John Kasich’s self-described “Ohio Miracle” is widely known, among those who pay attention, as a mostly fabricated tale crafted by a political performance artist, who after nearly 40 years in the business of politics knows an ounce of perception is worth a pound of production.
Momentum for Ohio’s progress out of the mire that was the Great Recession came courtesy of a roaring recovery orchestrated by former Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland, whose management savvy and budget boldness kept Ohio from falling into a true economic depression. Citizen Kasich criticized Strickland for “not getting the jobs done,” so his greatest fear is to say what he would have done, had he been governor then, that was different from the course steered by Strickland, who’s reincarnated himself to take on Republican Rob Portman next year for the U.S. Senate.
Kasich didn’t back President Obama’s stimulus package, which included tax cuts and infrastructure spending, which when he’s done it he crows about it, didn’t agree that helping Detroit car makers avoid bankruptcy as the White House did was the right call.
Ohio under Kasich’s watch, with his secret, well-funded job group on the job, JobsOhio, hard at work, has under performed by impressive margins in some cases the average national job creation standard for as many as 31 straight months. The great job creator has limped along as national job creation numbers blow past previous highs.
In Washington D.C. this week, Gov. Kasich, at age 63, has so little in fact to tout about his current performance that he has retreated to his his old if not obsolete resume from his 18 years in congress. Where he stands on any number of issues is no secret for those who follow him, some at their peril. What he’s told national scene reporters so far is mostly a smorgasbord of wise cracks and jokes that hide any real positions he has on hot button issues, including women’s health choices, charter schools, taxing the poor to benefit the rich, economic inequality, legalizing marijuana, same-sex marriage, extending equality in all public spheres to gays, workers rights including public unions, Obamacare, raising the minimum wage, immigration and more war in the middle east.
His official announcement, scheduled for July 21st at The Ohio State University, makes him among the latest entrants into the race for the White House. Mr. Kasich’s calling card today is that he’s “the most experienced in the field with a record that no one can match,” Politico’s Alex Isenstadt reported Wednesday. Others familiar with him say he’s been bad for Ohio and would be a disaster for America.
Kasich is nothing but talk even though he says he has a vision for taking his Ohio model nationally. He’s selling himself as unlike others in the growing GOP field of presidential wannabes. Citizen Kasich, in 2010, won a close race for governor only because he tapped into the Tea Party furor of the day to push himself over the finish line. But after winning, Gov. Kasich soon parted ways with his Ohio Tea Party backers, who saw his expansion of Medicaid among other policy pushes as evidence he really wasn’t one of them. Ohio Tea Party advocates dropped Kasich from their list of favorites last year by actively campaigning against him.
Isenstadt reported that today’s congress is not the congress Kasich remembers, when then House speaker Newt Gingrich Congress elevated Kasich to chairman of the House Budget Committee. It’s a Tea Party Congress, with some libertarians, and that bodes ill for Gov. Kasich, who has signed the three largest budgets in state history that siphoned off billions from local governments, schools and public union workers while making health choices for women all the more difficult as he’s let stand eleventh hour inserts into the budget that makes Ohio look terribly draconian on the topic of healthcare rights for women.
As Political reminds everyone, John Kasich is an underdog. “At an afternoon news conference with reporters, he was bombarded with questions about his viability — all of which he sought to deflect,” a sad fact that many Ohio media has long since learned as Kasich dislikes media in general and one political reporter in particular.
Kasich has few if any real good answers to the many questions sent his way. Would he make the first debate of the Republican primary season, he was asked? “I’m not going to put the cart before the horse. We’ve got a month to go. Let’s see what happens,” the governor widely known for his distemper and off-putting demeanor. Was he jumping into the race too late? “I don’t know if I started late,” he said. Would he have the backing of the voters and political establishment in his home state? “I feel good about Ohio,” he said.
What about his famous temper, could that be a hurdle? “I come from Pittsburgh. McKees Rocks. We’re pretty direct where we come from,” he said, avoiding answering what has become a signature aspect to his mental health fitness to occupy the Oval Office.
Gov. Kasich has been long-winded while dancing around offering any specifics. Out pushing a federal balanced budget amendment a few months back, he couldn’t offer one program he would cut to balance the federal budget. When he signed his most expensive state spending plan yet, he took no questions. And Ohio media, easily intimidated by a governor who berates them if he responds at all, dutifully didn’t ask any.
With the GOP’s first debate in Cleveland in less than a month, Gov. Kasich’s national polling is so low that he might not qualify among the top ten to be featured by Fox News on August 6th. That would be extremely embarrassing for the glib, showboat governor, who will put on what is expected to be a national show at OSU as he officially jumps into the race.
Kasich camp sources told The Columbus Dispatch today that Mr. Kasich’s campaign committee is buying ads in the New Hampshire TV market. New Day for America, the capital city’s uber-friendly paper to Mr. Kasich reported, has just purchased $225,000 with WMUR, a station in Manchester, N.H., and $63,000 with the Fox News affiliate in Boston, the source says. Kasich has to show he’s viable in Iowa or New Hampshire or South Carolina, three states he’s been seen in lately. Surviving the asteroid belt that is the GOP primary process is a tall order indeed for Gov. Kasich, who hopefully won’t get mollycoddled by national news sources like he enjoyed from Ohio news sources last year, when they hung his opponent out to dry while giving the governor a free pass.
One of Kasich’s new national hires was the creator of the “I’m Not A Witch” political TV ad for Christine O’Donnell, who went down in flames in her race for the U.S. Senate. New Hampshire voters can expect to see a national variation on the theme Kasich first crafted in his run for governor then refashioned last year when he called his second term the best to come.
Up with his first presidential add titled “Us,” Kasich’s voice over is his now familiar stump speech that he’s a kid from a blue collar family whose parents taught him to care for others. Write large with misleading melodrama, Gov. Kasich’s budgets show where his true concerns lay, and it appears to be with the rich and well connected and not the unpowerful forlorn.
Follow up ads will be long on needed reforms without ever detailing them, they will portray the governor as independent minded when he’s just the opposite, they will portray him as a great uniter when he’s as politically hard-ball and ideological as them come and would rather drive a bus over you than compromise, he’ll partner with God and say he’s been called to help the less fortunate, when he’s really partnered with the corporate class to shift the burden of taxes by reducing income tax rates for the elite and hiking use taxes for everyone else.
Tar Heels like Kasich 1%
In separate news today, Public Policy Polling released a poll of the presidential primary in North Carolina and Donald Trump is leading. PPP said he’s the top choice of Republican primary voters in the state at 16 percent compared to 12 percent for Jeb Bush and Scott Walker, 11 percent for Mike Huckabee, 9 percent for Ben Carson and Marco Rubio. At the bottom of the pile is John Kasich and George Pataki.