Fox News on Tuesday announced the line-up for its prime-time debate this Thursday in Cleveland, Ohio. When the Republican circus comes to Ohio’s North Coast, the center ring line up will feature, in descending order, real estate magnate Donald Trump; former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush; Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker; former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee; retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson; Texas Sen. Ted Cruz; Florida Sen. Marco Rubio; Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul; New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie; and last and maybe least, Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

Gov. Kasich is lucky to be in, now that it’s known that Fox threw out one poll that had Ohio’s gabby governor at 1 percent, a dismal rating that had it been included would have put former Texas Gov. Rick Perry in and Kasich out.

Former strategist for Mitch McConnell, Josh Holmes, the president and founding partner of Cavalry LLC, offered a crib sheet Wednesday on each of Fox News’s chosen candidates. For Gov. Kasich, his cranky distemper personality is already legend.

“Everybody expects him to reinforce the narrative that he’s a jerk,” Holmes said about Ohio’s ill-tempered governor. His advice to Mr. Kasich is to “Bring the funny.” If Gov. Kasich is supposed to be the class clown Thursday, he does indeed have the best resume and track record to deliver on that calling.

Kasich Last In

Based on an average of the five most recent national polls, the ten-person roster leaves out seven other GOP candidates, but the political circus underway in Cleveland in two days will offer plenty of center ring activities and a healthy helping of sideshows, as righties, lefties and in-betweeners converge on Cleveland, which despite efforts to recover from the Great Recession remains one of the nation’s biggest, poorest cities.

According to Fox News, the five polls it used to average candidate ratings included Bloomberg, CBS News, Fox News, Monmouth University and Quinnipiac University. Gov. Kasich barely squeaked into the top ten, with ratings low enough that, given the margin of errors in the various rolls, he could have been left out and Rick Perry could have made the cut. Fox news disgarded one poll showing Kasich at one percent, which had it been included, Rick Perry would be in and Kasich would be out.

In the Monmouth University Poll, Gov. Kasich can only must three percent, even though his supporters have spent $3 million in pushing TV ads and the governor has made the Granite State his home away from home, compared to only two days spent in Iowa, home of the nation’s first primary caucus state.

GOP’s Seven Dwarfs

Not on stage with the big elephants Thursday night will be former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal; former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina; South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham; former New York Gov. George Pataki; and former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore are relegated to a sub card spot panel taking place earlier in the day.

In a statement on the debate, Mr. Kasich said, “As governor, I am glad to welcome my fellow debate participants to our great state and I look forward to discussing the issues facing our country with them on Thursday.” Mr. Kasich was among the Republicans who appeared yesterday in Goffstown, New Hampshire, site of the Voters First Forum, where most all the candidates coming to town on Thursday were also on hand with the exception of Sens. Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio, who made appearances via satellite because they were detained in Washington where a failed effort to defund Planned Parenthood from receiving federal funds took place.

Crusty Kasich Testy On Hansen Data Scrubbing Debacle

Gov. Kasich has acted uncommonly normal of late, but he showed again his irritation when questions are asked of him that reveal his poor choices for picking responsible people for responsible state positions. When Ohio’s governor was asked about the Ohio state school board’s interest in pursuing a special investigation into the husband of Kasich’s chief of staff scrubbing bad scores for charter schools, it was basic Kasich to growl back and blame it all on political motivation by others.

“It’s just a political thing. You just shake your head that people aren’t grown up enough to know that education’s not about adults, it’s about children. And that sideshows have no place in all this,” Kasich said, according to a published report. The governor who hit all his talking points last night in New Hampshire, tried to say that because David Hansen, his campaign manager’s husband, was no longer employed by the state the matter of done.

“I mean the guy is gone. He’s gone. He was let go. Hopefully, over time all the facts that surround that will come out. We don’t tolerate any sort of not open and direct communication about charter schools and everybody gets it. So that’s kind of the end of it.” Mr. Hansen isn’t the first Kasich appointee to disappear over night. First directors of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Health likewise said little when they suddenly, without much explanation from Kasich communicators who get irritated when mysteries happen and their excuses are wholly inadequate, resign high-paying jobs the governor lauded them for taking in the first place.

Kasich showed how easily irritated he gets, and why his mouth isn’t always connected to his brain. A guest again on his favorite channel, one he worked for as a political talk show host who substituted for Bill O’Reilly on occasion, Gov. Kasich pretended he didn’t know what the CATO Institute was and snarled at its report showing how big a spender the governor is. Kasich said he didn’t “know who these folks are; another Washington group,” even though his staff later admitted the governor knew exactly who CATO, a libertarian think tank, is.

“We have the lowest number of state employees in 30 years and in addition to that, our budget overall is growing by about 2 percent or 3 percent,” Kasich said, reports said. “I pay no attention to folks in Washington. I want to move power and money and influence out of that town back to where we live like normal Americans.” Sounds great until basic Kasich tells you he wants to condense power as much as he can in himself or any office he may hold at the time.

Kasich used a trick he’s used before, which is to pick one standard and argue any other standard isn’t relevant. He did it with jobs early in his first administration, and did it again when he pushed back on CATO’s assessment of how big his budgets are compared to budgets from previous governors.

Ohio Worker Pay Declines Under Kasich

Maybe one of Fox News’ moderators will ask Ohio’s jerky CEO why median household income in Ohio has fallen in last three decades and not risen under his watch? Based on two policy briefs by the Center for American Progress Action Fund that were released Wednesday, the organization says Republican-backed tax and other public policies, which Mr. Kasich has long championed over his long and lucrative career as a performance politician, helped in creating such a decline. Kasich claims Ohioans have hope again since he’s been governor.

Kasich’s claims of not reading newspapers or not paying attention to polls or playing dumb when answering would compromise his narrative that he’s above politics, when in fact he’s the consummate politician who always wants to be the leader of the pack, is legend and basic Kasich.

John Kasich will attempt to reprise his performance in New Hampshire last night, in Cleveland Thursday, by hitting his top talking points—he’s a budget balancer, a tax reducer, a military specialist and someone who claims being called by the Lord to do good things. The governor scored an A by circling back to his largely outdated or exaggerated resume, but when he did, he scored an F for the truth behind them all.