ground, but he’ll still have afixed his signature to a spending plan he can’t run from. It’s harsh reality on most Ohioans, no matter how candid or blunt he comes off to audiences who know little to nothing about him, can’t be swept under the rug.
If John Kasich has big, bad ideas and offers no details on them, and he does, and he thinks he can endear himself to strangers not on his payroll to adore him by being candid and blunt by snarking, sniping or attacking others, as he’s done and will continue to do in the upcoming demolition derby called the GOP primary season, the Lord’s hands will truly have to be on him if he expects to win the Republican sweepstakes and beat Democrats next year.