Coming out of his first meeting with President Hillary Clinton at the White House last Friday, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who flatly ruled out voting for her last year, showed what a uniter he is by wishing her well even though he didn’t vote for her.

“It’s sort of like being on an airplane,” the 64-year old lame duck governor said about the first woman to be president. He added, showing he values country over party, “You want to root for the pilot. You don’t want the pilot to screw up.”

Is this dishonest fake news? Absolutely. It’s fake because no one can imagine Mr. Kasich saying what he said about the real president about Hillary Clinton had she become Commander-in-Chief last fall. Instead, Ohio’s term-limited governor didn’t slam the president on all the issues he has differed with Trump on even though he garners easy headlines for pretending to speak for vulnerables. As recently as last week, President Trump, railing against the press at a press conference in the White House, said people who disagree with him should tell him to his face. Face to face with the face of the White House, one source reported Kasich refused to confront the Donald in person.

Drawing on his deck of double-speak cards, the skilled politician said “being constructive is to not be positive, to make your point.” Kasich earned two “Orwells” for talking out of both sides of his mouth. Other favorite Kasich hits included “I’m not trying to pull him down or anybody else down, “I’m not red and blue. I’m red, white and blue” and the ever-popular “If I can help my country, I’m going to do what I can.” In characteristic Kasich-style glibness, he qualified his comment by shining the light back on himself with cryptic self-righteousness, adding his help “comes in various ways and packages.”

Everyone please merge into the “Kasich Lane.

Kasich Faces The Face

Gov. Kasich has been at odds with Donald Trump because the governor finds it politically convenient to oppose Trumpworld than cozy up to it. But cozy up to President Trump he did last Friday, when he spoke with the Donald in close quarters in the Oval Office, the room the term-limited governor hoped to occupy.

On Sunday, appearing on CBS’s Face the Nation, show host John Dickerson was sublimely ignorant of the beating Gov. Kasich is taking back in his home state. Ohio Republicans are taking his executive budget proposal apart, program by program. Oblivious to how out of favor the former Lehman Brothers banker is with his own home-state’s conservative party, which has the power by virtue of its super-majority in both houses of the General Assembly to trash his budget at will and override any veto he cares to make, Mr. Dickerson threw softball questions on healthcare to Mr. Kasich, who repeated his long-time lament about how division hurts.

Kasich is a master complainer, but in light of how his last proposed biennial budget is faring with Ohio Republicans and Democrats, his responses to a national TV audience showed his dishonesty and duplicity when it comes to healthcare, who gets it and how they get it.

Set to complain mode, Kasich said the Affordable Care Act [ACA] needs reform because healthcare companies are melting down, endangering 20 million Americans of which nearly one million live in Ohio. Kasich said he offered Trump ideas on how to make the ACA more affordable, complimenting the 45th president for “listening intently” and for summoning newly confirmed Secretary of Health and Human Services, former Georgia Congressman Tom Price, to the phone.

Kasich’s big question was whether Democrats, who passed the ACA in 2011 without a single vote from Republicans, are “going to work with Republicans to fix the system.” The former 9-term congressman from central Ohio said he’s hearing Democrats won’t work to get their healthcare program reformed as Republicans, including each of Ohio’s dozen Republican congressman and the state’s lone Republican senator in Washington, Sen. Rob Portman, want to start over even though that’s not workable, according to Democrats and even some Republicans. Mr. Kasich’s political buddy, former House speaker John Boehner, said this is reality in Washington, as the ACA reaches new highs of approval. According to Ohio’s CEO-style governor, Democrats are saying, “you didn’t work with us so we won’t work with you.” Maybe Mr. Kasich should name names now that Trump has set the standard between real news and fake news as naming names instead of relying on unnamed sources.

