The editorial consensus for Kasich

Real Clear Politics

I’ve mentioned a number of times, approvingly, the way the editorial board of The Wall Street Journal keeps trying to wake up Republicans and make them see that their only hope out of their current mess is John Kasich.

They’re not alone in this. The New York Times — while it cares far less about the fate of the GOP — is equally bemused at the way Republicans seem determined to charge off a cliff:

At a televised Republican town hall on Tuesday, it was painful to watch farmers, students and a man whose son died of a drug overdose pose earnest questions to Mr. Trump and Mr. Cruz, who were more interested in attacking each other. Only John Kasich connected with these voters.

Despite its noble aim and big budget, “Never Trump” has become a panicky reaction in search of a strategy. In Wisconsin, “Never Trump” means “How About Cruz?” as self-interested leaders like Gov. Scott Walker try to sell Republicans on a dangerously reactionary senator as an improvement over a dangerously ignorant businessman. But for the state’s — and the nation’s — moderate conservatives, “Never Trump” should more logically mean “Maybe Kasich.”…

That’s less significant, of course. Republicans historically run from advice from that quarter, while some of them — the kinds of people who used to run the GOP — at least still care somewhat about what the Journal says.

But I find the NYT‘s chiming in interesting, because it points to something common to editorial board members, regardless of whether they lean left or right or neither: If you make your living studying current events and issues and thinking carefully about them — very carefully, because you know the words you write about them will be picked apart by thousands of people — you tend to see certain things, whether they are what you want to see or not. And you tend to marvel at people who are swept along by half-thoughts and emotions and seem to willfully refuse to see those things.

(Even if you’re an editorial writer at the NYT who actively wants to see Republicans lose, you’ve got to wonder, What are those guys thinking?)

You really don’t have to think all that hard to see that Kasich is the only rational choice at this point for Republicans. You really don’t have to go beyond all those poll numbers at the Real Clear Politics site. (Although if you do go beyond that, you can make other arguments.)

See, Republicans? If you go with Trump, you lose. If you go with Cruz, you lose. If you go with Kasich, you win. See? Was that so hard?

Not that there’s a guarantee that you win — there are too many variables for that. But at least you go into the fall with a chance to win, instead of having everything stacked against you.

Why doesn’t everyone see that? Oh, I don’t expect Trump supporters to see it — they’re too invested in their guy, and they seem to be allergic to facts and such. But the Grahams and Romneys of the world certain should see it. And you know what is really puzzling? I think they do see it; they’ve just made a very cynical calculation that they can’t make their fellow Republicans see it, too…

23 thoughts on “The editorial consensus for Kasich

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    And before y’all jump on me for portraying editorial page editors and writers as superior beings who are SO much smarter than everybody else…

    That’s not what I’m saying. At least, not exactly. 🙂

    It’s just that if you take an average person and turn him into a member of an editorial board, he’s going to think harder about things, because he’s getting paid to do it. As opposed to being paid to make widgets all day and therefore having less time to think about issues. (And because he’s doing it in front of the public and doesn’t want to make a COMPLETE ass of himself.)

    After several years on The State’s editorial board, I started thinking back to my days in news, and while I had thought I was a really thoughtful, savvy editor supervising reporters, I really had a pretty shallow perspective by comparison. I was paid NOT to have opinions, so when I ended up having an opinion anyway, it was a pretty fly-by-night, ill-considered thing — compared to the opinions I sweated over after 1994.

    It’s like the reason why I value representative democracy so much, especially as compared to direct democracy (shudder). It’s not that elected representatives are smarter than other people. It’s that if you take anybody and delegate him to take time to go study and debate issues, he’s going to make at least marginally better decisions than if you just grabbed him off the street and asked him to vote yes or no in a referendum….

    1. Bryan Caskey

      Your point here about elected officials illustrates one of the (many) horrible things about Trump. For instance, take his comments on abortion where he said that a woman should be punished for having an abortion if it was illegal.

