Ohio Gov. John Kasich has mastered the art of speaking with “forked tongue,” the very apt phrase the Lone Ranger’s loyal sidekick, Tonto, used to describe people shading the truth with word games.
Throughout John Kasich’s nearly 40 years in elected politics, he has perfected the craft of speaking with a forked tongue and has never overtly complimented any Democrat for anything equal to how Democrats are complimenting him now on his carefully chosen words to defend expanded Medicaid, even as his political party makes repeated Kamikaze runs at repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the nation’s healthcare law he said last year running for president that he would do away with were he to occupy the Oval Office.
Last week, when the Senate failed to repeal and replace the ACA with a terribly slimmed down version of an otherwise terrible bill, Gov. Kasich seized the day and took credit for the failure when he told his fan base “our message is working.”
“As you know, I support fixing Obamacare and replacing it with a conservative solution but it must be done in a bipartisan way that will produce meaningful and lasting results,” he said, revealing what state and national media so far have chosen to ignore. “This message is resonating more and more each day as Republican leaders join our call for a common-sense solution.”
In an appearance this past weekend on Fox News, a network where he ran his mouth after leaving Congress but before being elected Ohio governor in 2010 known for spreading mistruths, he said, “To a degree, I’m glad that they didn’t fulfill this pledge right now. But they have to work on it. And this is where they should call the Democrats in.”
In plain English, Kasich calls for shuttering Obamacare, one day, but wants bipartisan help doing it. For the hard of learning, don’t get fooled again, Kasich only has eyes for a “conservative solution.”
If he were playing Truth or Dare, would Kasich choose a dare than show his bipartisanship and accept universal health care as an answer? Yes. Would he be non-partisan enough to accept single-payer health coverage? No. Would he come together with Democrats enough to accept any “skinny” version of far better healthcare systems in operation today around the world, for example in France or Germany, Italy or Canada? No. So much for Kasich’s smooth but forked-tongue call for bipartisanship.
Don’t be fooled by Ohio’s term-limited, lame-duck leader’s comments on working with Democrats, when deep in his ideological heart he believes market-oriented solutions are the cure to fix what ails America’s unique brand of for-profit healthcare. Kasich could have run Ohio’s healthcare exchange program in 2012, showing the world how it should be done but chose not to, punting instead to Washington, then criticizing how it was undertaken.
Meanwhile, he quietly pushes for a federal waiver so Ohio can bill Medicaid recipients poor enough to qualify for it a monthly premium. It’s basic Kasich to dispense a dose of bitter medicine to wean the takers off so-called “dependency” on government support. If Kasich doesn’t want people to turn to government for help with healthcare and food, among other essentials that sustain life, he ought to create the quantity and quality of jobs that can help them earn their way out of the downward economic spiral that leads to social safety net program help. Ohio under Kasich is now 55 months into underperforming the national job creation average, and the jobs Kasich takes credit for mostly pay minimum wage.
Don’t hold your breath to hear Kasich weigh-in on why all his party’s candidates for governor, especially Mary Taylor, his lieutenant governor partner in poor governance since 2011, want to trash the ACA. This, even though they echo their fire-breathing brethren in Washington, who, after seven years of harping and carping on Obamacare, haven’t a clue how to make healthcare work for the masses instead of the shareholders of for-profit companies,that every day push to see just how much the market will bear as prices continue to rise while Kasich and company cry crocodile tears over escalating costs and how it impacts debits and deficits.
If Democrats think that by invoking Kasich’s name in their plea to fix, not obliterate Obamacare, they earn credibility with voters by appearing to be bipartisan, they haven’t been listening to Ohio’s governor.
A good question to ask Democrats is why they think John Kasich is on their side on healthcare when he isn’t. He’s learned the craft of speaking goobledygook in order to sound reasonable, even though his ideas, to the extent he has actually detailed any, are as unworkable and unsustainable as any of the current crop of Washington Republicans who want to take healthcare from tens of millions of Americans who might already be dead by now without it, had not a Democratic president and Congress made it happen over the objections of GOP loyalists like Kasich and others.
When Ohio’s senior senator in Washington, Sherrod Brown, took to the Senate floor last week to rail against passing the GOP-designed repeal of the ACA, he made reference to Kasich three times in one short talk.
“I agree with Governor Kasich: We must put politics aside and work together to come up with bipartisan solutions to bring down costs and make healthcare work better for everyone,” Brown said, previously telling reporters he salutes Kasich for his stance on Medicaid.
When Brown’s staff was asked when, to the best of their knowledge, Kasich had ever mentioned Brown’s name specifically, giving him credit for anything over decades of service in Washington in the House and now the Senate, the only response was the sounds of silence.
The answer is easy, really, since John Kasich is all about John Kasich, or as he called it last year, being in the “Kasich lane.” Ohio’s 69th governor may sound reasonable when he calls for bipartisanship, but bipartisanship has never been the governor or even Congressman Kasich’s strong suit, outside of one or two examples he points to as if they are the rule when they are the exception.
For Democratic candidates running to replace Kasich, he’s not your friend, never has been and never will be. When he wanders off the political radar screen at the end of 2018, he’s looking for another platform and megaphone to cast his rhetoric on how great he is and how wise and good his governance model is. Don’t get fooled again.
He’s been a reliable Republican who still believes in economic myths, like tax cuts pay for themselves and create jobs. They don’t. He’s believes in a balanced budget amendment for the nation when most experts say that would be a disaster. He believes in making access to the ballot harder, as bills he signed into law show. He doesn’t believe women should make their own healthcare decisions, especially on the topic of abortion rights, as his string of terrible laws show in clear detail.
The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office released a report in June saying federal Medicaid spending is expected to rise from $385 billion this year to $655 billion in 2027. The report also predicted that federal spending on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid will consume $3.6 trillion of the projected federal budget of $6.6 trillion in 2027. Former lawmakers like Kasich believe that shorting benefits, not raising taxes, is the method to avoid large deficits. Even though raising or eliminating the cap on income eligible to be taxed for Social Security is the smartest, simplest way to secure Social Security funding for the rest of the century and beyond, Kasich dismisses that method out of hand. Instead of taxing income above the current threshold of $118,500, he would rather increase the age of retirement or phase down payments for enhanced federal payments than ask the nation’s wealthiest to pay a penny more.
The attention national media give him is all about Washington politics, not Ohio politics, where his clout has evaporated. In his last budget, which was more than $1 billion out of balance due to his own misguided policies, his own GOP-led legislature overrode 11 vetoes just a month ago. House and Senate Republicans leaders are saving the best for last, though, as they could follow through on their desire to veto expanded Medicaid by the end of next year, depending on what happens in Congress.
Yes, John Kasich is a one-trick pony Democrats can only compliment when it comes to expanded Medicaid, and the funds from it that help treat Ohio’s nation-leading opiate crisis.
Kasich loves expanded Medicaid because it came with $2.5 billion dollars, money he could use to pay for former state expenditures that once shed freed up taxpayer dollars for income tax giveaways to his wealthy corporate friends and individuals.
Indeed, there is method behind his madness, and he hopes it sounds reasonable enough so no one delves deeper to find the real message that will disappoint Democrats who have confused his support for certain aspects of the ACA with being on the same page with them.