Monday, August 19, 2013

Kasich in '16? The branding of the meritocracy of mediocrity.

          Governor John Kasich(R-OH). has utilized the non-denials from election playbooks to play down a supposed groundswell of support for a future run at the Presidency. Let's remember that in 2000 he left the US House of Representatives and started a campaign for the White House.
He tried to position himself as the guy who single handedly balanced the Federal budget. John boy has never been shy about taking credit where credit isn't due. His campaign collapsed under massive indifference.
So. He took a job with Lehman Brothers(Yeah, those guys), hired on at Fox News and was considered a viable political commentator. Kasich had a Fox show called "The Heartland" until he started running for Governor. He subbed for Hannity and O'Reilly. He was seen all over the Network.
During his run he was on with Sean. The appearance was basically a telethon for Kasich's fundraising efforts. Not surprisingly Hannity tossed Kasich softballs and mused about how important "we" win the Ohio Governorship. Sean has never been shy about overt partisan campaigning on his show. The only real surprise is Fox allowed it for so long.
John ran a campaign against Democratic Governor Ted Strickland that was the usual GOP,Tea Party infused, fact challenged travesty that 2010 was so noted for. It was vicious. He blamed the meltdown of Ohio's economy on Governor Strickland, ignoring the catastrophic collapse caused by his former employer Lehman Brothers and Wall Street using the market as a casino. As it was he barely won by about a percentage point in a year when The Tea Party and GOP bitch slapped complacent Democrats across the country.
To plug an 8 billion dollar hole in the Budget (exaggerated, some reports said) Kasich slashed State Jobs(as he gave large raises to political appointees) cut school funding by nearly 12% and funding to local governments by 50%. This lead to layoffs of  teachers.firefighters and police officers and curtailment of other vital services. All this did was move the need for funding to local property tax levies. The administration also thought it was a good idea to eliminate the Estate Tax and cut taxes for the wealthiest Ohioans.
The 2010 electoral massacre gave Kasich a nominally GOP State Senate and House.The reality though was most of the freshmen were Tea Party members or sympathetic to them. This caused issues for the leadership in both Houses. Zealots are notoriously tough to keep in line. A lot like herding cats.
Like George Bush in 2004, Kasich felt a razor thin victory was a mandate to over reach. They decided it was an amazingly good idea to take on Organized Labor. Bills were introduced and passed stripping bargaining rights for Public Sector Unions. Kasich pitched this as a way to save local governments money and make Ohio more business friendly. We Democrats knew if this passed Private Sector Unions were next.
The protests I attended at the Ohio State House were the largest I'd seen since the opposition to the Vietnam War. I liked the fact there were no clubs and tear gas. Union members from across the State voiced their opposition. A Delegation from Wisconsin arrived in a show of solidarity. You know you have issues when WI feels sorry for you. After assorted Republican political shenanigans the bill passed and was signed into law.
Immediately those opposed to this scathing strike against traditional Union rights sprang into action.
A petition drive to put this law on the ballot for repeal garnered a record amount of signatures in a record amount of time.
Panicked by poll numbers the GOP tried to negotiate. They said they would remove restriction on Police Unions in a blatant attempt to divide and conquer. To their credit the Ohio Fraternal Order Of Police told them to shove it. The Republicans offered to repeal if the ballot measure was dropped. They basically said, trust us. We'll change the bill. Since all opposing committee testimony was ignored, the decision was made not to trust them.
So, as massive amounts of out of State money poured in, The Right tried to paint the supporters of repeal as unreasonable for not negotiating. This ignored the Legislature's steamrolling this bill through.
Kasich stumped for the law. GOP contenders Mitt Romney and Rick Perry came out in opposition to repeal. A Republican operative I know said the poll numbers was only an education problem. Voters needed to be taught why repeal was bad. He predicted the repeal would fail. He also predicted Romney would take Ohio by 5 points.
The repeal won 61% to 39%. Kasich and the Republicans had their asses handed to them.
So the Legislature looking at the vicious fight going on over the repeal and the impending defeat of their law they continued business as usual.  They basically outlawed abortion.
The Ohio House introduced The Heartbeat bill in the Spring of 2011. This bill banned abortion once a fetal heartbeat was detected. This usually occurs around five or six weeks before most women even realize they are pregnant. There was also no exemptions for rape, incest or the life of the mother. At the time it would have been the most restrictive abortion law in the country.
The Republicans had testimony from fetuses via ultra sound in committee. They heard from supposed "abortion survivors", and women who said they were mislead about the effects of abortion. Opponents' testimony was given short shrift.
The House Speaker admitted the bill was designed to challenge Roe v. Wade. Right to life groups were split on the bill. It passed in the House along party lines.
When asked about the bill the Governor's Press Secretary said the Governor doesn't take a position on every bill and took the opportunity to fly Kasich's pro life banner for the base.
On the same day the House passed three abortion bills. One banned abortion after 20 weeks. One prohibited the coming insurance exchanges from having abortion coverage in any policy sold there. And the Heartbeat bill.
The first two passed the Senate and became law. The heartbeat bill languished in the Senate and died there at the end of the session.
2012. Social issues were debated in the Presidential campaign. The President won Ohio, convincingly.
Social issues were also debated in the Ohio United States Senate campaign. Democrat Sherrod Brown spanked challenger Josh Mandel the Eddie Haskell of Ohio politics.
Due to the gerrymandered districts in Ohio more extremist right wing State Reps and Senators were elected. There is a veto proof majority in both Houses. Following the rejection of their social agenda they did the only logical thing. The GOP immediately went after abortion, again.
They passed regressive attacks on women's health and rights in the biannual budget bill. This stops a ballot repeal. Many Dems I know felt these were so restrictive that the Governor would use the line item veto on them. I disagreed. I would have rather been wrong. He let them stand. Texas was on stage at the time and Ohio sorta slid under the lights not getting the outrage it deserved.
Prior to signing the Budget Kasich took every opportunity to mention his pro life credentials. By signing that bill he was presenting himself as a fearless defender of the unborn and a champion of marginalizing women. This was for the National conservative base.
He has received presidential endorsements(meaningless this early). He's already appearing on Fox and getting softballed. He came out in support of a balanced budget amendment, a perennial conservative favorite.
So I don't care about denials. John's preparing a run.
The best way to derail him is to make him a one term Gov. However his tendency to go off script would have been fun to watch as he crashed and burned.
The people here in Ohio have to take back our State from the extreme.
Ohio was once reasonable.
It must be again.

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