I disagree with Governor Kasich for all the reasons The New York Times endorsed him today. I disagree with his foreign policy, his position on immigration, and his actions on Medicaid Expansion. However, I disagree with Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, and Marco Rubio in many of these same areas. So with so many people in our various establishments taking a look at Governor Kasich, I thought I’d explore what makes Kasich different from Governor Bush, Governor Christie, and Senator Rubio.
After a funeral this morning, I had lunch with an uncle from Ohio, who explained to me that Ohio has benefited from Kasich as Governor, how Kasich reopened the State of Ohio for business, improving the economy in a time when so many other States have suffered. We both agreed Kasich has been the weakest candidate on the debate stage, but that doesn’t change his long record of achievement. I would argue that John Kasich’s long record of achievement explains why he has remained on the prime time debate stage, despite his performances.
Yet, personally, I have disliked Kasich more than the other “establishment” candidates, and it was in Thursday nights’ debate that I discovered why. Governor Kasich isn’t inspiring, he’s not a polished orator, and his attitude seems too calm and too soft for the stormy and hard environment within which our society finds itself. Worst of all, Governor Kasich doesn’t seem angry.
However, as I watch Donald Trump build an army of anger around him, I wonder if anger is really what we need. Is an angry candidate enough? Don’t they need a consistent record of principle or success? And I realize that this is why I like Senator Cruz more than Donald Trump. Senator Cruz reflects my level of righteous indignation and I trust him to follow through on what he says he’ll do. I don’t trust the other angry candidates like Donald Trump or Chris Christie one half of one tenth of one percent.
So when it comes to the candidates I disagree with, Governor Kasich really ought to be my favorite, despite his calm, caring, professorial demeanor. He has the most experience of any of the establishment candidates. He’s had far more success than Governor Bush or Senator Rubio. He’s infinitely more accomplished than Governor Christie. Yet, I still struggle to like him. That says more about me, however, than it does him.
Now, I am not writing this to support or endorse Governor Kasich. Senator Cruz and Senator Paul represent a set of social, political, and philosophical principles far more in line with my position than any of the more “establishment” candidates. I write this, because I question why so many folks support Senator Rubio over Governor Kasich?
Marco Rubio, like Senators Paul and Cruz, is young. Both Cruz and Rubio have long histories in government, but not nearly as much as Governor Kasich. Why do so many Republicans who support Kasich and Rubio on immigration and who support Kasich and Rubio on foreign policy prefer Senator Rubio to Governor Kasich? John Kasich is the far more accomplished candidate. Why would anyone prefer Governor Bush to Governor Kasich? Besides having a daddy as a President and a brother as a President, has Governor Bush accomplished even half of what Governor Kasich has accomplished in his time as an elected official?
So, if Republicans feel that candidates like Senator Rand Paul and Senator Ted Cruz are too conservative, too libertarian, too limited government, and they are looking for a more pro-government candidate, their choice should be clear. There is only one establishment candidate running for the Republican Nomination that has a long, consistent record of success; and that candidate is Governor John Kasich. Many people find it impossible to forgive Kasich for Medicaid Expansion (I being one of them), but can those same people forgive Senator Rubio for The Gang of 8?
I suppose I dislike emotional evaluation and when I discover it in myself it becomes easier to recognize in others. While I’ll stick with Senator Cruz as my candidate, while holding immeasurable appreciation for Senator Paul, I don’t understand why establishment Republicans would prefer a collection of neo-conservative, pro-amnesty candidates with few accomplishments, to a neo-conservative, pro-amnesty candidate with a lifetime of accomplishment. Just something to ponder with a grain of salt.