Ohio’s governor is well known for his sanctimonious, self-righteous, ego-inflating religiosity that he deploys when he’s in a jam and needs an escape hatch to exit a debate he won’t fare well in.

Calculating that he can’t call himself a Republican these days because the brand is now toxic, after Donald Trump was allowed to hijack it and candidates like Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore allowed to abuse it,  John Kasich now thinks calling himself a “conservative” is a safe self-identifier even though he’s as Republican today as he was at the start of his political career nearly 40 years ago.

Kasich’s Dying Dogma

By doing so, Kasich has again painted himself into a corner he can’t escape from, even with quips and comments designed to throw people off his scent.

In a conversation about the future of conservatism, Henry Olsen tells conservative New York Times Ross Douthat this:

“The G.O.P. remains intellectually wedded to dying dogma. The congressional party really wants to do nothing other than cut taxes for businesspeople and the top bracket based on what can only be called religious devotion to supply-side theory.”

That’s a damning and true accusation that fits Kasich like a well-tailored suit. Supply side economics has been his go-to ideology for decades, and he proved as much in Ohio, where he brags about cutting taxes by $5-plus billion, which have done precious little to put Ohio in the vanguard of states where jobs with pay higher than minimum wage are created.

Cheers For JRK Term Ending

Kasich found himself in front of a crowd that knows all too well what he’s done to their schools, and they weren’t having any of it when he spoke to them for the first time in seven years. Speaking to the Ohio School Boards Association conference recently, Kasich said he didn’t have much time left in office to do more for school budgeting. Reports of the rare encounter say some members of his audience mocked him by cheering when he reminded them he didn’t have much time left in office.

“A few more years I would’ve gotten it done, but I don’t have a few more years, so,” Kasich said, WOSU pubic media reported.

Then he showed his audience his sanctimonious, self-righteous, ego-inflating personality: “Yeah, I’m glad you’re clapping, thank you very much, I appreciate it. We’re only up 490,000 jobs in Ohio with a balanced budget, so I don’t know what else you could possibly want.”

That line works great with national political talk show hosts because they don’t have a clue about the turmoil he’s caused for schools over his two years. When he’s on Sunday shows, he’s there because he remains a political circus curiosity in the game of 2020 presidential politics. He may be a curiosity for the presidential punditry class, like a two-headed cow at the county fair, but some Ohio political watchers know he has no chance at leading a third- or independent-party to victory in three years.

When he wanted congratulations for the jobs he’s created and for balancing the state budget, he must have forgotten that every governor has balanced the state budget since the Ohio Constitution requires it. When he tosses out “we’re only up 490,000 jobs,” it’s a number out of context, since it sounds good to the unknowing, but reveals that Ohio is in the bottom half of states in job creation, and that Kasich has gone nearly 60 straight months of not even matching the national job creation index.

He also fails to credit former Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland for delivering a hefty share of those jobs before leaving office. Strickland also gave Kasich $1 billion to sock away in the state emergency fund, the butter cow he points to with pride as testament to his good money management. His audience knew that large chunks of those funds came from shortchanging schools and local governments around the state, a fact to all who care to learn about it.

Kasich the conservative doesn’t crow about Ohio’s personal income growth rate over the past year that is slower than the national average, as Pew Charitable Trusts says there are, The Dayton Daily News reported.

“Ohio personal incomes grew by one-half of one percent (0.5%) from the second quarter of 2016 through the second quarter of 2017,” PCT said, noting have much Ohio lags neighboring states and the nation at large. Ohio’s growth rate was compared to an average, over-the-decade annual growth rate  of 1.2 percent.

Kasich the conservative should be a little embarrassed that fewer than one-third of Ohio workers have a four-year college degree, the cost for said in-demand degrees rocketing into the stratosphere, carrying with it the burgeoning, destructive weight of student debt. An educated workforce is key to retaining and attracting business, especially behemoths like Amazon looking for a second headquarters location.

Sixty-seven percent of Buckeye workers don’t have a bachelor’s degree, and that six points higher than the national average of 61 percent, based on information from a report by Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.  If Ohio wants to compete successfully in health care and information technology fields, as Kasich says it needs to, workers without a degree puts Ohio at a disadvantage for jobs that demand more training.

On the bright side for Kasich, Ohio is among the top ten states for jobs that don’t require a college degree, and pay less as a result.

John Kasich’s razzle-dazzle budgeting and the bills he signed over his two terms have done much to sever a once-strong relationship between cities and the state. The same can be said for schools, whose school board association he talked to for the first and last time as an elected office.

Does Kasich have a religious devotion to supply-side theory? You betcha your Bible he does. No amount of political morphing by Kasich, which now includes a faux call to protect the environment and a new pivot to speaking on behalf of young people, will change a core conservatism that has for so long held back the nation from attaining its true promise as the best country on planet Earth.

Cheering on his limited time in office tripped his retaliation wire, producing a basic Kasich sarcastic response. He still has months left as governor, but his force as a factor is at ebb tide, washing back out to sea.

 
  • Maralee Sullivan

    It should be pointed out that he thought he took precedence over the headline speaker Sonia Manzano. He took her time slot and also showed up 30 minutes late. Most of the conference attendees had other sessions to attend and had to leave during her speech. She was amazing and had one of the best pro-public education speeches I have heard. Maybe that is why he wanted to make sure as few people as possible could hear her??

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