After Ohio Gov. John Kasich bowed out less than two weeks ago—after losing 46 Republican primary contests and winning only one—the 64-year old lame duck governor disappeared into the shadows.
The term-limited governor had clearly had his fill of reporters lobbing unwanted, annoying questions at him after more than 200-plus days of running out of state for a job Ohio voters didn’t elect him to run for because he didn’t include his ambition to be president in his reasons for a second term as governor.
After 18 years in congress and many years of working at Fox News as a political talk show host, John Kasich learned how to manhandle media. Starting with not scheduling regular press availability event, Camp Kasich held lots of photo-op performances where as the star of the show he came, he saw, he spoke, he left. Reporters permitted to attend were left rummaging through statements that usually conflated issues, or were packed with ideological beliefs long since disproved or showed the veiled theocrat lurking below his forced up-beat, guy-next-door persona.
Students of basic Kasich know he’s mostly intolerant of media in general, and some pesky reporters in particular, including yours truly. Gov. Kasich ran his second failed presidential campaign this year much like he did his campaigns for governor in 2010 and four years later, relying on media to take notes on what he said without offering much or any push back or challenges. Ohio statehouse reporters are a close-knit group that enjoys its Fourth Estate entitlement of access to government officials at all levels. Some were barked at when they dared ask the Pennsylvania-born refugee questions he didn’t want to answer, while others were frozen out, as was my case when Camp Kasich refused to issue press credentials to cover his State of the State address in February of 2015, even though issuing them to me for his previous four events, and after covering my history of covering them for two former governors, Robert Taft and Ted Strickland.
Coming out of the shadows on Monday, Gov. Kasich will be interviewed by CNN’s Anderson Cooper at 8 p.m. at the Ohio governor’s mansion in Columbus, reports tell us. The Q and A will be his first interview since he suspended his presidential campaign after the drubbing he took in Indiana nearly two weeks ago. Mr. Kasich, one of the 17 GOP candidates to compete for the presidency, was the last to suspend his campaign.
But with low cash on hand, and little hope to raise any significant amounts to keep his shinny campaign bus with a ticking debt clock on it, dropping out was a win-win for him. First, he didn’t have the money to compete and didn’t have to raise more. Second, he was doomed for further embarrassed as his positive conservative message that made him more suitable to be the National Chaplin than the commander-in-chief wasn’t what GOP base voters wanted. Instead of hugs and hope, the so-called angry base that has rallied around Donald Trump wanted the kind of bombast and showmanship that only Trump could bring without breaking a sweat.
And bring it he did, sending Mr. Kasich and all others to an early grave. But now there’s talk about someone coming out of that grave to take on Donald Trump. Politico reported that there’s an effort inside the GOP to draft an independent candidate to derail the Donald. According to the Washington Post, a a “band of exasperated Republicans” that includes 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney and others is “actively plotting to draft an independent presidential candidate who could keep Donald Trump from the White House.”
Guess who they’re courting? Ohio’s own, Mr. one in 46, Gov. John Kasich. The their recruiting prospect is freshman Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.).
Anderson Cooper has interviewed Gov. Kasich before, so he he should know Kasich’s game plan, speaking in half-truth or incomplete sentences designed to reveal his liability of his cherished “Kasich Lane” as an asset. A pro like Cooper could, if he so chose, to hoist the governor with his own petard on one issue after another.
If Mr. Cooper should stumble upon this report, he might want to ditch his likely horse-race questions that Beltway reporters are stuck with, and pop off a few pointed questions for John Kasich to take a swing at.
Now that Gov. Kasich has returned home, he’s come under fire over a number of issues that a celebrity TV newsman like Anderson Cooper might be bold enough to ask. If Cooper wants to see Gov. Kasich scramble the jets, he might consider pitching any of these top ten questions:
1) Will he endorse Donald Trump, should he become the nominee in Cleveland, after saying the New York billionaire and businessman folk hero represents the worst choice Republicans can make?
2) If he capitulates to endorsing Mr. Trump, how active will he be in campaigning for Team Trump, starting in Ohio, where Trump got 35 percent of primary votes to Kasich’s 46 percent?
3) Will he go to Cleveland, cite of the GOP’s 2016 nominating convention in July, and if so, what will his profile be once there?
4) Since Ohio voters only elected him to be governor, not president, will Camp Kasich reimburse Buckeye taxpayers for costs of providing security protection to him and his family while campaigning for a higher office in most other states?
5) Will he continue to argue that Ohio’s for-profit charter school system is in check now, after signing budgets that doled out billions to them since his he took office in early 2011?
6) He talked about how gerrymandering is bad, but will he do anything more than give it limited lip service?
7) Will he continue to sign bills into law that make women’s access to their constitutionally guaranteed right to have an abortion more difficult?
8) Will he continue to back his Health Department’s “Healthy Ohio” plan to force Medicaid-eligible Ohioans to pay more and get less?
9) Will he continue to sign legislation that makes voting harder?
10)Will he continue to push the most vulnerable citizens, who have come to depend on skilled health care professionals taking care of them 24-7, into dicey for-profit community living settings that they are their guardians are saying will do them a great injustice?
There are 50 other questions Gov. Kasich should have to answer, but if Anderson Cooper asked one or more, he would be eligible for Plunderbund’s certificate of recognition for responsible journalism.