Ohio Gov. John Kasich had dual national TV cameo gigs lined up Sunday, one on ABC’s “This Week” and another on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
The governor who lost badly last year when he tried his second run at the White House was in line to be asked to weigh-in on Alabama Republican Judge Roy Moore’s upcoming election to the U.S. Senate. Moore, whose choice of clothing sometimes makes him look like Woody, the lead character in Toy Story, is no stranger to controversy.
He’s on the hot seat again, this time over whether a now grown 53-year old woman, who spoke out recently about Moore’s alleged sexual misconduct with her when she was just 14 and he was in his 30s, is telling the truth or not?
Kasich, whose second term as Buckeye CEO ends next year, joined the raging social debate with a tweet of his own.
“I’ve long opposed Roy Moore & his divisive viewpoints. The actions described make him unfit for office. The GOP must not support him. He should step aside.”
So far, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner and Maine Sen. Susan Collins, among other GOP voices calling for him to step aside, have said Moore should leave the race if the allegations prove true, the AP reported.
Previously, Moore was removed from his post as Alabama’s chief justice twice, once for disobeying a federal court order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the lobby of the state judicial building, and a second time for urging probate judges to defy the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage.
Bama’s Bad Bentley
Another top state leader from Alabama, the kingpin of Deep South states, is former Gov. Robert Bentley, who jumped on Kasich’s presidential bandwagon two years ago in September. A Kasich spokesman said at the time that Bentley “proactively reached out to Governor Kasich to offer his support.” Bentley’s endorsement of Kasich was pitched as a “big deal” by Team Kasich because it “sent a message” about Alabama and the GOP presidential primary in the South.
Bentley cuddled up to Kasich like one like-minded, hard-right governor would do for another.
“Coupled with John Kasich’s compassion for the people he serves and desire to make their lives better, our country will be stronger with him as president,” Bentley famously said of Ohio’s petulant, sanctimonious leader.
In spite of Bentley’s alignment with Kasich, Ohio’s 69th governor went on to badly lose Alabama in 2016 to Donald Trump, who in advance of a Dec. 12th election matchup against Democrat Doug Jones supports Moore
Kasich’s “big deal” endorsement by Bentley turned out to be full of flaws and flames. Reports say Bentley’s wife of 50 years, Diane, sued for divorce after rumors surfaced that Bentley had an affair with another women not his wife. Bentley’s bad behavior as governor escaped any comment by Kasich.
A review of the ethics findings against Bentley shows The Alabama Ethics Commission found probable cause that he violated state ethics and campaign finance law. The commission referred the matter to the Montgomery County district attorney for possible prosecution, the AP noted, even though Bentley maintained he did nothing wrong.
Bentley was forced to resign as governor in April to avoid impeachment hearings. He pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor violations of the campaign finance law. Reports say Bentley has completed more than 90 hours of the 100 hours of community service the court ordered him to perform as part of that plea deal.
Kasich appears to have his own two paths when it comes to misconduct, one for sexual molesting young women and minors by older men and one for adults who philander with women not their wife and who violate ethics and other laws.
For Roy Moore, Kasich has no tolerance for his kind of bad sexual behavior with young girls. For Bentley, who lent his disreputable name to endorse Kasich, Ohio’s CEO-style leader’s tolerance for bad behavior and ethics violations is shamefully forgiving.
Kasich Didn’t Resign, Why Should O’Neill?
In separate news, one state leader holds diametrically opposed views when it comes to sitting officials running for another office. Ohio Auditor Dave Yost, a big backer of Kasich for president, says Democratic Ohio Supreme Court Justice William (Bill) O’Neill must resign from the court now that he’s running for governor.
That’s funny, considering Yost didn’t ask Kasich to resign as governor when he ran for president last year, a campaign for higher office Ohio voters did not reelect him governor to pursue. Kasich played his usual game of hide-and-seek with media when it came to disclosing whether he would enter the GOP race for the White House if elected to a second term.
Media got stiff-armed by Kasich, who spent a majority of 2016 out of state, racking up millions of dollars in expenses for his and his family’s protection that Ohio taxpayers had to cover. Kasich used his high office, and the privilege and funding that goes along with it, to help bankroll his ill-fated second try to be leader of the free world.
And then comes the editorially challenged Cleveland Plain Dealer, who shamelessly took down a video in 2014, just weeks before the election, of Kasich revealing his true persona, that of the petulant spoiled child. The legacy newsprint paper wrote not one word calling on Kasich to sacrifice his governorship once he set out to use it as a springboard for president. But in light of the paper’s endorsement of Kasich in 2010 and 2014, even after his budgets stole billions from local governments and schools, it’s not surprising that the shrinking paper wants to have it both ways.
The Ohio judicial code, as the PD notes, is silent on when someone “becomes a candidate,” so O’Neill has the silence of the code on his side, as he argues that since he’s not an officially certified candidate yet, the deadline for said candidacy filing being next Feb. 7, he can continue to rule on some cases while recusing himself from others.
“But O’Neill can’t have it both ways. Now that he’s an announced partisan political candidate, he can’t pretend he’s an impartial justice. He must step down.”
Kasich’s two terms in office serve as an cautionary example of how a career politician can abuse taxpayers and get a way with it, especially when the Fourth Estate is deaf, dumb, and blind to ethical lapses that go unchallenged. State Auditor Yost, who is running for attorney general, has a double standard, too, when it comes to an official holding one office and running for another one at the same time.
What’s good for O’Neill now should have been good for Kasich then.