For all the talk about Donald Trump not being a conservative, the real anti-conservative in the field is John Kasich. From his tenure as a pretty conservative representative from 1983-2001, keeping in mind this was mostly in the Bob Michel go-along-get-along-please-peck-me-on-the-cheek-as-you-bugger-me era, to a corporatist, big government Republican as Ohio governor. If you have any doubt, his campaign manager is former [mc_name name=’Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’M000303′ ] and ‘strategist’ for Jon Huntsman. In between times he worked for the Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee — that would be the organization that elects Democrats to the House — and slimed his former boss, McCain, to the New York Times. Weaver hates conservatives.
“We’re not finished committing suicide here,” said Republican strategist John Weaver, a veteran of the McCain and Huntsman campaigns. “We also have the opportunity to kill immigration reform, and the odds are that we will do that, just to make sure we’re the angry-white-man party.” He says the party may need a George McGovern-sized defeat with a candidate like [mc_name name=’Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001098′ ] before it chooses another path.
Also joining Kasich is Fred Davis, who was Weaver’s media consultant on the Huntsman campaign before leaving to start a Huntsman super PAC (you can stop laughing now).
I don’t know whether it is Weaver’s influence but the ponderous, self-righteousness of hearing a politician tell me that Jesus told him to take MY money and give it to people I don’t know while raking off about 60% of it to support government bureaucrats makes my ass tired. Apparently, he never read the Ten Commandments far enough to get to the part about stealing or coveting.
Kasich has said that he is not going to attack Hillary, of Obama, rather he is going to devote his time to gentle and uplifting speeches about how the state is a much more compassionate nanny than the federal government:
In an interview with National Journal, Kasich pledged another atypical tactic: He’s not going to attack any of his opponents—Hillary Clinton included—and will instead focus on offering solutions to the nation’s pressing problems. He lived up to that commitment in his town hall meetings this week, not mentioning Clinton’s name at all and avoiding referencing any of his GOP opponents.
“If I’m talking about someone else, I’m not talking about me. And I would rather them know what my record is and my passion is. So if I’m spending my time attacking other people, that doesn’t get me anywhere. Frankly, it’s not what people want. They want to know: Do you have a record, do you have solutions, can you lead?” Kasich said. “It’s a lot more important for me to cement that down than getting people hooting and hollering.”…
Not only did Kasich avoid talking about Hillary Clinton during the two town halls I attended, he barely mentioned President Obama, either. He regularly reiterates his support for Medicaid expansion in Ohio. He praised Massachusetts’s educational standards as the best in the country while responding to a question about Common Core. On issues ranging from education to transportation to welfare, he bashed the federal government’s ineffectiveness in handling those matters—but championed active statewide government programs in their place.
Let’ be clear. Kasich may very well be the most conservative governor we can elect in Ohio. I don’t know. What is clear is that any fire in Kasich’s guts was extinguished when his legislation to restrict collective bargaining by state employees was killed by referendum. That he stopped fighting then and says he won’t fight again is not a good sign. He’s signaling he will run against Hillary much like McCain ran against Obama, which is to he decided it was more important to be a happy loser than a happy warrior.
Some of this is not bad.
More and more people are seeing Jeb Bush and thinking that even though he has a lot of money he is actually a lackluster, unexciting candidate who is a decade past his prime. Kasich, for the moment, is a fresh face and some Bush supporters are switching to Kasich:
One Bush ally, though, threw a subtle elbow Wednesday. Ana Navarro, a longtime Bush friend, tweeted that Kasich’s recent climb to third in a New Hampshire poll — behind Donald Trump and neck-and-neck with Bush — was a sign he was pulling support from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a dig suggesting he’s just cannibalizing another back-of-the-pack contender but one that seemed intended to mask Bush world’s growing concern.
Kasich’s campaign manager, John Weaver, told POLITICO he received two calls from New Hampshire journalists who claimed they had received opposition research from the Bush camp, though Bush aides rejected the suggestion, saying they’re not shopping any anti-Kasich material.
To some New Hampshire Republicans, Kasich represents the antidote to qualms about Bush. It’s no accident that in its first ad last month, Kasich’s super PAC, New Day for America, emphasized his father’s work as a local mailman — a stark contrast to Bush’s silver-spoon upbringing as the son of a president. That 60-second spot, which featured a straight-to-camera testimonial from Kasich, has largely been lauded by New Hampshire political operatives as a smart introduction, displaying the notoriously hotheaded Kasich’s comforting side, but also touting his experience as an influential congressman and governor.
Of the current field of candidates, Bush, Kasich, Pataki, Graham and Christie are essentially fighting for the same slice of the GOP primary electorate. These are the socially liberal, big government types that we associate with the Northeast and what was called the Old Northwest.
It is difficult to imagine a situation where Kasich does more than hurt Bush and that alone is reason enough to hope he stays in the race.