There is likely little love lost between Ohio Gov. John Kasich and the Toledo Blade Newspaper. The northwest Ohio publication is one of the state’s Big Eight legacy newsprint papers, and on occasion musters the editorial fortitude to rain hard on the CEO-style governor’s parade in ways the other seven rarely if ever do.
For the record, the Blade did not endorse Gov. Kasich in first run in 2010 or his reelection bid in 2014, so editorial “Sore Loser,” spanking Gov. Kasich on what he’s said and done this campaign season, isn’t the first time the daily paper has taken up arms against the lame duck leader who leaves office in 29 short months.
Meanwhile, with Republicans meeting in Cleveland this week, John Kasich’s crusty, self-centered personality showed that if the story isn’t about him—and it won’t be from now on, after Donald Trump left Cleveland with the GOP’s nomination for president in-hand—he’s proudly not interested.
The Sorest Loser
“Sore Loser” slapped the 64-year old Kasich for not speaking at the Republican convention or even delivering welcoming remarks like Cleveland’s Democratic Mayor Frank Jackson, who won’t be pulling the level for Trump. On May 4, Kasich became the last GOP challenger to drop out of the race after losing 49 state primaries to mostly Donald Trump or Tex. Senator Ted Cruz. Trump’s campaign manager said by Kasich “embarrassed” Ohio by choosing to say outside the arena and not endorsing the leader other Republicans are now rallying around for the sake of party unity.
The governor of the must-win battleground state Ohio, whose campaign was built on him being a uniter, has refused to even try to unite with Trump, who has re-branded the Republican Party in his own image. And that’s probably one reason why John Kasich has shown his happy words about his healing powers are so much hokum. The more Republicans who gulp down Trump Kool-Aid the more Kasich’s childish reluctance to join in all the GOP reindeer games isolates further a stubborn, petulant political child who if he doesn’t get it his way, likes to take his ball and go home.
Believe me, Donald Trump got it his way big time, and John Kasich’s new day, new way narrative was as weak this year as his last failed White House run was in 2000.
Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, the incumbent Republican, is stuck in a tight reelection race with his out of office challenger, former Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland. Portman, the wealthy yet little known Republican from Cincinnati summoned the courage to defend his friend and political ally, Kasich. “John is not an embarrassment,” Portman said, the AP reported. Others and this publication couldn’t disagree with Sen. Portman more.
John Kasich like Rob Portman as everywhere else in Cleveland but inside the Quicken Loans Arena. Ohio’s off-putting, term-limited governor found time in his lax schedule to speak to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the NAACP in Cincinnati last Sunday and to the British ambassador to the U.S. He also sent out a fundraising appeal on behalf of House Speaker Paul Ryan, whose policy ideas would be embraced by Kasich without question. Ohio’s 69th governor, who said he has no regrets, got run over by the Trump Train, whose engineer quipped that had he lost as badly as Kasich, he might not show up either. On Friday morning, the day after his 75-minute speech based on gloom and doom, Donald Trump got in another poke at Kasich, saying he and Tex. Senator Ted Cruz, who refused to endorse Trump during his prime time talk Thursday night and got booed off the stage in the process, need to come around as other state governors like Scott Walker in Wisconsin and Chris Christie in New Jersey have done.
John Kasich is the state governor who early in life wanted to become a Catholic priest, and who would be unanimous choice for National Chaplin if such an office existed. Kasich continues to talk about his worn out campaign theme of “two paths,” which the he said will become the basis for book about his second failed run for the White House. His first one failed in 2000, when Kasich quit the congressional seat he held for 18 years and thought the Lord had called him to be the leader of the free world.
Kasich biblical brain likes to portray himself as the light while Trump and others represent darkness. “I see our country heading down two paths,” Kasich said, noting that the only alternative to a Democratic White House with Hillary Clinton “is the path that my friend Speaker Paul Ryan envisions.” That path as others have discerned is to eliminate nearly all discretionary federal funding. Kasich and Ryan’s path are one of extreme austerity, a path Kasich showed he’s willing to take in Ohio when he stiffed cities and schools by withholding billions in state funding he’s either given away in income tax cuts, stored in the state rainy day fund or give away in giant raises to managers in his administration.
The Blade editorial notes that Kasich, in spite of losing badly to Donald Trump, thinks he’s got another shot in 2020. “It seems very clear that he [Kasich] is already gearing up for another run in 2020. (One of the delegations he is visiting with this week is from New Hampshire.) How do you aspire to be a leader of your party — maybe even THE leader — and not support the party’s nominee? Especially when Ohio is key and you are the governor of Ohio?”