      It’s painfully obvious that Trump has not really given more than 1.6 seconds of thought to the abortion issue, and he just sort of made things up on the spot. Leaving aside the substance and the abortion debate itself, it’s clear that Trump has never actually studied the issue, read anything about all of the metaphorical cease-fires and truces that both sides of the abortion debate have sort of worked out in the larger context of the debate. He hasn’t thought about the issue at all, so he’s reduced to sort of just winging it. And he does that with everything.

      I see it as both arrogance and laziness. He’s arrogant enough that he just assumes that he can get by without really having a deep understanding of an issue, and he’s not intellectually disciplined enough to actually take time to come to a deep understanding of an issue. I find both of it terribly offensive given the enormous magnitude and power of the office he’s running for. He just doesn’t care to study that hard. But hey, maybe that’s part of Trump’s appeal to some people. Maybe the thing I find to be a bug is a feature to others. There are lots of people out there who don’t think hard about the issues and just sort of make stuff up on the spot. Maybe Trump doing the same thing appeals to them on some level.

      But hey, I’ve given up on the 2016 election. I’m just sort of enjoying my spectator status at this point. I’m enjoying your support for Kasich, which reminds me of the sort of “Lost Cause” romantic way. I’m enjoying watching the FBI investigate Hillary even though I’ve totally accepted that she’ll never face a charge of any kind whatsoever. I’m also enjoying Jeff Mobley’s quest to become a delegate, even though I have zero expectation that any GOP candidate can win this year.

      It’s really very freeing.

      I kind of feel like Lt. Spears when he runs through all the fire when E Company takes Foy. He’s just already accepted that he’s a dead man, and it frees him to do his duty.

      1. Juan Caruso

        Bryan, with all due respect we all know, as does Trump. that the abortion debate, unlike the climate change scam, so far, has been settled. And, astute observers realize that it was settled by the real elite — the lifetime appointed Supremes (politically appointed lawyers).

        You are correct. Trump has not analyzed the abortion debate like a lawyer (and few but lawyers have). For most people abortion is an emotional issue, for others also a morale one.

        For Trump I expect abortion is a merely an economic issue, one that may have avoided the nation’s excuse for the patently absurd (except on morale gouunds, again) issue of encouraging and condoning illegal immigration.

        Currently, 20 attorneys general (elected lawyers) “…launched an unprecedented, multi-state effort to investigate and prosecute the “high-funded and morally vacant forces” that have stymied attempts to combat global warming—starting with holding ExxonMobil and other industry giants accountable for fraud and suppression of key climate science.”

        They are undoubtedly hoping to enrich trial lawyers (no doubt friends in their respective states or networks) as well their as state coffers.

        Someday, mark my words, what those of us non-attorneys have been saying is going to be clearly understood by the electorate. When that happens, what K-Street, etc. and too many sitting lawyers (graham for one) have been doing may finally be termed racketeering influence and corruption, don’t you think?

        Trump aione is the only credible candidate who, by spilling his “insider’s” beans on what has taken place in D.C., can actually succeed in paring government fraud, waste and abuse.

        Trump is a non-lawyer, unlike Bush’s friend Kasich, the globalist (“internationalist” to those who constantly seek to to disguise the truth). The reason the establishment (Republican’s are by and large handmaidens to the Democrat leaders = lawyers) are afraid of Trump is that their usual networking machinations of career assassination are not work if he ever becomes president.

    2. Doug Ross

      But if you think about things really carefully and still get them wing, what difference does it make? In your role at The State you supported the Iraq War, John McCain, and Joe Lieberman. No matter how much you carefully considered those issues, you were so wrong it makes one wonder if you just were stubborn or blindly rejecting any information that would require you to admit you were wrong.

      Same with Kasich. He’s not going to be the nominee. Never. If he doesn’t win Pennsylvania, he should quit immediately after that. If he hangs around and gets crushed until the convention, who in their right mind would put him up as the best choice? Democrats would have a field day positioning him as the third choice of Republicans… Trump and Cruz supporters would mutiny. The only third choice is someone who hasn’t been beaten soundly across 49 states.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Ah, but you see, I can’t possibly “admit I was wrong.” Because I was right. On all of those, anyway. I can think of one or two cases where I was wrong, but I’d rather not go into those. Too painful.