As a congressman, Mr. Kasich voted against President Bill Clinton’s first budget proposal because it contained an income tax hike on the nation’s wealthiest. That budget proved how wrong Kasich and every other Republican who voted against it was on his dire predictions of how it would ruin the country. President Trump “responded positively to my ideas,” he informed Dickerson, who could have but didn’t ask Mr. Kasich to detail the program fixes he dished to the Donald. As Gov. Kasich sees it, the partisan divide today is so great that it’s political impossible for Democrats and Republicans to work together to refashion a plan that is working well despite the concerted effort of GOP governors like Kasich who denigrate it when it suits them, then accept billions in largess when that benefit benefits them.

Mr. Kasich is still living off the fat of accepting the expansion of Medicaid even though he chose not to run his own state healthcare exchange, saying it was too costly. Ohio’s Republican-controlled legislature didn’t want to accept the expansion, but Mr. Kasich saw what $2.5 billion could do for him, especially when Washington was footing 100 percent of the bill, and made an administrative end-run around the wishes of his own party, who he used to call his board of directors.

Gov. Kasich said the “problem is getting anything out of the House,” adding that it’s “not acceptable to get rid of the whole thing.” Gov. Kasich spent valuable PR time with President Trump when  his time could better be spent talking to Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan, who is among the most conservative of House Members who wants to repeal the ACA immediately regardless of whether any plan, let alone a plan that makes sense, is ready to introduce .

Reaching into his arsenal of basic Kasichisms honed over a lifetime in politics that can sound like he’s speaking in tongues, Ohio’s quirky leader said, ” We have to stand up for people who wouldn’t have coverage if they don’t do this right,” he told Dickerson of CBS, who wasn’t ready to challenge Mr. Kasich on why, if his ideas are so good in comparison to the ACA, he abdicated running Ohio’s healthcare exchange to a center of government he said during his failed campaign for president is “obsolete?” 

Always circling back to his political barn, Gov. Kasich said both parties need to work together, and that “Americans can’t get anything done when we’re divided.” One of his most dishonest revelations Sunday came when he declared that “partisanship is amazing.” If Mr. Dickerson and other high-paid TV pundits so enamored with the petulant governor, whose quirky if not gaffe-filled comments always make headlines, would spend a couple minutes exploring Gov. Kasich’s political history in Ohio, the partisanship of his two terms would appear equally amazing. Not only does he not meet with Democrats, which he dismisses as summarily as he dismissed Mrs. Clinton last year as the sane alternative to Trump, his interactions with Republicans are dicey at now, now that his budget is in the GOP butcher shop.

JRK: Leakers, Not What’s Leaked

Kasich is in sync with the White House on ferreting out so-called leakers and holding them responsible for their leaks. “Leaks are not acceptable out of the intelligence committee,” Gov. Kasich said, channeling the Big Orange Machine that’s only interested in the leaker but not the substance of the leaks, which suggest the Trump campaign conspired or colluded with Russia, its agents and maybe its lead strong man, Vladimir Putin.

Kasich rolled out some of his best hits, including the his classic “the Republican party is my vehicle not my master,” a bromide Dickerson let pass that no reporter has ever challenged Kasich to explain in detail. Continuing with his pilot metaphor, Gov. Kasich said he sometimes has to “yell into the cockpit…when I don’t like what you’re doing.”

Dishonest Basic Kasich

Ohio’s leader, who has shown how part-time the governor can be based on the time he’s traveled out of state since winning a second term in 2014, gave away his game at the end of the segment with Dickerson. Speaking out is okay, he said, as long as “I’m not being self-righteous.” If Gov. John Kasich is master of anything, being self-righteous is one of his true talents. Even when President Obama invited Gov. Kasich to the White House when the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement was on the table, Gov. Kasich never complimented the president on what he was doing, choosing instead to focus on TPP and so-called free trade.

Kasich is still being courted by national media who still think he’s a popular, moderate governor of an important swing state. Kasich’s popularity has fallen, the bills he’s signed and the budgets he’s proposed over six years show how radical he is. As for Ohio being a White House maker, the Buckeye State’s moribund population is predicted to shrink again after the 2020 census, which will further erode its electoral college votes, maybe forcing it into second-tier state status as other states grow in population and political clout.

Gov. John Kasich again got TV time to address a national audience without saying anything of substance. Mission accomplished.