John Kasich will be Governor of Ohio for another two years. During this time, Ohio taxpayers will be socked without mercy or resource for a hefty yet undisclosed tab that has already been accumulated to protect him, family members and staffers as he unsuccessfully campaigned for president since July of 2015.
Rumors that Ohio’s lame duck governor is now in 2020 campaign mode, with dreams of winning what he couldn’t win twice before, in 2000 and this year, abound. Reporters in Ohio and again in New Hampshire may fall for his quixotic musings on becoming the Republican Party’s presidential nominee of the future, if Donald Trump can’t make that magic happen this year.
Reports surfaced Monday that Gov. Kasich will be back in his second home state, New Hampshire, to mingle with supporters and weigh in on the Republican gubernatorial primary. Back in the state he bet the ranch on, that rewarded him with a distant second place to Donald Trump, the 64-year old former Lehman Brothers banker, was there—along with his Ohio Highway Patrol protection—to campaign for Chris Sununu, the brother of former U.S. Sen. John E. Sununu, a top Kasich ally. The AP reported that Mr. Kasich is campaigning with Republicans across the country but hasn’t endorsed any other non-incumbents in contested primaries.
He spent about six months in the tiny state trying to win first place so he could get on the rocket ship he said doing well in the Granite State puts a candidate on. His rocket ship never arrived, and he went on to lose 49 state contests, winning only one, Ohio. Despite his 49 loses, Gov. Kasich was the last Trump opponent to drop out on May 4.
“I only have a couple years left in my term and my job now is to try to figure out who I can pass the baton too, the pragmatic conservative baton, so they can carry on with the next leg of the run,” Kasich told Granite Staters Monday, according to the AP.
The Boston Globe reported that Kasich’s return to New Hampshire “would be perhaps the earliest, most explicit show of White House ambitions in the history of the New Hampshire primary.”
As Globe reporter James Pindell put it, “The trip is risky for Kasich and unhelpful for Sununu, but it is great political theater for those who love politics.”
It appears Ohio taxpayers will be forced to pay for the expensive political exploits of a professional performance politician who enjoys the favor of the Republican-led legislature and knows state watchdogs, like the Inspector General who he appoints, will be asleep at the switch when it comes to wanton, abusive state spending that serves no one but Mr. Kasich’s personal ego.
Meanwhile, as Ohio continues to suffer from too slow job growth, a looming budget hole over $1 billion with billions more are spent on greedy, poor performing for-profit charter schools, John Kasich will show again why he failed to light a fire under Republicans.
The New Hampshire Union Leader continued its stenographic coverage of Mr. Kasich, reporting him saying, “Reboot? I don’t even know what that means,” he said when asked about whether Donald Trump has changed enough for Ohio’s 69th governor to say something nice about the New York billionaire who has shown he thinks Ohio’s governor is irrelevant.
“There has been no change as far as I can see; it’s the same old thing,” Kasich said, adding his new line to avoid talking about the Donald: “I’ll just let my actions speak louder than words.”
While Gov. Kasich is stuck in never-Trumpville, Rob Frost, Chairman of the Cuyahoga County Republican Party appears to see things differently. Frost told one reporter this about Donald Trmp: “We have seen the candidate become a stronger candidate, and in large part he’s incorporating a lot of what we have been talking about,” Frost says. “There were a lot of voices encouraging Donald Trump to use less divisive language. We have seen him do that.” If Mr. Frost has seen a change, inquiring minds would like to know why can’t Kasich see it?
The costs to protect Gov. Kasich will rise with his travel plans out of state. “I have a really busy schedule all over the country,” Kasich said. “I’m going to the south soon. I’ve been out west, to the Midwest and, of course, to the Northeast where some think I can do the most good. I am helping governors — if that works for them — senators, House members. I will even do legislative stuff.” All of this travel, of course, will require protection, and that protection will cost taxpayers. Gov. Kasich and his administration have refused to provide details on state costs to protect him, leaving others to make educated guesses on the costs that easily have passed $1 million.
According to Union Leader reporter Kevin Landrigan, Kasich joked about the small Granite State, “I always love coming back to New Hampshire — that is, of course, if the voters choose to reject me again.” He did say something correct for a change, that “sometimes we make a whole lot about this thing called coattails, and I question if it’s going to make a difference particularly in New Hampshire.” John Kasich had no coattails in Ohio in 2012 when he couldn’t stop President Obama from winning the state again. If polls are correct this year, he won’t have any coattails again as Hillary Clinton now leads Donald Trump by about five points in the always important Buckeye State.
“The voters there are so well informed and there is not a drop of cynicism, plus they ask really intelligent questions as well,” Landrigan, who didn’t know enough to ask Mr. Kasich about the cost to Ohio taxpayers his trip is racking up, wrote.