Among reporters, pundits and prognosticators, long-time political soothsayer Stuart Rothenberg is widely respected for his political expertise. When he writes about winners and losers in politics, most inhabitants of media world listen.
In his recent assessment of John Kasich’s second campaign to be Commander-in-Chief, Rothenberg writes in “It’s Official: Put a Fork in Kasich’s Candidacy” what Ohio media is afraid to say, as it pushes the Music Man governor toward a fate that most can see except Camp Kasich, its followers and some reporters who refuse to read the writing on the wall.
The fork in the road may soon find itself in John Kasich come Feb. 9, when political seers like Mr. Rothenberg won’t be surprised when he finishes a distant second or third place or maybe lower, now that Marco Rubio soared to third place in Iowa, turning independent eyes his way. When Ohio’s hot dog governor does reach the fork in the road next Tuesday, his big shiny bus with a debt clock on it might just as well head back to Ohio, where he can mothball it in long-term parking.
Stick A Fork In Kasich
“Feel free to believe that there is a glimmer of hope for Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s bid for the Republican presidential nomination,” Mr. Rothenberg writes. “If that gives you comfort or plays to your own preferences, be my guest. I certainly wouldn’t want to make you uncomfortable. But even if you believe that, try also to understand that Kasich’s campaign is done. You can stick a fork in it. He will not be the GOP nominee for president in 2016. Recent endorsements from two New England newspapers prove that.”
Camp Kasich sees a false sense of optimism, but for this black belt pundit, the party’s over even though New Hampshire, where’s he relocated to, costing Ohio taxpayers probably $1 million or more to protect him, has yet to vote. John Kasich’s only thread of viability comes with being bunched up for second or third place with all the GOP career politicos who this year wear the “establishment lane” candidate bumper sticker.
Now that Marco Rubio has gained ground on New York billionaire Donald Trump and Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Rothenberg says Mr. Kasich has a “ridiculously uphill struggle.” Gov. Kasich may indeed do well in New Hampshire, but his appeal is thin to non-existent aftwards. Other than New Hampshire, the term-limited governor’s ground game is flimsy in other states outside New Hampshire or Ohio.
One of John Kasich’s best selling points—that he wants to work with Democrats—may turn out to be a big liability this year, as non-politicos like Trump and Carson turn traditional politics upside down. Gov. Kasich’s bigger problem, as Rothenberg notes, is that “he continues to be the favorite Republican candidate of Democrats, liberals and members of the media.”
The Boston Globe praised John Kasich in its endorsement, calling him both pragmatic and a moderate conservative. Other newspaper endorsements from The Concord Monitor and then Roll Call columnist Walter Shapiro were trumpeted by Camp Kasich. Then The New York Times chimed in, endorsing him as the best of a bad lot of GOP candidates.
What Camp Kasich thought good turns out to be bad. “The fact that Kasich has drawn compliments or endorsements from these observers guarantees that he cannot be nominated by the Republican Party this year,” Rothenberg notes. He added, “They don’t reflect the GOP electorate, and they aren’t looking for the kind of nominee – the kind of president – that most Republicans would prefer.”
In 2012, the Globe and the Monitor endorsed Jon Huntsman, the least conservative Republican candidate in that year’s race. Like John Kasich, Jon Huntsman was all-in in New Hampshire, too. He finished third then dropped out.
“The endorsements by the Globe, the Monitor and a handful of liberal columnists are not going to kill Kasich’s candidacy,” wrote Mr. Rothenberg. “They merely reflect why his prospects in the race have always been regarded as so poor. To win the Republican nomination, a candidate needs to appeal to Republicans.”
Fiorina Beats Kasich In Iowa
A premonition of what is likely to happen in New Hampshire next Tuesday happened in Iowa Monday night. John Kasich landed far back in the field, with only two percent, putting him in a group hug with Jeb Bush and Chris Christie. In the final tally, Mr. Kasich actually received fewer votes than Carly Fiorina, who has virtually nothing going for her except her problematic history of being CEO of Hewlett Packard when it tanked.
Plunderbund can see and read the writing on the wall. What it says is that he’ll be returning to Ohio to serve out the final two years of his governorship. He won’t be accepting a cabinet post in Washington, either, because the nation will see the light and keep a Democrat in the White House like it did in 2008 and 2012. Whether John Kasich lands the undercard slot as vice president has yet to be seen. It’s difficult to imagine any nominee who has studied the governor thinking he can talk about anyone else other than himself, so Kasich sucking up to the nominee, as a good running mate would do, seems implausible.
Gov. Kasich won’t miss his opportunity to play havoc in Cleveland, where national Republicans are meeting to select their nominee. The Donald or maybe Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio, the emergent troika of candidates holding the GOP’s attention at the moment, will have Gov. Kasich to contend with in Cleveland in late July. Meanwhile, recall that when citizen John Kasich said elect me in 2010 to be a fire-wall against a second term for President Obama two years later, that sales job turned into bombastic bluster.
This year, Gov. Kasich and all the Republicans who run Ohio won’t be the fire-wall to a first-term for whomever Democrats pick, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders or odds-on-favorite Hillary Rodham Clinton.
You heard it here first: What John Kasich will do for future employment once he comes back from his long vacation in New Hampshire and serves out his final two years, will be to somehow figure out how to make himself the next president of his Alma mater, The Ohio State University. Insiders say the governor isn’t as well liked on the OSU board as it might appear given his ability to appoint its members.
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