The Force definitely wasn’t with Ohio Gov. John Kasich in his 2016 run for the White House. In fact, The Force was so not with him that Ohio’s 69th chief executive, now a lame duck governor, could only win one state, Ohio, while losing 46 others.
Donald John Trump’s big Orange Machine sent the former Lehman Brothers banker, and every GOP candidate who thought this was their year to shine bright and win the hearts and minds of American voters, to an early grave.
Defined as a person who is unable to make up his or her mind on an issue, especially in politics, or a person who is neutral on a controversial issue, maybe Gov. Kasich is a 2016 version of mugwumps in 1884? That’s the funny name bestowed on those who refused back then to support James G. Blaine, the Republican Party’s nominee.
Kasich Lane A Lonely Lane
Day by day John Kasich finds himself stuck in his own coddled “Kasich Lane” of wanting Mr. Trump to undergo some metamorphosis that, like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly, will turn the bombastic, combative, fact-free New York billionaire and real estate folk hero into a candidate John Kasich can agree to endorse who will also pass muster with his wife and twin daughters, whose opinion, he says, guides him.
Once off the campaign trail following the drubbing he took in Indiana—some say he’s living in the shadows, licking his wounds—Gov. Kasich said in an recent interview that he “can’t support Trump with his current negativity, scapegoating and willingness to…run people into the ditch.”
“Unless I see a fundamental change in that approach, it’s really hard for me to do a merger,” Kasich told his two of his favorite fawning newspapers who have chronicled his second unsuccessful run for president a dutiful adjunct PR staff. “Think of it as a merger of two companies. If the values are not somewhat similar, if the culture is not somewhat similar, it’s pretty hard to do a merger,” Mr. Kasich said from the Statehouse in downtown Columbus on May 25th.
Kasich thought staying out of the food-fight between Donald Trump and anyone who threatened him was the positive approach. Just how wrong he was is now crystal clear.
‘Just Relax’ Mitch McConnell Says About Donald Trump
But while Gov. Kasich plays hard to get, as has been his practice over the long arc of his lucrative career as a performance politician, other far bigger GOP leaders, a growing number of whom are big wheels in Washington, are falling in line behind Mr. Trump. Based exclusively on their fear of keeping Hillary Clinton, who is widely expected to become the Democratic nominee this year, from winning this fall, Republican leaders like Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader, are hopping on-board the Trump train.
“Some people have said our nominee is too controversial and that will cause you problems,” Mitch McConnell revealed in an interview about his memoir, The Long Game, being published Tuesday by Sentinel, USA Today reported Tuesday. McConnell says he has no problem envisioning working with Trump in the White House.
“Our nominee brags about, I think correctly, as somebody who’s transactional, somebody who, as he puts it, makes deals. Well, that’s what you have to do in order to function legislatively, so I’m not worried about it at all. I think he’d be fine,” he said in a published report. He dismissed concerns by some Republicans—think Gov. John Kasich—about his ideology and persona.
“I want to win the election, and I have to say Donald Trump has done a good job so far of winning elections,” McConnell says. “I hope he can win one more.”
Kasich Chill Pill?
Mr. Kasich was happy to tell people in his many town hall meetings to “chill out.” He said that “everyone needs to take a deep breath, respect one another.”
Back in Ohio, where lots of Kasich administration controversy about and scandals wait to bloom, Gov. Kasich is forewarning Ohioans that he’s going to “scare people” with lots of changes in his final two years on the job.
Is this the “best that’s yet to come,” a promise he made in 2014 when he won his second and final term?
“My goal is to Uberize the government of Ohio as best I can, and it will scare people, because it’s going to require a lot of change and risk.” While John Kasich again didn’t explain a clear vision for what “Uberizing” government means, it’s safe to say it will involve more privatization of government services, a hallmark of Republicans who tout smaller government as a good thing.
So when Republicans come to Cleveland in late July, will Gov. John Kasich be there as a supporter of Donald Trump or will he continue driving in his own lane as the party, its nominee and voters from Maine to California, who gave Mr. Trump his 1,237 first-ballot votes, passes him by?
Can Kasich take his own deep breath and chill now that he’s a historical footnote in national politics? Time and change will surely show, how firm his friendship, O-HI-O.