Tuesday, July 21, 2015


NBC's First Read blog (lead bylined author: Chuck Todd) acknowledges that John Kasich faces an uphill battle for the Republican presidential nomination, but suggests that that's not Kasich's fault:
Can John Kasich Get Traction in the Summer of Donald?

If the two-term governor of all-important Ohio -- with a 60% approval rating in his state -- announces a presidential bid and no one hears it, did it really happen? That's John Kasich's challenge as he makes his White House run official today at 11:00 am ET amid all of the Donald Trump headlines. Trump leads nationally in another poll! Trump is running second in Iowa! The Des Moines Register wants Trump out of the race! Trump is still feuding with John McCain! And oh, Donald Trump just killed a guy with a trident! Yes, we made that last one up (it's from "Anchorman"), but you get the point: It's the Summer of Donald, and it's become hard for the other GOP presidential hopefuls to break through. Remember that Scott Walker officially announced his presidential bid last week, and he barely broke through all the Trump news, at least nationally.
Yes, but Walker is in double digits nationally and is well out in front in Iowa, which proves that there's been plenty of opportunity for non-Trump GOP wannabes to break through, at least if they're candidates Republicans like. Walker gives GOP voters a lot to like. In a different way, so does Trump. Kasich? Well, Chuck, as you (or your coauthors) write:
Our colleague Kasie Hunt has a good piece on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" profiling the Republican Ohio governor. "Ohio Gov. John Kasich can sound pretty different from the 15 other Republicans running for president. 'Just read Matthew 25. Did you feed the hungry? Did you clothe the naked? If we¹re doing things like that, to me that IS conservatism.' He doesn't necessarily govern like them, either. He expanded Medicaid under Obamacare and favors a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. And even voted for an assault-weapons ban."
Can you say "Jon Huntsman"? Kasich also supports the hated Common Core. Yeah, Jeb does, too -- but Jeb has more money than God, and he's more or less locked up the votes of all Republicans who think they need to make a choice based on pragmatism rather than ideological zealotry. That's a minority of the GOP electorate, though it may be a large enough minority to get Jeb through the early primaries, at which point maybe the rest of the electorate will hold its collective nose and rally around Jeb. But there's no room for Kasich in all this. The GOP isn't a lovely garden where a hundred reasonable right-centrists can bloom. It's a cesspit of carcinogenic rage.

Mainstream political journalists can't stand the thought that GOP voters aren't in sync with them. Just as they never stop insisting that Chris Christie is poised for a comeback, they're certain Republicans would embrace Kasich if circumstances were more favorable (a smaller field, an earlier entry into the race, no Trump). That's nonsense. Kasich would be blown away even in a two- or three-candidate race. He's no GOP voter's idea of an ideal presidential candidate. He'll be lucky to outpoll George Pataki and Bobby Jindal.


UPDATE: I meant to include this:

See "Bye Bye, SB 5: Anti-Union Law Repealed in Ohio," from Mother Jones, for the background. Right-wing voters like fighters, but they don't like losers. They sure don't like losers who accept the loss and move on,


mlbxxxxxx said...

Never ceases to amuse me how little traction the teachings of Christ have in the GOP. Quote Matthew 25 to them and they will bristle like a hedgehog in heat.

Kasich is a very interesting candidate -- don't think the comparison to Huntsman is apt. Yeah, they share some characteristics of moderation and rationality, but they are very different personalities. Kasich's messaging is clearly out of synch with the GOP zeitgeist but he's got the bombastic asshole thing nailed. Huntsman was more of a Casper milquetoast sort and really had nothing to offer the latter day GOPer. Kasich, on the other hand, is not going to be so easy for them to dismiss. Assholery is not a characteristic to be taken lightly in the GOP primary -- that, and hating on Mexicans, is really all Trump is bringing to the table and it's working for him against all odds.

Unknown said...

Kasich ran as a kinder, gentler Republican in the 2014 gubernatorial primary, which told me he might have access to some super secret mystical polling or a feel for some gigantic shift rumbling in the bowels of the GOP and its owners.

I am no political analyst or expert, but my sense is that Kasich knows he won't win in 2016 but is positioning himself for the seemingly shiny new Republican brand in 2020. I've heard rumblings that here in Ohio current GOP loyalists and some CEO's are sick of the current GOP slash and burn strategy. I contend Kasich is a bellwether and he's worth watching. I thought his move to expand Medicaid was brave and I give him a lot of credit for it.

Unknown said...

Oh, and I meant to add that Chuck Todd is a hack who contributes absolutely nothing to anything. This fact cannot be stated enough.