The State has it right: John Kasich for GOP nomination


Last Friday, Ohio Gov. John Kasich met with The State‘s editorial board for an endorsement interview. Immediately afterward, he went to speak at an event at the state Chamber of Commerce. I attended that event, which coincidentally was a lot like an editorial meeting — a bunch of people sitting around a boardroom table and talking in some depth about issues.

I was impressed — so much so that I decided then and there that I had found someone I could support without qualms. Up to that morning, I’d been in quite a quandary.

Apparently, my former colleagues reached the same conclusion at about the same time, because a short while ago, they released their endorsement of him.

Why Kasich? Well, for me, a lot of things seemed to line up as I listened to him express sustained thoughts in a venue far better than those painful shouting sessions they call debates:

  • First, he’s sane. Not all of the candidates can boast of that.
  • Second, he’s a grownup — which as you know is an important consideration for me, as the chairman of the Grownup Party. Obviously, when he was a child, someone told him or showed him how a decent human being behaves around other human beings, and he took the lesson to heart. Even in those debates, he stands out in this regard. In a calmer setting, the impression is reinforced.
  • He has a positive vision of governance. He doesn’t define himself in terms of what he’s against or what he’s angry about, which sets him apart from a growing number in his party. He sees it as pretty lame when a politician’s main message is, “I stop stuff.” He sees himself as a reformer and says, “If you’re going to have power, use it… drive innovation and change. Otherwise, get out of the way.”
  • He’s a fiscal conservative — an adamant advocate for balanced budgets — for the right reasons. That is to say, to be a responsible steward of resources, not because he hates government.
  • He’s pro-business and pro-growth, without making a fascist, Ayn Randian, “Triumph of the Will” fetish of it. “I don’t believe that economic growth is an end in itself… We need to reach out to those in the shadows,” those left behind by growth — help them to share in the benefits by getting them on their feet, getting them healthcare, making sure they have a shot at sharing in the bounty. Why? Because “God didn’t make no junk.” Everybody matters.
  • He says things such as “We are Americans before we are Republicans and Democrats,” and truly seems to mean it. Putting on another of my party hats… well, y’all know why I would like that.
  • He doesn’t pass up a good deal for the people he serves just because it’s associated with someone of the opposing party. In other words, while he has problems with Obamacare overall, he jumped at the chance to expand Medicaid, and he extols the benefits that the people of Ohio have derived from that.
  • Speaking of that: Allan Stalvey from the S.C. Hospital Association asked him how Medicaid expansion has been received by business in Ohio. Business “were all for it,” said Kasich. It was supported by “everybody that understood the implications of it.” This was an interesting exchange given the setting, as the state Chamber has declined to oppose our governor on the issue.
  • He is a federalist, or perhaps I should say, he gives indications of believing in the concept of subsidiarity. He would push functions that don’t need to be handled on the federal level down to the states, with the mandate that the money be used for those purposes. An example? Highway construction. The federal Interstate system is already built; leave the money with the states.
  • On the most important aspect of being president — national security — I find much to like and little to object to in his platform, which you can read here. Not to get into the weeds (after all, no one knows exactly what security challenges a new president would face), he sees the need to lead in fighting terrorism, would oppose aggression by the world’s problem regimes and would continue the strategic shift toward the Western Pacific begun by the Obama administration. Am I totally satisfied with what I’ve heard him say? No, mostly because I haven’t heard enough — the Chamber event wasn’t the ideal venue, and there hasn’t been enough rational debate of world affairs in the campaign overall. But I like him on this better than anyone with the possible exception of Rubio. Of course, you know that my favorite guy on national security dropped out of the race.
  • He doesn’t run from his accomplishments for the sake of political expedience. If he were in Mitt Romney’s place, I don’t think he’d run from Romneycare. Were he Marco Rubio, he wouldn’t try to make everyone forget that he’d tried to bring about rational comprehensive immigration reform.

Speaking of immigration, I was struck during the most recent debate when he put forth a reasonable compromise — a path to legalization, not citizenship — and the room didn’t erupt into boos:

Anyway, those are some of my reasons for deciding I like Kasich.

Here are The State‘s.

Kasich 3

Speaking to the media after the Chamber event.

