Another Sunday came and went with Ohio’s term-limited governor soaking up the kind of national media attention he lusts for, about whether he’s still a Republican and if he’ll follow up two losing runs for president with a third one.
Lame-duck Gov. John Kasich got to play his favorite game of media hide and seek, teasing political talk-show hosts about whether he’ll run for president in 2020 regardless of whether President Donald Trump will still be president. Kasich loves to use a comment by his wife, that no one knows is true or not, to set up his crafty answer on why he’s the answer to solving the nations problems. Ohio’s glib governor did not disappoint.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do tomorrow,” Kasich said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “You know, I will tell you this: The other day, with all the chaos going on, my wife said to me one morning, she said, ‘You know, John, I wish you were president.’ That’s how I knew the country was in trouble.”
Back home, Kasich doesn’t need state and local media anymore, so for very good reasons he courts national news hounds who apparently have no interest in or clue of the debris field of troubles he’s left behind back home.
Since the beat of east coast elite media is totally tied up – a Washington web built on misleading if not false White House statements, juicy insider leaks, and social media posts dominated by Trump’s daily tweet stream – the problems Kasich has created back home hold no value for them.
But if what’s happening back in Ohio was to suddenly matter to them, Kasich would be sizzling on a hot seat of his own making over one issue after another, which would douse his bluster and bravado on national or world-wide issues. What is a fact is that he’ll be a wandering political minstrel show after he leaves office at the end of next year when his second term ends.
What is news back home is this: Approximately 112 Ohio municipalities have passed resolutions to be part of a lawsuit that will challenge a change Kasich signed into law regarding the way local business taxes are collected.
Robbing cities in his first year on the job in 2011, the petulant CEO-style leader diverted the flow of billions in local government funds to state coffers. With his actions against cities, including his full-throated backing of SB 5, a bill that gutted collective bargaining for public union workers that voters rejected 2-1 in a statewide referendum, Kasich has pretty much broken the state’s long standing partnership with local governments.
His upside down thinking has forced cities to find new revenues, raise taxes, or reduce services to compensate for funding he withheld from them over the last seven years.
At issue is the governor’s agreement in his last budget to streamline the tax collection process for businesses, especially when filing with multiple local jurisdictions. Part of the rub cities feel is the half-percentage point of the taxes collected the state would keep as a service fee for a service cities don’t want, that Kasich agreed to.
Kent Skarrett, executive director of the Ohio Municipal League, said, “There’s a great concern that the state won’t have the same diligence for auditing and accountability. The overarching impact (to cities) is the loss of control of that portion of their revenues… It’s a universal unifying issue for our membership,” the Dayton Daily News reported.
Another voice on the potential lawsuit comes from Keary McCarthy, executive director of the Ohio Mayors Alliance. McCarthy said a consortium like his group makes it easier for communities to collaborate and defend their rights – though usually it’s a last-ditch effort. “I don’t think any municipality wants to be involved in litigation, but when the issues are irreconcilable by other means, they’re left with little choice,” he said, the Columbus Dispatch reported.
Its odd, but basic Kasich, to be full of rhetoric about where his party went off the rails and who’s going to fix it so he can continue to be a Republican in good conscience again. Or offering his views to national TV audience on world politics, when his views on matters in Ohio are increasingly little importance to the pack of politicos back home.
The great reformer, Kasich gets to say his crafted comments without fear that any journalist or reporter will challenge him, when other like-minded GOP governors like Scott Walker in Wisconsin or Rick Scott in Florida don’t garner the same attention Kasich does among beltway media.
It’s a long way to 2020, so whether the unmaking of Kasich by Plunderbund has any impact isn’t at issue. What will impact him will be any assaults on him by Trump’s former chief strategist, Steve Bannon. The AP reports that Bannon is promoting challengers to GOP incumbents and the party’s preferred candidates in next year’s midterm elections. Kasich, whose allure is his combative stance against Trump, shouldn’t expect any quarter by right-wing warriors like Bannon and his national megaphone, Breitbart News.
Plunderbund has reported before about Kasich mastering the art of the TV lie. Expect more political performance appearances as Ohio’s 69th governor becomes a lost soul wandering in a Republican universe built with the fury and flurry of fake news that is central to Trumpism.