        Mind you, on the Iraq invasion, I merely assert that I was right based on what I knew then. If I knew that a) public support for our involvement there would evaporate, and b) Rumsfeld would have handled it so incompetently, I wouldn’t have been for it.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          OK, I’ll go ahead and tell you where I was wrong.

          Mark Sanford — I thought he was solid at the core, and just had some nutty ideas around the fringes. It was the other way around. The nutty stuff was who he was; the solid ideas were more like afterthoughts.

          A column I once wrote about John Land — I gave him hell about something once and in retrospect I think it was unfair. (Actually, I disagreed with Sen. Land quite a bit, but this time I was wrong.)

          Someone we ALMOST endorsed, but didn’t — The endorsement was on the page and the page was ready to go to press. But something nagged at me, and I made ONE more phone call to someone who knew the players better than I did, and something he said tipped the balance. I ripped the endorsement off the page, and we endorsed the other person. I forget the names, but I think maybe it had something to do with Richland County Council.

          That’s about all I can think of, aside from the odd typo or other small error…

          1. Doug Ross

            Always certain, occasionally correct.

            In hindsight, you still believe that McCain/Palin would have been better for the country in 2008? Recall that McCain wouldn’t even admit that we were entering a recession until way, way, way late in the game. You also must think that McCain would have done something better with healthcare than Obamacare, right? Nevermind that we’d probably have troops on the ground all over the world fighting the endless war on terror and taking the lives of thousands of American soldiers and tens of thousands of others. The Supreme Court would not have Sotomayor or Kagan on it. Probably just two more old white dudes who love guns and fetuses.

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              That’s an odd one to pick, since I liked BOTH McCain and Obama very much, and was clear about that.

              As I said at the time, I was fine with either outcome. It was the win-win election. But voters have to pick, so I picked McCain.

              Would I do it again, knowing only what I knew then? Yes.

              Would I do it again knowing what I know NOW (which of course was impossible, but I’ll indulge you on this)?

              That’s tough, because it WAS so close, so any variable could change the outcome.

              I’ll say this for Obama — I think he did a better job than I expected from a guy with zero executive experience. But some of that inexperience led to mistakes, including with Obamacare — he failed to shape it, leaving it too much to Congress.

              Of course, if he’d just advocated for single payer from the start I might have endorsed him over McCain.

              Oh, as for your mention of Palin — which people who hate that endorsement love to do, as though I were positively endorsing her instead of endorsing McCain in spite of her — time has vindicated that one: See? McCain didn’t die. So she wouldn’t have become president…

              Oh, and yeah, hindsight has not changed my mind at all on preferring McCain as commander in chief. As for your “endless war on terror” — yeah, I prefer a president who understands that we don’t get to say when it ends just because we don’t like fighting it. The enemy gets a say…

              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                Oh, that reminds me…

                The antiwar folks went absolutely APE when McCain said we could be in Iraq for a century. But it made perfect sense.

                Read this editorial in the WSJ today, if you can get past the paywall. It was about how extraordinarily foolish it is for Trump to say we get nothing out of having troops in Japan and Korea. An excerpt:

                “We take care of Japan, we take care of South Korea” and “we get virtually nothing” in return, Mr. Trump said last month. He threatens to renegotiate or abrogate the longstanding treaties under which the U.S. today bases some 50,000 troops in Japan and 28,000 in South Korea.

                But these aren’t one-sided or unaffordable deals. Tokyo and Seoul now pay nearly half of local U.S. military costs—some $2 billion a year for Japan and $900 million for South Korea. The U.S. troops based there cost the U.S. taxpayer less than they would if they came home. And that’s without counting their value in sustaining decades of peace and prosperity in a region previously marked by catastrophic wars….

                We’ve been stationing troops in those countries for more than 60 years, with only benefit, no ill effect.

                Not to mention the stabilizing benefit of having all those troops in Germany since 1945 — or the ones we sent into places like Bosnia for years on end, establishing and maintaining peace there.

