It’s pretty amazing when you think about it. Ohio Gov. John Kasich works in “Candyland,” as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie called the easy Republican-led legislature and state Kasich was gifted in 2010 and has enjoyed ever since.
Yet even though he has Ohio media under his thumb—first demonstrated in 2010 and then again in 2014 when he refused to debate his challengers and performed so miserably in an editorial meeting with the Cleveland Plain Dealer that Camp Kasich forced its take down because it showed just how obnoxious their leader can be when he thinks no one is watching—the 63-year old term-limited state CEO finds himself behind the Eight Ball again, as the newest Quinnipiac Poll shows the quaffed New York Billionaire thumping him in the key swing state no Republican who has won the White House has failed to capture.
Quinnipiac’s poll, titled “TRUMP TOPS NATIVE SON KASICH AMONG OHIO REPUBLICANS,” is an omen for the crusty governor who claims he’s not scripted but shows just how scripted he is at each of his trumped up town hall meetings.
“I am not a scripted candidate. I don’t use teleprompters. I don’t run around with all these notes like lots of people do. I’m real and maybe sometimes I might say something that isn’t artfully said as well as it should be but you know I’m kind of a real guy. And I think people want authenticity and I’m going to continue to be authentic. And every once in awhile I’ll have to go back and make sure people know what I really mean when I say something,” Gov. Kasich said, according to reports.
“Not even native son Gov. John Kasich can stop the Donald Trump steamroller as Kasich falls behind the Republican front-runner 31 – 26 percent among Ohio likely Republican primary voters,” Q-Poll said. Since its last look at Ohio politics last October, Trump has actually increased his front-runner status from 23 to 31. Kasich was at 13 percent last fall, but has gained ground on Trump by reducing the margin between them.
Still, it’s absolutely remarkable that John Kasich, who claims the wonders of the universe are at play in Ohio solely because of him, isn’t stomping on Trump in the Buckeye State. Instead Kasich is poised to be embarrassed by losing the state he holds absolute control over on primary election day, March 15.
“A Kasich Ohio win is crucial to the Republicans trying to stop the New York businessman’s nomination. If Trump can defeat Kasich in his home state, that would be an impressive demonstration of his strength in a state that is just now getting attention,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. “But Trump’s lead is just 5 points, certainly not large enough for him to breathe easy.”
What should make Camp Kasich uneasy is Q-Poll noting that 78 percent of his supporters say their mind is made up, higher than supporters of other GOP candidates, especially Kasich. At the same time, Kasich has Ted Cruz nipping at his heels in Ohio, just five points behind the governor. If Trump wins Ohio, as this Q-Poll clearly suggests he can, Kasich would be further embarrassed—and show what a fraud his campaign of hope and light has been—if Cruz catches or passes him.
As big as the great outdoors, John Kasich’s ego was feeling its oats when Mr. Sunny Side Up came out swinging at Marco Rubio. Asked about being VP for Rubio, Ohio’s crusty and combative governor who’s been hiding under the guise of nice guy, said, “Sure, if (Rubio) wants to run for vice president with me, that’d be great. Are you kidding? I don’t run for second.” Actually the best that Gov. Kasich has done in three early state voting contests so far has been a distant second to Trump in New Hampshire. In Iowa and South Carolina, Kasich was little more than a footnote, since he finished in 8th place in Iowa and 5th place in South Carolina.
For those who know him, it’s impossible to imagine him changing his made-up mind on anything. His new strategy to be the “Father Knows Best” candidate shows what a Potemkin Village him casting himself as the reasonable one really is. His anti-women hubris was caught on video and picked up by some national reporters, who so far have feed on Kasich’s self-constructed narrative, even though volumes exist to show how false his narrative of bringing people together to solve problems is on its face. Kasich brings people together to hear what he’s decided to do, that’s it.
Ask a Democrat in Ohio whether he’s brought them together to fix problems and the answer will be “are you kidding?” Kasich barely brings the business community together as he puts his wacky, high-priced budgets together, so why would he bring Democrats together when they control nothing. He joked that he didn’t think Ohio had a Democratic Party.
Maybe reporters ought look at what Democrats say, because today’s Q-Poll also showed that Hillary Clinton is ready to win Ohio again in 2016 just like she did in 2008. Kasich said that can’t happen, but he promised in 2010 to be a firewall to a second term for President Obama.
Kasich has little to tout, but he likes to say he’s the Republicans best bet to beat Hillary in the fall. That conclusions rests entirely with polling that showed, by a wide margin, that a significant number of those polled favored Fox News above seven others that ran from CNN to The Comedy Channel. Kasich worked for Fox News as a Congressman and thereafter for years. He shows up with regularity on the channel he hosted a political talk show.
With Trump way out front and establishment politicos rallying to Marco Rubio now that Jeb Bush is gone after his fourth place showing in South Carolina, there’s more talk of Kasich also bowing out to further narrow the field. “I’m not gonna go shut something down because a bunch of people in the inner city of Washington who frankly never liked me from the beginning are going to tell me what I’m gonna do,” Kasich said with characteristic defiance.
If by “inner city Washington” he means Congress, those are the people he says he knows how to talk to and will build bridges to. The insider-outsider candidates who is afraid to release his tax returns, who’s so afraid of me that his team banned me, who’s wrong on virtually all issues Clinton or Bernie Sanders will mop the national floor with him on, figures if he stays in he’ll end up being the candidate GOP voters finally settle for. Which is to say, when Republicans finish their race to the bottom, they’ll find John Kasich waiting for them there.
Kasich’s greatest talent his political showmanship, a skill he’s honed and demonstrated at four State of the State speeches held outside the statehouse. The statehouse demands decorum, and all governors before John Kasich have honored that tradition. Not so for Ohio’s Music Man leader, he loves gaining the limelight by being out of step. For him, he needs a big stage to hang big flags from as part of the staging for his repetitive homily on how Ohio’s doing. Until I was banned covering his fourth one last year, the previous ones I covered were nothing short of autobiographical exercises into the mind of Mr. Kasich. Running from cover as governor, and likely suspecting that his second run for the White House won’t end up better than his first run in 2000, John Kasich talks to his audiences like he’s looking in a mirror.
In separate but tantalizingly related news, The Columbus Dispatch, the capital city newspaper that’s trumpeted Kasich over his career in politics, wrote Tuesday about John Kasich’s first political employer.
“On this day in 1989, U.S. Rep. Donald ‘Buz’ Lukens, of Cincinnati, is indicted on a charge involving sex with a 16-year-old girl,” The Dispatch wrote based on its library. Lukens hired John Kasich as his legislative aide, who then ran and won an Ohio Senate seat. Kasich credits women left their kitchens to help him win. I prefer to remember the day he asked me back in 1978 how a young, energetic attorney and progressive candidate who I worked for won his seat by beating a party endorsed incumbent? What I told John Kasich that day appears to have worked for him, but he would probably have to be water boarded for him to admit to it now.