57 thoughts on “The State has it right: John Kasich for GOP nomination

  1. Norm Ivey

    He’s been my favorite among the Rs since he got in the race for many of the reasons you state. More than anything else, I trust him.

  2. Doug Ross

    I’ll ask again. If there is a path to citizenship for illegals, what do we do with those who don’t come forward? Nothing, right?

      1. Doug Ross

        See, you can’t answer the question. Because you know the answer is “nothing”. Many will not come forward because it will likely cost them jobs when their employer has to start paying them real salaries and benefits.

        My plan is simple. No benefits, no school for their kids, no public assistance of any type (rely on charity if they want to live under the radar), and deportation upon discovery – not actively seeking them, but if they commit any crime or are discovered to be working illegally, they are deported immediately, no exception.

        I’ll accept a path to citizenship if you’ll compromise (see what I did there?) on not providing benefits to those who won’t come forward.

        I’ve seen firsthand how difficult it is for legal immigrants to stay here. Giving law breakers a pass is a slap in those people’s faces.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          I’d love to see a reliable study that tells us how many illegals — people doing their best to live under the radar — actually step up and claim all these benefits that you and others seem so concerned about them receiving.

          Perhaps the results would reassure you somewhat.

          I for one will never lose a minute worrying — or yelling “You lie!” at the president — over the possibility that some poor campesino just might, against all the odds, be able obtain some help with healthcare for his children…

          1. Mark Stewart

            I would like them to have the ability to get a drivers license. So they can get insurance. You know, stuff like that.

            Love the idea of excluding kids from school; there is a great future in that. Said with full sarcasm…

            1. Doug Ross

              There’s also a great future in teaching your kids that laws don’t matter. All they have to do is come forward, pay a fine, and follow the rules and their kids can go to school. Is that too much to ask? If there is no penalty for NOT doing it, why would they? If you take away the carrot, you don’t have to use the stick.

              But, see, no amnesty supporter can say what the consequences should be for not coming forward. That would be MEAN! and HEARTLESS! They fall back on “it’s for the children” sad faces.

              Here’s my plan for dealing with illegals aptly summarized by noted philosopher Willy Wonka.


  3. Harry Harris

    Kasich shines among the rest of the field, but only by comparison. He is the least objectionable to me based on several of the reasons you mention. Independent scores of his tax proposals indicate they favor wealthy interests more than several of the other Republican candidates. Another tax shift to the middle class with lip service toward “helping” the working poor. Killing the estate tax. Health care promises that largely put the insurance industry and the price- gouger segment of providers back in charge. Tax proposals that add trillions to the national debt. Defund Planned Parenthood for nothing other than political reasons (phony videos, etc) and personal religious beliefs. Muddled and wrong-headed ideas about church/state roles. Balanced budget amendment proponent. No income taxes on small businesses (so my S-Corp doctor and lawyer should get even more favorable treatment?) Bible stories are literally true (should we teach them as history?). Immigration ideas support what business interests want (cheap, abundant labor), and legal status (Come, stay, and work cheap), but never citizenship (they might vote for Democrats).
    The last “compassionate conservative” who fooled us was compassionate for about one speech, and pushed the tax rates down, blew up the deficit, passed a short-sighted testing-agenda education bill, fought 2 unfunded wars, did nothing to expand health care (unless you count Medicare Part D) or control cost increases. He based economic expansion on crazy credit (public and private) rather than earnings. Let’s let them borrow and spend instead of earning a decent wage and spend.
    Very many of his promises are as vague as Trump’s though his claimed direction sounds centrist. Faced with the hard-right Republican-dominated Congress, he would absolutely cave toward the right, and lead in that direction in some areas. Best of the bunch, but what a bunch!

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Harry, I could argue with a number of your points, but I’ll just pick one: Going against the tide of his party to expand Medicaid is hardly “lip service” to the working poor.

      On the whole, though, I’m glad you agree that he’s the best of the bunch…

  4. Burl Burlingame

    I certainly would not vote for Kasich. But if he were elected, I could live with it. Of the current R candidates, he seems to be the grown-up in the room.