                I assure you, if we had 50,000 troops based in Iraq today, we wouldn’t have ISIL controlling chunks of that country…

                1. Doug Ross

                  “with only benefit, no ill effect.”

                  Tell that to the veterans who get horrible treatment at VA hospitals including today’s news in USA Today that details systemic problems with supervisors fudging wait times for treatment. A billion or two less spent “over there” on veteran care “over here” would be far more beneficial.

                2. Howard

                  “The antiwar folks went absolutely APE”

                  I don’t think that phrase has been used since Wally Cleaver said it to Eddie Haskell in 1963.

                3. Doug Ross

                  I don’t believe that analysis. It assumes we need as many troops here. We don’t. Our we could cut other areas like f35 bombers. Let’s just shift 10% of the military budget to domestic spending.

  2. Claus

    Is this how people who have nothing to do spend their day speculating at odds? Kasich has no chance of being the nominee so why waste time polling people? Besides, I’ve been polled before and my responses are not remotely close to how I’d actually vote in the booth. If a Sander’s group calls me I’m going to be the biggest Sanders supporter in SC, in the booth I’d likely be voting for Trump.

  3. Michael Bramson

    I have a little trouble with the electability argument at this point because hypothetical general election polls are generally very unreliable this early. I wouldn’t argue with you that Kasich has a better chance of beating Hillary than the other two, but I don’t think it’s such a sure thing that Cruz, especially, would lose. Besides which, one advantage of Cruz over Trump in a general election is that Trump is more likely to damage the Republicans in down ticket races. But I’m a Democrat who voted for Bernie Sanders, so what do I know about Republican internal politics.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      You’re completely right when you say, “I wouldn’t argue with you that Kasich has a better chance of beating Hillary than the other two, but I don’t think it’s such a sure thing that Cruz, especially, would lose.”

      Nothing is guaranteed.

      I provide those numbers because a lot of y’all value numbers, but as y’all know, I’m not a numbers guy. The only numbers that count are the ones in the Electoral College after the vote in November.

      The TRUE statement that I am comfortable with is, as you say, “Kasich has a better chance of beating Hillary than the other two.” But I wouldn’t say “there’s X percent chance that Kasich would beat Hillary.” I don’t mind expressing probabilities in words; I get suspicious when we attach numerical values to such predictions.

      But I pass along the numbers because one by one and in the aggregate, they do tend to support what I’m saying rather emphatically. Just don’t take them as carved in stone…

      1. Doug Ross

        Those aren’t numbers. They aren’t facts. They are polls. I saw polls the other day showing Hillary winning Wisconsin by 7 points. This was two days before the primary .

        I’ve got a poll I’d like to see. Show 100 people a photo of Kasich and see how many can identify him. You think you’d get even 50% across a wide range of age, sex, race, income demographics?

  4. Doug Ross

    Let’s say Kasich doesn’t win Pennsylvania. Let’s say Cruz goes to him and says “The VP spot is yours if you get out now and back me. ” You think Kasich takes his chances on a convention miracle? Even being on a losing ticket would give him a better shot in 2020.

    That gives you party unity and Ohio in the general election. A much better option for Republicans than Kasich plus another unknown.

  5. Bart

    Unfortunately, Kasich will not be the nominee, it will be Trump or Cruz. If it is Cruz, expect Trump to run as an independent or 3rd party candidate. Then expect the vote to be about the same as it was when Ross Perot ran against Clinton and Bush.

    About all I can do this election is write-in Kasich and at least participate. In John Denver’s words, “If you don’t vote, don’t bitch.”

  6. Doug Ross

    Let’s say Kasich doesn’t win Pennsylvania. Let’s say Cruz goes to him and says “The VP spot is yours if you get out now and back me. ” You think Kasich takes his chances on a convention miracle? Even being on a losing ticket would give him a better shot in 2020.

    That gives you party unity and Ohio in the general election. A much better option for Republicans than Kasich plus another unknown.

    You have to remember we are dealing with politicians here, not regular people. They are driven by huge egos, compromising principles, and status seeking.


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