Not paying a political price for denying support to the nominee of a political party was at one time considered to be political suicide, the paper said. Other Ohio newspapers have coddled Kasich, even though he has big scandals sitting on his doorstep waiting to explode, from charter schools to secretive deals to derail potential ballot challengers, among others. Ohio media has turned blind eye to Kasich’s behind-the-scenes politics that involve Nixon-era skulduggery and milking taxpayers like plump heifers.
“Mr. Kasich portrays himself as a man of high principle for withholding his endorsement,” Blade editorial writers said. “If this is the case, it would behoove Mr. Kasich to explain specifically what his stumbling block is: Perhaps he cannot accept the Trump position on trade, which is now in the party platform. Or the Trump position on immigration. If he believes Mr. Trump is unfit to be president, either by temperament or experience or both, he needs to say that.”
From the perspective of the Blade, John Kasich’s so-called high principles begin to look more and more like “high pique,” and “no small amount of political calculation.” Gov. Kasich has long said he’s above politics but everything he does or says seems to ignore that deceitful declaration.
“If the Trump campaign is a train wreck and Mrs. Clinton wins in a landslide and takes a house of Congress in the bargain, the most prominent anti-Trumper still of age in 2020 will be a media darling and the establishment’s preferred choice that year,” Sore Loser notes.
Kasich, OSU Next President?
Any talk about 2020, even before the 2016 election is finished, is why today’s media is held in such low esteem, and why American politics is hitting new lows. In another four years John Kasich will have been out of elected office for two years; what he’ll be doing then is anyone’s best guess. He won’t go back to Wall Street, and since he considers himself a CEO, he doesn’t want to be a legislator either. Maybe he’ll retire to his porch, where he said he’d be happy to be if he doesn’t connect with voters, which turns out to be a self-fulling prophecy.
What’s the best post-governor job in Ohio? This reporter advances the idea that John Kasich will force himself, with the help of a friendly Republican legislature, to become the next president of The Ohio State University, his Alma mater where he launched his run for president in July of 2015.
If Donald Trump should win this fall, a challenge by an out of politics performer like John Kasich against a powerhouse incumbent like Trump will be a fool undertaking a fool’s errand. If he lost this badly this year, when he was supposed to be the Midwest governor with the best resume to save the nation against a blowhard businessman who never ran for public office, what are his chances of unseating President Trump and his Republican Party?
If the worst of times, should Hillary Clinton win as conventional wisdom says she’s likely to do in a razor thin race, being out of sight will also mean being out of mind. Kasich out office won’t make the heart grow fonder for anyone other than Kasich’s cult that make their money by clinging to his public coattails. And anyway, by 2020 Democrats might have control of the Senate and the House, as supporters of President Obama and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’, Hillary Clinton’s chief rival this year, turn out to vote in 2018 as a trial run for her reelection in 2020. When that coalition is compared to John Kasich’s most favored status among older white people who are shrinking by the day, his appeal may not even win him his home state of Ohio
Trump On Kasich: ‘Irrelevant, Not A Factor’
Trading insults this week, the Team Trump and Camp Kasich show never the twain shall meet. Speaking to about 300 GOP donors Thursday night, before he gave his much awaited acceptance speech, Donald Trump dumped on John Kasich. “If I got beaten as bad as Kasich got beaten by me, I wouldn’t support him either,” Politico wrote about what two people at the meeting said Trump said. The report said that Trump went further, saying “he didn’t care about Kasich’s endorsement, arguing that the governor is irrelevant and not a factor in the race.”
An account made by unnamed Kasich aides to the governor’s favorite, friendly Ohio newspaper, The Columbus Dispatch, that Trump offered Kasich to be the most powerful vice president ever is quite a stretch. The governor has been overt and irreconcilably hostile to Trump’s Big Orange Machine. Retaliating, Trump sources told CNN they never considered Kasich, and that “his [Kasich’s] background read like a ‘trashy novel.'”
Trump spokesman Jason Miller told CNN about what unnamed Kasich sources, “It’s completely ridiculous. There was never an offer made. It’s completely made up.”
Kasich does have two paths, and neither one leads him to become leader of the free world. It’s too bad, but a sign of the times, that the Toledo Blade, occasionally, stands as one old fashioned newspaper that can summon up the courage to call out leaderless leaders.