  5. Mark Stewart

    Jeb’s very bad day! Will he bow out Sunday? Or does he continue to cling to the illusion that he is, in fact, the sensible adult in the race? It would be helpful if he suspends today – and gets out of the way so the “more rational” votes aren’t split three ways – enabling Cruz and Trump to remain on top coming out of SC.

    There is no more sure fire way to hand the Presidency to the Democrats. Presidential primaries are never just about winning the party selection; they are – or should be – about winning the general election, too. SC, in its long history of one-party rule, doesn’t have a good handle on that aspect of voting. This year, the slate of GOP contenders makes it even harder for SC to find the path to the Presidency.

    Or maybe the state will return to its recent historical role when Bernie trumps Hillary Sarurday? Maybe this year the SC story isn’t going to be written on the GOP side, despite all the petulant storminess that dominates? Will the “black vote” opt to continue to prefer the cooptedness represented by the gerrymandered Congressional District 6, or are those voters going to chose to more robustly assert their place in the American political conversation?

    1. Doug Ross

      Examine an electoral map from 2008 Obama vs. McCain and tell me where Trump our Cruz does worse? No matter who it is on the Republican side it is going to be closer than you think thanks to the electoral college. Which red states go for Hillary or Bernie? Are we so sure that Hillary can survive a head to head with Cruz? I’m not.

      1. Doug Ross

        Picture Hillary versus Cruz, Rubio, or even Trump in head-to-head debates. Bernie’s been treating her with kid gloves so far. Remember – she’s never had to debate a real opponent in her life before. She lost to Obama.

        1. Mark Stewart

          Cruz is the only one she could beat in the general election. His generally awful demeanor would make her’s appear brite ‘n sparkly.

          1. Doug Ross

            I’m not so sure. He is a very smart guy. Very, very strong in debates (a champion in college, I believe). Does he have any skeletons in his closet like Hillary? Seems like a Boy Scout. Hillary also will have the Bill baggage to tote around all summer as the bimbo eruptions are replayed again. You don’t think we’ll see another Monica Lewinsky circus if she’s the nominee? Benghazi, the email server, Bill Clinton, her age, her connection Wall Street, her earning millions of dollars after leaving office… all that will be on the table and hammered day after day. I don’t care who she’s up against, it will not be a route like Obama over McCain,

            She got smoked by Obama in 2008. Do Americans just say, yeah we’ll take the runnerup eight years later? I don’t see the passion for her out there, it’s more of a “oh well, she’s not a Republican”.

          2. Bryan Caskey

            After a back and forth between Cruz and Rubio, I decided to vote for Rubio for just that reason.

                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Sure, but that hardly tells us much about the direction of the race. Bryan is a virtually all-white voter, with a higher level of average educational attainment than with most voters, and an unusually high interest in the 2nd Amendment.

                  The Caskey primary results, then, are virtually useless in predicting the all-important, first-in-Peoria, Joe Doakes Primary…

                2. Norm Ivey

                  “an unusually high interest in the 2nd Amendment”

                  I’m kinda left of center but right of Bud. I don’t find Brian’s support of Amendment 2 unusual. I certainly don’t share his interest in guns, but I agree with his defense of them, and I trust he would defend the rest of the BoR as vigorously. I just don’t think there’s any real threat to it..

      2. Phillip

        Doug, it may be a moot point if somebody other than Cruz or Trump is nominated, but I’ll go on record now as saying if it’s Hillary versus one of them, they’ll underperform Romney 2012 in the Electoral College. For sure neither Cruz nor Trump will pass 200 electoral votes. If it’s Trump he’ll do worse than that, worse for sure than either McCain or Romney in electoral totals, worse in fact than any GOP candidate since Goldwater. Mark it down.

        1. Doug Ross

          McCain only got 173. Are we SURE Trump can’t win states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Nevada, Colorado, Iowa? Bet your life sure? Bet that Hillary won’t tank even a bit if facing Trump’s withering attack?

          Are we sure there cannot be an economic collapse driven by China, oil, student loans, etc. in the next six months?

          1. Phillip

            I can’t imagine Trump winning those states. If some sudden crisis emerges, he might do even worse. As late October rolls around, I just cannot believe Americans would stay serious about pulling the lever for him.

            Now if Hillary were to be indicted during the campaign…that’s a different story.

            …what’s the deadline for a third-party candidate to get on the ballot in most of the states for the November election, i wonder.

