Today, Ohio Governor John Kasich will formally announce his entry into the 2016 GOP race for the White House.
Earlier this month, I saw Kasich take center seat on FNC’s Special Report with Bret Baier. For someone who spent a good part of a decade on TV at FNC, he looked awkward and ill at ease. Kasich was also on the defensive, especially when Jonah Goldberg asked him about the expansion of Medicaid under the auspices of Obamacare. He made a rather peculiar explanation that he accepted the money so he wouldn’t have to keep the mentally ill in prison. Kasich then said, “Now, maybe some people want to lock up the mentally ill in prison. Maybe some people want to throw away the drug addicted.” To his credit, Baier interjected, “You’re making a leap from someone opposing Medicaid expansion to that person wanting to jail Medicaid…” but then Kasich cut him off and resumed his demagoguery.
During his first term as Ohio governor, Kasich undertook an effort to reform public sector collective bargaining and did so at around the time Scott Walker was doing the same in Wisconsin. Unlike Walker, Kasich did not exempt police and firefighters from his reforms. It goes a long way in explaining why his reforms were soundly defeated in a 2011 referendum. Yet this setback didn’t stop him from being easily re-elected to a second term last year.
It is worth mentioning that I have seen a lot of Kasich commercials on Boston-area TV. Many New Hampshire residents work in Boston so it is commonplace to see commercials for NH political races. I don’t blame Kasich for trying to get a jump on the competition, but I’m not sure if anyone is really paying any attention in the middle of summer.
Although Kasich is certainly aware of the issues and has proven to be a competent and popular governor, I highly doubt he can inspire confidence that he is up to handling the office of President of the United States.