A detailed assessment of Gov. John Kasich by conservative policy group Heritage Action America flies of the face of the sweet, positive narrative Camp Kasich has been feeding to Ohio’s starry eyed reporters still in the tank for their governor.
For the fourth Republican presidential debate, this one to take place in Wisconsin Tuesday, Chris Christie and Mike Huckabee won’t be in the main event, but Gov. Kasich will be. At a meeting with the Seacoast Media Group [SMG] editorial board last Thursday, Mr. Kasich covered all his familiar presidential talking points. What got press in New Hampshire, where he can’t finish lower than third if he wants to avoid an early trip to the GOP showers, was his support for the Base Realignment and Closure process.
Kasich drew criticism from shipyard union leaders and U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte in September for suggesting that BRAC “makes everyone more efficient” and that it “keeps everyone on their toes,” SMG reporter Howard Altschiller wrote.
Neither Altschiller or anyone else in the room likely knew enough to question Mr. Kasich about a similar meeting last year at the Cleveland Plain Dealer editorial board, where the twice-elected, term-limited governor and his chief rivals for governor were interviewed and video tapped.
The Plain Dealer pulled down the unflattering video from the Internet after Kasich’s PR handlers realized how bad it made the governor look. For the limited time it was viewable, it showed the world just how dismissive, mean and snarky the 63-year old Kasich can be in person. Ohio’s largest paper threatened to sue Plunderbund over posting the video online.
Heritage Action Critiques Kasich
Heritage Action America profiles Gov. Kasich along with the other GOP field of White House hopefuls in its recently released 2016 Presidential Platform Review. Growth, opportunity, civil society, limited government, favoritism and national security are the key focus areas for the report’s 53-page review.
Heritage Action Highlights On John Kasich
Kasich On Growth: “Kasich’s growth agenda is undermined by his openness to anti-energy policies.”
Kasich On Opportunity: “Kasich has innovative ideas on opportunity, though not all are grounded in limited government principles.”
Kasich On Civil Society: “By justifying the expansion of government with appeals to religious teachings
regarding personal charity, Kasich conflates the role of big government with the role of civil society.”
Kasich On Limited Government: “Kasich’s work in Congress to limit federal power stands in contrast to his record as governor of supporting policies like Ohio’s Medicaid expansion.”
Kasich On Favoritism: “Kasich has supported policies that benefit well-connected interests like the
steel industry while denying responsibility for the cronyism that results.”
Kasich On National Security: “Kasich places a high priority on defending the nation’s security interests
but is reluctant to roll back President Obama’s Iran deal.”
Center For Public Integrity Grades Ohio D+
Heritage Act didn’t tackle open and transparent government under the Kasich Administration, but a new report by the Center For Public Integrity did, and Ohio earned a D+. Catherine Turcer, a long-time advocate for good, open and transparent government at Common Cause-Ohio, said too many loopholes remain.
“While Ohio has many appropriate ethics rules and a strong Sunshine Law,” she said, “The development of quasi-governmental entities like JobsOhio and charter schools permit lack of transparency and reduce accountability.” Expanding on several positive developments in terms of open government, the report notes they all came not from the Kasich Administration but from other state agencies, including state auditor, state treasurer, supreme court and the Ohio Senate.
Among the reports findings was a list Kasich Administration shortcomings. Gov. Kasich tried to keep the public from seeing resumes of those who applied for jobs in his administration; he didn’t want to conduct his swearing-in in public until newspapers protested; he won’t share his calendar in advance, and he doesn’t include political or other “unofficial” activities; the governor’s office won’t release general spending information about taxpayer money used for State Highway Patrol security to protect the governor as he travels the country running for president.
Gov. Kasich and his team have delayed providing public records to Plunderbund on several issues, also.