Ohio Gov. John Kasich seems unsure what it means to be Republican today. “I don’t like any of them, on both sides,” he told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “I can’t even tell you what the Republicans exactly stand for,” he said, adding, “Now, I can tell you what I stand for.”
What Ohio’s leader stands for are programs and policies that generally run afoul of what Democrats stand for. It’s hard to imagine Democrats would let him into the fold since he’s been so adamantly opposed to nearly every tenant or cannon they cherish, from raising the minimum wage to keeping Obamacare, to supporting unions and public sector workers, including teachers, to balancing budgets on the backs of people who can least afford while giving income tax breaks to those who can most afford to pay more, to signing restrictive and harsh laws that make living life as a woman harder and wasting billions on for-profit charter schools that largely don’t even equal even the worst performing public schools, just to name a few topics where he toes the Republican line no matter how dysfunctional they are in practice.
Tarring the motives of Democrats without evidence, in the same article he added, “They’ve been warned by those on the far left: ‘Don’t work with Republicans to fix the health bill.’ They’re all – it all seems dysfunctional.” Where was Gov. Kasich’s outrage when President Obama won back-to-back national elections and Republicans vowed to not work with him on health care or taxes or workers’ and women’s rights or any other issue?
Ohio’s soon-to-be 65-year old governor is, inconveniently, both term-limited and a lame duck. And, sadly, while he still wields a veto pen, everyone, especially Majority Caucus Republican lawmakers in Columbus, know not to fear it anymore now that they it can be overridden without worry.
Kasich will be wandering off the political radar screen in 20 months after being the center of attention in the Buckeye State for six years and competing on the presidential trail for almost a year. But for now serving as a novelty act on national TV shows preaching The Gospel according to John Kasich, an act that ignores his poor performance back home.
Blur The Lines To Protect The Guilty
Kasich, the former Fox News talk show host and Lehman Brothers banker, showed just how unhinged he is in political thought in two editorial board interviews from last year, first with the New York Daily News and then with The Washington Post. His hyperbolic, frenetic, rambling style showcases hows he’s watered himself at the trough of deeply held Republican-held beliefs that he follows with fervent religiosity. His political mindset is there, in plain sight, for those who care to review what comes out of his mouth as ordained truth.
Basic Kasich these days centers on how he dislikes both major political parties, a wile but fraudulent tact to take given his life’s work on the GOP side of the aisle, where he pushed and backed virtually any crazy idea Republicans have held, based on their fear and loathing of government and their love and adoration of corporations.
Gov. Kasich lost 49 state primaries or caucus contests in 2016, but he still feels compelled to remind everyone of just how unpopular he was in case anyone forgot. “You know, I was out — you know, maybe you didn’t all know this, but I ran for president,” he said in his State of the State speech last Tuesday.
In another drive-by reminder of how his second try at being president went up in flames, Gov. Kasich alluded to his failed run in comments reported by the Cincinnati Enquirer on immigration. “We have enough broken families in the country,” the governor said in the article, noting, “In case you didn’t know, I’m not president.”
Kasich Turned Down Third Party Leader Job
In the same session, he added, “It’s going to be a fun time when I’m not in office. I’ll have a lot to say – more than I say now.” One Enquirer reporter was smart enough to doubt Mr. Kasich would run as a Democrat in any future election.
For those who know what happened last year, they know that Ohio Gov. John Kasich could have become the presidential candidate for an independent party that was looking for a messiah to counter Donald Trump’s hostage taking of the Republican Party.
In May of last year, after Mr. Kasich suspended his losing campaign, some Republicans shopped around for an independent presidential candidate. As the Washington Post reported at the time, “Their top recruiting prospects are freshman Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), a conservative who has become one of Trump’s sharpest critics, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.”
Advisers to Mr. Kasich didn’t take the bait, even though it was offered to him. “The governor is not entertaining nor will he run as an independent,” spokesman Chris Schrimpf said, WaPo reported. Additional denial came from Kasich’s chief strategist, John Weaver, who told WaPo, “They had plenty of time and opportunity to influence the [GOP] nomination battle in a constructive way, and they didn’t for whatever reason. The idea of running someone as a third party, particularly the way they’re going about it, is not going to be effective and is not practical.”
Politico reported Kasich admitting he spoke with someone about being that independent, third-party party leader. “No, I’m not gonna do that. Well, I think that — I gave it my best where I am, and I just think running third-party, it doesn’t feel right. I think it’s not constructive.”
John Kasich would have been the talk of the nation, as all media would have followed him for even more presidential drama. Had he really been displeased with both political parties, the Lord provided him a path to stardom as a new national leader. But the small-town authoritarian chickened out, preferring instead to snipe from the peanut gallery as the chronically disgruntled leader who finds fault with everyone and everything but himself and his radical ideology.
Kasich Is Not A Democrat
Democrats need to be careful when they praise Kasich’s support of Medicaid expansion. When Democrats compliment the governor, he gladly soaks up their approbation but gives them nothing but the back of his hand in return.
Mr. Kasich has become famous and wealthy over the decades by trying to blur the lines between two major parties that some see as different sides of the same coin. The coin of the realm for Gov. Kasich is to confuse voters into thinking he’s the adult in the room and on everyone’s side, when he mostly stands up for corporations and against workers.
Let us not forget that Mr. Kasich is in lock step with Donald Trump when it comes to releasing years of his tax returns, an act of transparency that he’s avoided at all costs so far. He’s hidden a lot of what he does by making public records difficult if not impossible to see. It is curious how the so-called adult in the room can champion a private group like JobsOhio, when it could easily be declared unconstitutional if and when Republicans on the Ohio Supreme Court would allow a challenge to it.
Like the title of one of his self-basting books, Mr. Kasich does stand for something, but that something shifts with the political winds when it’s to his advantage to hide his true allegiances, which now seems to be his game plan as he continues to plot a way to stay in the eye of the public even though his future is that of a wandering political minstrel.