In the 11th Republican debate, this one held in Detroit and sponsored by Fox News, two hours was filled with an series of shouting matches, personal insults and claims that challenged reality. One focus group called it disgusting, embarrassing, childish and sophomoric.
One of the biggest whoppers of the night came from the lips of Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who has gone 0-16 in primary or caucus wins so far yet promises to beat Donald Trump in Ohio on primary day, March 15.
“I’m the only person on this stage who actually was the chief architect of balancing the federal budget,” the 63-year old term-limited Ohio governor said, according to a transcript of the debate. His talking point is rooted in his dated DC resume and reflects his 18 years in congress.
“It’s not a theory for me. It’s not — it’s not some — you have to know how to put everything together. And you know, I spent 10 years of my life to get there, and I did not do that because I’m worshiping at some balanced budget shrine.” But Kasich has worshiped non-stop at that shrine, since his early years as a state senator in the late 1970’s when his Senate resolution called for a federal balanced budget amendment.
“The reason I did it is when you have commonsense regulations, lower taxes on individuals and businesses, and you have a fiscal plan that makes sense, the job creators will expand employment,” Kasich, now one of four remaining Republicans, said at the debate.
Then he unloaded his whopper: “And what happened? When I was there, the jobs were exploding. Bill Clinton’s tried to take credit for it. When I went to Ohio, we’re up 400,000 jobs. It’s the same formula.”
History will inform the former congressman and his current loyalists, should they care to look, that he voted against Bill Clinton’s first budget that included tax increases, as did all other Republicans. That Clinton budget, the one Kasich voted against after voting against a budget that raised taxes that was proposed by President George H.W. Bush, raised taxes, anathema to Kasich, that kick-started the surplus of revenues the testy, combative congressman then used to pass a balanced budget resolution out of committee
But even first-year students of civics know that Mr. Kasich’s House commitee wasn’t the only stop for the presidents budget back then. The U.S. Senate, controlled by Republicans, likewise played an even big role in that process since it was more bi-partisan than Kasich’s House, which helped the Clinton White House. John Kasich did indeed chair a committee in Congress, but reports from the day show that when final negotiations were underway, John Kasich was sidelined, not playing a role on the final team that negotiated with President Clinton. More powerful congressional leaders sat at that table, as even the uber-Kasich friendly Columbus Dispatch reported dared report in 2010.
Bill Clinton’s two terms produced 23 millions jobs, the most ever by a president, or about five million more jobs than Ronald Reagan takes credit for in his two terms as president. John Kasich in debates acts like a horse wanting to gallop back to the barn as he circles back to his special barn, his resume. He spent 18 years in Washington learning how to be an insider’s insider, that culminated when Speaker Newt Gingrich raptured him to Chairman of the House Budget Committee during Clinton’s second term. His resume is his justification for being the most qualified candidate to win the nomination.
Kasich’s claim of credit for jobs President Clinton and the executive branch created, when he was one of 535 lawmakers in congress, is totally shooting the moon, but that’s basic Kasich.
Under Gov. Kasich, poverty is up especially for children, three of the nation’s top ten distressed cities are Ohio cities and wages are stagnate. The jobs he takes credit for, not a few of them created under his Democratic predecessor, are not high-paying but mostly minimum-plus wage jobs. Ohio still has thousands fewer public sector jobs than before the Great Recession, but Mr. Kasich never mentions that fact because he dismisses public sector workers.
“The big problem that is slowing down our job growth rate is large cuts in government employment,” Ohio’s foremost job data analyst said today. Zeller was prompted to comment on a release from Kasich’s office that private sector growth is. Positive job news is always good news, but when public sector employment goes down and that’s not a concern, as it is by Kasich’s standards, that’s a concern. In this category, Zeller said, Ohio is slowing down.
” The new January 2016 figures made this problem worse today, with additional government cuts at Local Government, State Government, and Federal Government. That public policy blunder continues to slow down Ohio’s rate of recovery,” he said via email.
Kasich may have come off looking adult and reasonable last night, compared to mud fight undertaken by Donald Trump, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, but underneath the governor’s folksy, home-spun demeanor is the same true believer from decades past that still believes the fantasy that a balanced budget is the cure-all to government spending. Mr. Kasich has learned to cloak his dysfunctional understanding of basic economics in the cozy blanket of happy talk about hope and inspiration and working together.
His formula is proven to work for the wealthy, but few others benefit as a look at important metrics for Ohio, especially real job numbers, will show.