You have to hand it to Ohio’s term-limited governor, John Kasich, for his unbounded desire to run roughshod over anyone who crosses his path. We don’t know what part of Scripture Mr. Kasich would point to as justification for how he treats people in general, but from some who witnessed his style in Virginia yesterday, the incident helps explain why he’s loosing ground and has high unlikability quotients.
The equal opportunity offender showed again that what he thinks is “cool” is really a totally un-cool way for a 63-year old chief executive to treat anyone, let alone a young, engaged female voter like a stereotypical teenager who’s only interest is to snag free tickets to see popular celebrity song writer and singer Taylor Swift.
Pinning all his hopes on a good showing in New Hampshire, where voters will cast ballots next February 1 for their favorite candidate for president, Gov. Kasich’s campaign, according to Quinnipiac University latest poll, is headed in the wrong direction. He’s has lost ground to Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina and Dr. Ben Carson. When he does get media attention, it’s almost always a result of bristly, father-knows-best attitude, a personality feature that argues against him being able to bring divergent positions together hard, if not impossible to believe.
Kasich got his attention, though, but but for all the wrong reasons. Captured by Kayla Solsbak for The Collegian, her article titled “No, John Kasich, I don’t want Taylor Swift tickets” cast the Ohio governor as an old guy out of touch with young voters when he spoke at the University of Richmond.
“I’m sorry, I don’t have any Taylor Swift concert tickets,” Kasich said, according to reports and videos. “The older members of the audience chuckled as my friends’ jaws dropped to the floor. It was astonishingly clear that Gov. Kasich did not come to Richmond for my vote,” Solsbak wrote.
Doing what most candidates do, Gov. Kasich, who polls show would place third in his own home state to Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson, was true to form performing before a friendly GOP crowd, as he’s done since he announced his candidacy in early July in Columbus.
Solsbak wrote that Kasich was condescending, and that he chose not to listen to students in his forum. Most of the questions came from older members of the community, she said, many vocalizing their support of Kasich before throwing him a softball question. Delivering his anti-Planned Parenthood pitch, Ohio’s Music Man governor dismissed the young woman who posed it, Solsbak wrote. She added, “…and [Kasich] derided me when I had the audacity to raise my hand. Kasich came to Richmond to pander to retired Republicans. He could gain points by belittling me and my peers, so that’s what he did.”
The Collegian reported that Mr. Kasich, who has twin teenage daughters, entered the town hall forum with the 2014 hit song “Shut Up and Dance With Me.”
“While my friends all found it out of place, I realized that the song’s title accurately reflects Kasich’s message to young voters: shut up and elect me.” And according to the college paper, Kasich showed he likes to get in the parting shot, mocking her, saying “I’m sure you get invited to all of the parties.”
Voters might ask themselves if the Mr. Kasich, who’s campaign theme is based on hope and inspiration because it apparently has nothing else to offer, would be okay with a competing candidate, Republican or Democrat, who said the same thing in the same way to his daughters?
Advice to Gov. Kasich and his team of PR handlers from Solsbak: “If the candidate wants to connect with my peers, he can’t do it through superficial pop culture references. If he wants our votes, he needs to listen to our voices and address the issues we care about. The president leads the country, not the VMAs, and it’s insulting that the governor doesn’t think we can distinguish between the two. I didn’t go to a town hall forum for Taylor Swift tickets, Gov. Kasich. I went because it’s my civic duty to be an informed voter. Please start treating me like one.”
Two other candidates once thought competitive, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, saw the handwriting on the wall, in the form of terribly low national polling numbers, and got out of the race. Walker urged others with similarly low ratings, which would include John Kasich, to show their leadership by exiting stage right so more attention can be focused on those who have not been voted of the GOP island of presidential wannabees.
When presidential election cycles arrive, voter turn out, including the youth vote, goes up. If John Kasich still thinks he’s one cool cat, episodes like the one in Virginia show just how un-cool his campaign is if he continues to treat voters, no matter their age, like political props for his agenda, which diverges on nearly every point with what American voters want in their next president.
Kasich may not know, or choose to ignore it, but he seems to have all the wrong moves when it comes to voters, young or old, gay or straight, man or woman.