John Kasich has always been a moving target. He likes to straddle controversial issues if he can as a matter of political convenience as he finds a safe harbor stance where he can sound both for or against it, depending on the political winds and his target audience at the time.
We saw a classic example of this on Tuesday in New Hampshire, at a town hall gathering at the Monadnock Country Club. One published report on the meeting quoted Gov. Kasich speaking out of both sides of his mouth. “I’m not saying we should roll back the cap. But I’m not for increasing it,” Kasich replied, when one attendee interrupted the governor, saying he didn’t answer a previous question about whether it’s fair that Americans earning over $118,500 are only taxed up to that amount for Social Security? “That’s about as straight [an] answer as I’m going to give you.”
Take Credit When Credit Isn’t Due
Ohio’s gabby governor is most truthful, though, when he jokes around. His snarky humor is an important component of his professional Music Man performance style, which leads listeners to think one way while he thinks another. That’s when some of his basic operational strategies that play out in the political arena are revealed.
Taking credit for something good that isn’t due him, because he either opposed it—as he did with President Clinton’s budget—or argued against it—like gay marriage or Obamacare—but then realized how wrong he was to be on the wrong side is basic Kasich.
Fiery Fiorina Could Ace Out Kasick
Kasich’s tell showed up most recently in the banter conversation he had with Sean Hannity of Fox News, a working colleague of the governor’s when the former Lehman Brothers banker worked the political talk show circuit as moderator of his heartland TV show and sometimes substitute for Bill O’Reilly on the “O’Reilly Factor.”
Aglow of late from the praise he received from mostly Republicans on his performance at the first GOP debate sponsored by his friendly go-to Fox News news group, Ohio’s term-limited governor could find himself not on stage at the next debate on September 16 at the Reagan Library in California sponsored by CNN, if his national polling doesn’t budge from the low numbers it shows for him.
Following the Republican presidential debate last week, a Franklin Pierce University/Boston Herald poll released Tuesday morning found 12 percent of New Hampshire voters would vote for Kasich in the primary — third among the 16 Republican candidates, the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript reported. Only Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Jeb Bush were ahead of Kasich. Poll researchers polled 414 random likely Republican primary voters. The sampling margin of error is +/- 4.8 percent.
Although Carly Fiorina was relegated to the second tier debate in Cleveland on August 6th, the former Hewlett Package CEO and the only women among the 17 GOP candidates running for president has been declared by multiple sources to have been the real winner of the Fox News debate for her candid, blunt and no-nonsense answers, especially her scathing criticism of Hillary Rodham Clinton, whose quest to represent Democrats in 2016 encounters troubled waters caused by a surge in turnout for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has caught up with the former first lady in some states and overtaken her in others.
Trying To Take Credit For Lebron James’ Return To Cleveland Cavs
In a short chat with Hannity, Gov. Kasich joked about the return of Lebron James to the Cleveland Cavaliers. When “King James” left Cleveland to play in Miami for The Heat, Kasich, who was running for governor at the time, was scornful of James for his departure. James left Cleveland, then won two NBA championship rings with The Heat. James then decided to return to Cleveland, where his performance helped them get into the NBA finals, which they lost to the Golden State Warriors. James is more popular than Kasich, as polls have shown, but that hasn’t stopped Kasich from his on-going skirmish against James.
It was telling when Kasich told Hannity, “I’ve been trying to take credit for bringing him back…I don’t think he likes that.”
Kasich laughed, but his joke revealed what he’s done over the course of his long and lucrative career in politics. Time and again, he’s tried to take credit where credit isn’t due. From opposing President Clinton’s budget that unleashed the good times of the 1990s to his claim of balancing the federal budget and leaving trillions in surplus behind when he left in 2000 to pursue a presidential run that crashed and burned before takeoff, Gov. Kasich thoroughly enjoys rewriting history to put himself at the center of anything good that happened, even though it wouldn’t have happened had he and his fellow Republicans of the day had their way.