Ohio Governor John Kasich ended his national book tour last Friday with a guest appearance on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher.”

In Los Angeles to promote his book “Two Paths: Divided or United?” the governor, who last year got his “ass kicked” as show host Bill Maher described the beating he took after losing 49 GOP primaries and caucuses, turned in his best performance to date on why he’s upset with both political parties, and why his voice on a variety of issues will continue to be heard even after he departs office in about 18 months.

Mr. Kasich’s latest book was released in New York April 25, and since then he’s been a guest on numerous political talk shows. Bill Maher is well known for his uncompromising criticism of Republicans, and so-called liberal Democrats like the “Bernie of bust” crew who didn’t vote last year for Hillary Clinton, who beat their hero, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, an avowed Democratic Socialist.

“Liberals, who couldn’t bring themselves to vote for Hillary cause she was the lesser of two evils, quite a bit lesser, wouldn’t you say now?” Maher tweeted out.

By the end of the opening segment featuring Kasich, Bill Maher was actually applauded Kasich for his well-worn statements about why he wants to re-define Republicanism around his own issues and history, then urging him on to take on President Trump again in 2020.

One of America’s leading proponents of legalizing marijuana for recreation use, Maher joked early on that “Good thing California has Medical Marijuana, cause when the Republicans get rid of Heath Care that’s the only treatment you’re going to have.” He put Ohio’s term-limited, lame-duck governor on the ropes early by trying to compliment him for being for medical marijuana, which voters approved last year that is still a far cry from legalization by other states like Colorado , Maine and Washington. Gov. Kasich did his best to void saying “yes” when asked if he supported it, pivoting immediately to his preferred narrative about opioid deaths and children using drugs, and how marijuana plays a roll, minor as it is, in this crisis where Ohio leads the nation in deaths per day with about eight.

Asked by Maher to choose between whether health care was a right or a product, Mr. Kasich, who has won attention by defending Medicaid expansion even though he would fundamentally repeal and replace Obamacare, said he thought it was a right, but again went into rhetorical overdrive to explain why people shouldn’t be allowed to lose health care coverage, even though most of the moderate Republicans he has talked to walked the plank on Friday to vote for Trumpcare, the White House’s alternative to Obamacare that would toss as many as 26 million people off affordable health care rolls.

John Kasich has garnered the kind of national media attention from the promotion of the new book that he wanted to get last year, when he said he was like an “Uganda swimmer” in the Olympics whose best lane was the outside lane. Mr. Kasich does his best to criticize President Trump, including the president’s negative and divisive tone.

While Gov. Kasich likes to say he doesn’t plan to run for public office again, his on the road stops keep his hopes alive. Never say never, he says, adding that if duty calls, he might get back in the game, something he said he didn’t think he would do after exiting politics for Lehman Brothers and the Fox News Channel back in 2000.

Bill Maher was way too accommodating to the governor, whose job approval rating has plummeted to 42 percent in the last Gravis Marketing poll. Gov. Kasich had a chance to be an independent candidate last year, but said the time wasn’t right. The right time for Mr. Kasich may never come again once he wanders off the political radar screen for the political graveyard or another chance to be a talking head on TV.

 

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