          2. Norm Ivey

            I don’t think Trump would win any of those states. His popularity is coming from a minority of Republicans. In a general election, I don’t see him winning a plurality of votes anywhere. I think he’s peaking with what he has. If he gets the nomination, there will be a lot of conservatives who sit it out.

            1. Barry

              The nomination of Trump would fire up a lot of liberal and slightly left independents- and most of the college voting crowd.

              My son is in high school. He doesn’t care about politics. But he’s told me several times most of the kids he knows and sees at school laugh at Trump. He goes to a rural school. Trump is seen as a joke by most of the kids there – according to what he sees at school.

              I fear that isn’t just happening at 1 local high school. Of course most of them can’t vote- but I don’t see Trump being popular with most of the younger voting population which the Democrats will court heavily.

  6. Doug Ross

    Went to the Kasich website to see where he stands on the issues. This should help Democrats who think he’s worth voting for know what he stands for:

    Pro Life
    Against funding Planned Parenthood
    Against Common Core
    Big supporter of school vouchers
    Welfare to Work programs

    “The Second Amendment is too important and Obama’s hostility to it is too well known for him to be allowed to go around Congress and undermine the Second Amendment. ”

    “reduced the size of Ohio’s state government bureaucracy to its lowest levels in more than 30 years”

    “Since taking office, Gov. Kasich has enacted $5 billion in tax cuts, including eliminating the death tax, cutting the state income tax 16 percent, ”

    “Wiping ISIS off the map”

    “Obamacare is the Wrong Diagnosis and Must Be Repealed and Replaced: Everyone knows that Obamacare must be repealed and replaced with something that actually works in line with America’s market-based principles to help Americans be healthy. ”


    I’m kinda baffled how a Democrat would vote for anyone with those views. Is there nothing that you hold as a firm belief that would be a showstopper?

    1. d@3mon

      Kasich doesn’t need dyed in the wool democrats to vote for him. He needs the Reagan Democrats. Many people in the democratic party are Pro-life and I think most Americans even liberal hippies wouldn’t be against us taking out ISIS.

      1. Doug Ross

        But he is never going to get your vote in the general election. And it doesn’t matter which Democrat you vote for in November. The Republican candidate will win the state and all the electoral votes. If you truly wanted to help the Democrat in November, you’d vote for the candidate who would have the best chance to lose nationwide. That would be Trump or Cruz.

          1. Barry

            I can’t vote for someone that I don’t believe in or support.

            I could never vote for Hillary or Bernice Sanders because I don’t believe in either of them.

          2. Brad Warthen Post author

            Norm, what do you mean by “I always get a little wary when someone tells me who I should vote for…”

            I ask, with chip on shoulder, because I used to get that in response to endorsements. It kind of set me off, because no one was TELLING the reader how to vote, as it we could do that… The purpose of the endorsement was merely to engage the reader with important ideas as he goes through his own process of discernment.

            Whether the voter opted to vote our way or not, the hope was that, as a result of reading our endorsement, he would have thought more carefully about the decision, if only to knock down our arguments one after another…

            1. Norm Ivey

              I typed it with a “Wachu talking about, Willis?” smile, but I guess you couldn’t see that from there. Doug’s comment “If you truly wanted to help the Democrat in November, you’d vote for the candidate who would have the best chance to lose nationwide. That would be Trump or Cruz” just sent up a red flag as in “Why does he want me to vote for Trump or Cruz? What’s he up to?”

              I don’t mind when people give reasons for voting for a particular candidate, including endorsements. I didn’t mean to knock the chip off your shoulder…

      2. Barry

        So you vote for people that you don’t ultimately support?

        I know we are very different on everything, but I couldn’t look myself in the face if I went and voted for someone that I didn’t want to ultimately win it all.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Barry, I’m with you if what you’re talking about is what Doug mentioned: Deliberately voting for the weakest candidate in order to help the opposite party is unconscionable. Anyone who does it should lose the right to vote forever. Always, always, always keep in mind that the person you vote for in the primary could win in November.

          But voting for one person in a primary and someone else in November? That’s perfectly fine, and I would argue that in certain circumstances it’s your duty as a voter to do so.

