The last man standing in last year’s race for president on the Republican ticket has some stern advice for President Donald J. Trump, the mega-sized outlier candidate who defied political gravity by thrashing 16 Republican wannabe candidates with deadly mocking tweets, bombastic statements and finally, and worst of all, more votes.
Ohio’s term-limited chief executive, John Kasich, has won the hearts of many—curiously, many of them Democrats—for not lining up behind Trump as many former anti-Trump Republicans did after the New York billionaire became the GOP’s presidential nominee. On the outs with Trump world after dissing him in Cleveland by not showing up at the RNC convention, among other slights, and by bad mouthing him by proxy over his policies, Gov. Kasich finds himself in good company these days as he joins a small chorus of status quo Republicans who dare to criticize the White House for actions it’s taken in the first ten days in office.
Talking with a Washington Post reporter recently on President Trump’s ban of people entering the country from a handful of Muslim countries, Gov. Kasich criticized the immigration order as “ham-handed.” In the report, he said that while Trump has “a right” to be concerned about immigrants, he and his aides did not prepare properly for the rollout or its aftermath.
“Frankly, when I look at this, I think he was ill-served by his staff,” Kasich said. Clearly dreaming of sugar plum fairies that didn’t get to dance in his head, Kasich added, “If I were the president, I’d be very upset with the staff — that they didn’t say, ‘Hey, wait hold on a second.’ Because that’s what executives do. They have people around them that help them to understand, ‘Hey, your message is fine, but here is what’s going to come from it.’”
Reflecting on his six years of running Ohio, many who see his record as a debris field littered with struggling local governments, depleted public school coffers, lagging job creation and workers leaving the workforce can legitimately ask Gov. Kasich why he hasn’t taken his own advice on his message to Trump to fathom “what’s going to come of it.”
At the same time Ohio’s lame-duck governor was weighing-in with pejorative remarks about how the White House staff didn’t do its duty to inform the president, he also says Trump deserves a chance to prove his merit to be POTUS.
For Mr. Kasich, tax cuts for the rich rank high on his list of political obsessions, a mindset that’s left the state short of funds, along with his sequestration of formerly shared funding for local governments now wondering how to bridge the gap between former services once paid for and less revenue today to do what taxpayers want their local governments to do. Mr. Kasich’s advisers either didn’t properly educate him on “what’s going to come of it” or he ignored them if they did.
What Has Come Of It?
What has come of it in Ohio isn’t good for Ohio, as local hikes in taxes are needed to offset what Kasich didn’t share with them, is now a regular burden born by local government. Schools took a big hit as for profit charters schools that Gov. Kasich loves even though they siphon off billions from local public school budgets but deliver far less than their public school cousins.
Gov. Kasich’s last budget, revealed Monday, is merely his latest demonstration of not knowing “what’s going to come of it.” What’s going to come of it will be more heartache for many Ohio families who will have the responsibility to pay for it all, now that financing government has shifted from those who can and should pay more—wealthy individuals and corporations—to those who can’t afford to pay more.
The Kasich One Path
The irony of the old adage pointed to by mainstream Republicans, that government closest to the people governs best, is without doubt lost on John Kasich, who continues to pretend there are two paths, and that he’s on the sunny path when it comes to tolerance and inclusion. If Mr. Kasich truly believes in tolerance and inclusion, as his new book purports he does, Democrats and independents in Ohio wouldn’t feel totally abandoned by this governor on one issue after another, from wages to healthcare to taxes to schools.
So while Gov. Kasich takes pot shots at the White House from a safe distance, as more Republicans feel confident to do, his advice to Trump and his staffers that he should think through what he does rings hollow since that’s exactly what has happened in Ohio under Ohio’s 69th governor.