Ohio Gov. John Kasich has been so wrong on so many things for so long, that when he confessed Thursday, “They don’t care what I think,” an oblique reference he made to Republican congressional leaders playing politics, he earned some credit for a little Ohio miracle of his own, telling the god awful truth about who if anybody is really listening to him.
The 64-year-old lame duck governor’s acknowledgment of the obvious could also be amended to include some of his same-party lawmakers in Columbus. In all his previous budgets, they too have shown how much they don’t care what he thinks. Some of Gov. Kasich’s biggest budget asks have been summarily shot down with regularity by members of his own party, who today control the Ohio legislature by wide margins.
From wanting to tax frackers more or raising other taxes to offset the billions he’s given in income tax giveaways that disproportionately benefit Ohio’s wealthiest class, Gov. Kasich has often found himself at odds with the business community—the bread and butter on any GOP spread of ideas—which has lined up against him.
Politico posted a story Thursday, after Gov. Kasich addresses the 72nd annual Radio & Television Correspondents’ Dinner the previous day, on just how out of the leadership loop Ohio’s term-limited governor finds himself. For his entire career as a performance politician, John Kasich has always held fast to the notion that if the deck isn’t stacked in his favor, he’s not interested in the card game. In the first Republican presidential debate held in Cleveland early last August, Gov. Kasich raised his hand, along with everyone else with the debatable exception of Donald Trump, to affirm he would support whomever the Republican nominee for president turned out to be.
Way back then, Mr. Trump was considered by Beltway pundits to be more of a sideshow rather than the main event. But since then, Mr. Kasich and all the other challengers vying for the GOP prize who were run over by the Big Orange Machine, the deck has been reshuffled with Trump holding all the aces.
Some may recall that during that first debate Gov. Kasich actually told Mr. Trump to fund his campaign. But Gov. Kasich never quite got the attention, or the campaign cash, to keep him in the national media’s eye. His best outing came late in the game, when he won his home state, but by less than 50 percent. For all the other primaries, he came in at best a distant second in a couple, but far behind the Donald, who left Mr. Kasich to implode on his own while drilling down on Sens. “lying” Ted Cruz and “little” Marco Rubio.
Now that the GOP nominee will be Donald J. Trump, Gov. Kasich is having second and third thoughts about honoring the commitment he made, even though he maintains he’s been a lifelong, loyal Republican. True to his tactic of waiting for the smoke to clear before he decides whether it’s to his advantage to swing one way or the other, he said, “I’m not making any final decision yet” on supporting the Donald.
“You know, it’s painful. It’s painful. You know, people even get divorces, you know?” he said. “I mean, sometimes, things come out that, look, I’m sorry that this has happened. But we’ll see where it ends up. I’m not making any final decision yet, but at this point, I just can’t do it,” he told his political buddy, Joe Scarborough on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” show.