A week ago Friday, Ohio’s 69th and now term-limited governor was sitting in the Oval Office in the White House with a few other business and political leaders seating in close proximity. The group’s topic was the Trans Pacific Partnership [TPP] and why the controversial trade agreement should be passed by Congress before the next president takes over next January 20th.
Maybe, when he closed his eyes, John Kasich dreamed that the power players in attendance, including billionaire and former three-time mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg, Hank Paulson, the former Secretary of the Treasury for President George W. Bush, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and others, had traveled to see him, the 45th President of The United States.
The man who as a child wanted to go to seminary to become a Catholic priest first tried in 2000 to vault into the historic lodging offered at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. This year, he reached for the sky again, this time as one of 16 GOP hopefuls who got walloped by another New York billionaire, Donald J. Trump, on the road to being crowned the Republican presidential nominee.
A new poll showing 43 percent of Republicans say Donald Trump is not the party’s best pick haunts him, as stares down two short years until he’s out of office. Had it been another normal year, he may have been the common sense, moderate Republican who said he knows how to bring people together to solve problems that voters would have picked. But this election is not normal, so for the second time he watched his political life fade into history. He may have been the last GOP candidate to shut down his campaign, but his obituary will still say he was one of a pack of professional, mainstream, establishment lane politicos who tried and lost to be his party’s nominee. more:
The former 18-year congressman from Ohio, who found fame and fortune more to his liking than a life as a professional warrior for Christ, voted for the North American Free Trade Agreement, a trade deal that has weakened Ohio’s economy over the years since it passage under President Bill Clinton. Buckeye businesses pulled out of communities to relocate to greener and more profitable pastures south of the border down Mexico way. Kasich, the Buckeye leader, scorned and mocked President Obama in multiple ways during his long flop at a second run for leader of the free world. But there he was, sitting a few feet away from the real President of The United States, someone who twice won Ohio and the nation. Gov.
John Kasich makes an unlikely bedfellow for Mr. Obama on most subjects, but on Friday the quirky, petulant state leader was on Obama’s White House team pushing for passage of TPP, a bill the first African-American president would like to add to his collection of policy accomplishments before he leaves office in four short months.
One Report of the meeting yesterday said the lame-duck governor focused on implications of “if you don’t trade,” over the details of the proposed and secretive trade agreement. Kasich’s comments suggested, the report notes, that the false option was TPP or no trade at all.
“I appreciate the President inviting the group that we had in there this morning,” Kasich said. “He’s [Obama] very passionate that we need to do this.”
Following the gathering in the Oval Office, Gov. Kasich and Mayor Reed walked to the nearby White House briefing room where they fielded questions from the White House press corps. Picking up on the group’s discussion with President Obama, Gov. Kasich said, “America can’t afford to lock the doors and lower the blinds and ignore the rest of the world. We’re a force for good.”
John Kasich has largely buffaloed media du jour into thinking he’s a moderate Republican. Any thorough investigation of Kasich’s ideology and mindset would show his policy attitudes, from abortion to the minimum wage to Social Security, Medicare and healthcare in general and more, are just left of the alt-right clan lining up behind Mr. Trump. The Donald, who polls show has closed the gap with Hillary Clinton, has show he has no use for Ohio’s term-limited CEO-style state leader, who thus far has refused to endorse the Donald and whose new gambit is to shutdown conversion on the topic, saying his actions speak louder than words.
While in DC, Gov. Kasich taped a segment on “Meet the Press,” hosted by Chuck Todd. In an snippet from the interview, Chuck Todd gets played by Kasich, who again makes a feeble explanation for why he’s never Trump and a never Clinton. With a calculated penchant to be enigmatic, Gov. Kasich told Todd that he can’t vote for Hillary because, well, he’s a Republican. Todd wasn’t clever enough to ask him why his Republicanism prevents him from voting for Mrs. Clinton when throngs of other similarly long-time loyal Republicans are switching sides?
Even though John Kasich earned millions at Fox News as a political talk show host, he’s no fan of media if he can avoid it, except when he can wring from self-serving value out of it. Such was the scene Friday, when the governor got to pretend for a few minutes that he was atop the executive branch. Gov. Kasich might think about fielding questions one day before he leaves office from Ohio media back in Columbus, just like he did for a few minutes in Washington Friday. Were the 64-year old to hold a press conference, maybe he could explain why he’s milked Ohio taxpayers for the security costs raked up as his protective shield of Ohio Highway patrolmen traipsed around the nation as he lost 49 state Republican contests?
John Kasich is a master at be opaque and inarticulate, relying instead on his quirky brand of humor and joking, that actual reveals more about his inflated ego than any answer he might give to any reporter lucky enough to have open access to him.
One person who commented on Kasich’s day in DC said this about the petulant leader who has more than one scandal back home waiting to ripen and fall off the tree. “Why do the people in Ohio like him so much. I really never bothered to know anything about him till he started running for president and then I got the picture of what a spoiler he was when he wouldn’t drop out. He made such a damn fool of himself and the people of Ohio I cannot understand why they are not hating him at this point.”
For all their stature, White House reporters can be clueless, as they have been since the former Lehman Brothers banker jumped into the presidential in July of 2015. No longer a factor in national politics after losing so badly in so many states and seeing his retirement approach in two years, the 64-year old is trending toward irrelevance outside Ohio state government. This helps explain why he would show up at the house of the devil, a notion not foreign to GOP backers and Trump loyalist, to get on-board the devil’s team to push a trade deal that both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are opposed to in its current form.
Another love letter about Ohio’s governor said, “Kasich has sure turned out to be a disappointment. The last thing Ohio needs is TPP to strip away the last of its manufacturing jobs. Why would Kasich put his personal distaste for Trump ahead of the needs of Ohio? Okay, so you don’t like Trump. Neither does Glenn Beck, Ted Cruz, Mark Levin, Kristol, Hillary, Harry Reid, and 20 million illegal aliens. But at least oppose TPP for the sake of Ohioans.”
One short remark may have summed up Ohio’s governor best. “Kasich is a crook.”
Media love him for his style, not his substance. His off-beat bantering and jokes disarm reporters easily, as his odd-man-out mindset that sees himself as the center of the political universe kicks into gear. Back in the Oval Office, Gov. Kasich was present for a question President Obama answered regarding his being born in Hawaii, and Donald Trump’s statement that day, that after five years of pushing the lie that the nation’s 44th president was born in Kenya, Mr. Trump now says Mr. Obama was born in the United States.
Kasich’s little joke, when asked what he was thinking at the time went like this: “What I was really thinking is that Bruce Springsteen has to be really happy because ‘Born in the USA’ is probably going to sell a lot more albums. ”
But don’t expect the beltway boys, or Ohio media for that matter, to wise up to the professional politician’s performance antics anytime soon. With two years left to go as governor, John Kasich is still waiting for the Lord to tell him what his purpose in life is. He’s spent his nearly 40 years in politics gaming the system for fun and profit, and teasing everyone else with silly expressions and sillier still explanations about his ability to fool many on many topics.
Kasich is more than willing to meet the press in Washington. He ought to show he’s willing to meet the press back in Ohio, on occasion, so he can, at least verbally, be held accountable for his shoddy record of putting his political future over the political possibilities for his state.