Term-limited Ohio Gov. John Kasich has mastered the art of pretending he’s not a career politician, when that’s exactly what he’s been for most of his adult life.
By most reputable measures, the 65-year old Kasich is an old-guard, establishment Republican trapped between his fixed past and a fluid future he’s afraid of, because he would have to flip-flop bigly on most issues to get in sync with young people who appear to have read their tea leafs and are bolting Kasich’s long-held yesterday-man beliefs and ideology for kinder, saner, more progressive Democratic fields of dreams.
Kasich prides himself of his interactions and working relationship with former President Ronald Reagan, the California actor turned politician whose ascendency to the White House in 1980 heralded the nation’s launch on its decades-long slide to today’s massive inequality. It was a jagged mindset that paved the way for the Republican Kraken better known as Donald Trump to rise from the ocean deep to terrorize America and the world. Trump’s rise to power was paved, brick by deplorable brick, by true GOP believers like Kasich who continue to cast government with original sin while maintaining his adoration for CEOs and corporations like Jesus the Son forever adores the Father and the Holy Ghost.
With fresh Democratic victories still in sight following the stunning loss Republicans suffered in Alabama’s special election for Senate this week, and recent big wins by Democrats in Virginia and New Jersey, Ohio’s petulant leader remains a favorite dancing bear for national talk show hosts and pundits who give him airtime to spout his gibberish on what ails the country.
Appearing on “NBC’s Meet the Press,” Kasich said he supports the monstrosity bill Republicans are too eager to sign, a bill not unlike the income-tax giveaways he’s carried out in Ohio. Then in classic Kasich mode, the man who likes to play both sides of the fence when it’s to his political convenience, whined that the bill supported by all Republicans, including his political bosom buddy Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, didn’t provide funding to cover the projected loss of $1.5 trillion in revenue to the federal treasury. This is Kasich code for running up the national debt more than it is, a favorite whipping boy by the former Catholic boy who found politics far more lucrative that pursuing his one-time ambition of entering the priesthood.
“This bill is not going to pay for itself,” Kasich said refusing to admit that it could be paid in spades if millionaires and billionaires would pay more instead of less. “So when you cut taxes to provide more economic growth, at the same time you drive up the debt — they kind of work kind of work in opposite of one another,” Kasich said, as reported by the Dayton Daily News. “And that’s why they now need to look at savings.”
Looking at savings is Kasich code for attacking Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and a whole host of other discretionary federal spending, including expenditures like food stamps and other social-safety net cost.
Meanwhile, not one Ohio or national media reporter has dared ask Kasich how much he’ll save in taxes, given his estimated net worth that ranges from as low as $9 million to as high as $22 million. Not bad for a local lawmaker who spent 18 years in congress, then parlayed that privileged time into lucrative deals with now-failed Wall Street investment banking firm Lehman Brothers and Fox News, where GOP gabbers like Kasich can have their own self-promoting show.
Kasich’s new shtick now is to pivot to speaking for young people. His new worry is that his political party, the Republican Pary, is losing the support of both suburban voters and young people.
In a recent appearance on CNN, the same network President Trump calls the fake news network and the same network that hosted a one-hour townhall meeting with Ohio’s outbound governor just a few months ago, the glib governor noted GOP defeats in the three states mentioned, then declared the reliance on suburban voters Republicans once took for granted has eroded so much that voters are “drifting away from the party and toward Democratic candidates.”
What a shame for Kasich’s party. What a boon for Democrats, who in spite of their generic advantage versus Republicans in next year’s mid-term elections, that include prognostications about a coming “tsunami” for Democrats, Democratic candidates have an steep uphill challenge ahead of them. That steep challenge is all the more steeper in Ohio, where Kasich participated in and signed-off on the worst gerrymandering legislative in the state’s history. He talks like he was an on-looker instead of an active ingredient in the process. Media lets him get away with it, so his fake news of wondering how it all happened remains fully faked.
But Kasich still considers himself above all the gutter politics, even though he’s well versed in how to derail opponents and portray himself as too holy to slither down in the muck and mire of hardball electoral politics.
“The party is losing the future as we’re standing here today,” Kasich told CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Kasich’s favorite Ohio newspaper wrote. “I mean the future is young people. Young people right now are not inclined to vote Republican; overwhelmingly against.” The aging supply-sider who branded himself early on in his political career as always impatient to reform something, said Republicans need “to have an agenda that is not reflected on yesterday, but on tomorrow.”
One can only wonder whether Kasich called up Ohio Sen. Rob Portman to tell him the news, that backing the issues he does—especially with the most egregiously regressive wealth distribution bill in living memory about to garner his vote—makes him the consummate yesterday man, not a man with his pulse on the future and the young people who will have to endure the lousy legislation politicos like Portman and Kasich have been pushing their entire lengthy careers at the public trough.
It’s doubtful that Kasich has risen from his past beliefs and closely held GOP ideologies that have failed to do what he says needs to be done now. “… if you are going to be a party that’s going to be narrow, that is going to try to shrink everything, whether it is going to be anti-immigration, anti-trade — that’s not going to make it,” Kasich said, as he auditions for his next high-paying gig after he wanders off the political radar screen once he leaves office at the end of next year.