Writing in The Atlantic Magazine, James Fallows, a national correspondent who’s written for the magazine since the late 1970’s, nailed Ohio Gov. John Kasich to his own cross built on duplicitous, contradictory and misleading statements.
John Kasich has enjoyed little if any push back on his narrative that he’s somehow different than the toxic brood of Republican co-candidates who seek the Republican nomination for president this year.
Fallows’ article, “The 40 Seconds John Kasich Will Think About for the Rest of His Life,” has an engaging subtitle: “He had the chance to hit a home run, as a big, slow pitch came right over the middle of the plate. He chose not to swing.”
The focus of Fallows’ piece is how Ohio’s governor answered the question posed to him and two other contenders—Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio—at the end of the debate in Detroit last Thursday night. The question was whether they will support the Republican nominee, no matter what, especially if it’s Donald Trump? All three eventually answered they would.
Fallows boils down arguments for John Kasich as the best candidate to three: “I’m the sane one. I’m the one with a heart. I’m the one who cares about the actual machinery of legislation. I’m the one who can get something done.” The widely respected author then penned a response he thinks John Kasich, a Washington insider’s insider who has now added governor duties to his long but dated resume, should have given, but didn’t.
“Look, I’m a loyal Republican. I’ve given my working life to this party, because in the Congress and in the State House I’ve seen what sensible conservatism can mean for our people. The party of Lincoln and of Eisenhower and of Reagan, the party of [fill in the next three lines of “morning-in-America”-ism] has always stood for liberty and opportunity at home, and for strength and dignity abroad.
And it’s precisely because I care so much about those principles, and because I have so much respect for the generations of Republican men and women across this country who have worked so hard to make them a reality, that I will not stand for the hi-jacking and perversion of our party by someone who has just happened upon it as his latest vehicle of convenience, and who represents nothing that Lincoln or Eisenhower or Reagan would support.
Because I care so much for the Republican Party, I will not support someone who is the antithesis of everything it represents. I will work as hard as I can to keep Donald Trump from being our nominee — and I cannot support him as a potential president.”
Instead, when Kasich was at the bat, he whiffed by not evening swinging, Fallows concludes. The author of “Breaking The News,” a must-read review of how news and news organizations broke the public’s trust as 24/7 cable news TV emerged in the 1990’s, chided Kasich for not saying what he should have, given the 63-year old term-limited state leader will still be Ohio’s governor for another two years if he doesn’t become president or vice president or accept a cabinet position should Republicans defeat Democrats this fall.
With his reluctant admission that he will support Donald Trump should the party nominate him in July in Cleveland, Fallows figures Kasich loses in three ways: “Your criticism of him rings hollow; you make it all the more likely that the Trump Express keeps rolling on; and you badly weaken your own case as the sane-Republican’s alternative in some convention-breakdown scenario.”
While Kasich may avoid the humiliation New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie now wears like an tight-fitting suit, Kasich’s opportunity to appear as the one still-active candidate who stood against The Donald came—and went, Fallows opines.
And when it went, John Kasich, who campaigns as a moderate but governs hard-right as his record clearly demonstrates, showed for all the world to see—and in stark contrast to the image of the adult in the room he’s been pushing of late—that he’s not a sane-Republican.
Kasich’s Judgement Day
Meanwhile, Mr. Kasich faces his own Judgement Day. On March 15th, Ohio holds its primary election. If polls are accurate, John Kasich won’t hold his own state to Donald Trump. The same goes for Marco Rubio in Florida. Ted Cruz won his home state of Texas. Kasich has lost 16 straight primary elections, and could lose his 17th next Tuesday in Michigan.
Even though John Kasich launched his bid for president last July, his only chance after eight months to be that nominee rests on Trump not outright winning the 1237 delegates needed. If Trump arrives at the Republican convention in Cleveland with a plurality but not a majority, that’s exactly what Kasich, Rubio and Cruz are hoping happens.
Engaging in skulduggery is nothing new to John Kasich, who successfully employed Nixon-era dirty tricks to knock a potential challenger off the 2014 ballot for governor. As someone who has surrounded himself with lobbyists and “K-street” players during his years in congress, Kasich’s statement that he’s “somewhat worried that ‘lobbyists’ and ‘K Street’ would try to ‘pick their guy’ in a contested convention demands more attention since it’s so false on its face.