          For instance, say you like President X and he’s running for reelection. His party won’t have a contested primary, but the other party will. If you have a clear preference in that primary, you should vote for that person, even though you’re planning to vote for the incumbent in November. Why? Because the winner of that primary could become president. It’s your duty as a citizen to do whatever you can to see that the nominee of that party is the best of the lot, not some whack job.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            If Hillary were cruising to an easy nomination, as was expected to happen originally, I’d be urging all SC Democrats to join us independents in voting in tomorrow’s primary, to do all they can to spare this country the horror of a Trump or Cruz nomination.

            Partisans are truly dangerous idiots when they wish for a weak nominee in the other party. ANYTHING can happen to their own nominee — a scandal can blow up in her face, or the economy could collapse, as happened to McCain in ’08 — and the other party’s nominee would win by default.

          2. Barry

            If I wanted Hillary or Bernie to ultimately be President ( I don’t of course), I could not sleep at night knowing I went and voted for a Republican on Saturday.

            I don’t vote for the heck of it. My vote is cast for who I support.

        2. Doug Ross

          I would not vote for a person I would not vote for in the general election. Ever. But Karen is voting for a Republican who she would not vote for over the Democrat. If you are doing that, why not vote for the Republican you’d most want to be up against your candidate?

          A vote for kasich in the primary is a waste.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            No! Never! As I say, that “worst candidate” could get elected, and you would have helped.

            ALWAYS vote for the best, or the least bad, candidate when you cast a vote. Doing anything else is grossly reckless, and anyone who does it should never be allowed to vote again…

            1. Doug Ross

              Kasich can’t win in sc. Its a wasted vote, especially for a Democrat. If you are 100% sure you will vote Democrat in the fall, either vote for that candidate tomorrow or vote for the Republican you think will be easiest to beat.

              1. Doug Ross

                I’m voting for Rubio and will vote for him in the fall if he is the nominee. If not, I will vote libertarian.

              2. Brad Warthen Post author

                No one can win here tomorrow but Trump.

                What would be awesome for Kasich is if he could place. Which is also a pretty steep hill, given that Rubio and Cruz are neck-and-neck for second and third.

                Personally, I think he does well here if he comes in ahead of Bush. And if he doesn’t, it’s not necessarily over. SC has always been Bush country.

                The only person I see dropping out after SC is Carson. And MAYBE Bush, if he comes in behind Kasich…

  7. Harry Harris

    I’ve talked to numerous Republicans about who they are supporting. Almost all could give me no policy reason for their support – most were unfamiliar with the candidate’s stands other than running against Obama, vague hard-line military statements, Christian religious freedom stuff (usually blaming Obama for the Supreme count) and unsupportable anti-welfare statements. In a general election, whoever the Republican nominee is will avoid specific policy discussion (except maybe Kasich, but the outside groups will flood the airways with mud). If you get the wrong questions asked, it doesn’t matter that you have no good answers.

        1. Harry Harris

          You mean like stimulating the economy out of the worst recession in 70 years or expanding medical insurance coverage while lowering the slope of cost increases? Perhaps you mean a pay equity law or seven years of job growth while cutting the annual deficit by half. You might be referring to the troop withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan and stopping the 3 and 4 successive deployments of active duty troops and heavy Guard and Reservist deployments overseas. Cutting the unemployment rate by about 80% and stabilizing the banking system should count, too.
          All of this with a stated top priority (McConnell, day 1) of making him a one term president and a decision to try to make health care his “Waterloo” (remember DeMint).

      1. Harry Harris

        No, I think not. Most who I’ve talked with have only been able to cite religious platitudes, gun stuff, vague military posture, but can’t cite their candidate’s positions on economics and taxes. The guys on this board are likely much more informed than the general electorate. I think your candidates’ campaigns have done you a real disservice by going almost exclusively negative (and deceptive) seeking some primary advantage and cowering before Trump’s setting the agenda until now. Many Democratic voters I know are also shallow in their information, but at lest they’ve had some policy debate when not distracted by Clinton’s operatives reducing important issues to sound bytes.

    1. Barry

      You didn’t talk to Republicans then. You talked to some people that would rather throw up than vote for a Liberal.

      I can promise you I, can name many reasons I am supporting Rubio.

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