After eight years as Ohio's governor, John Kasich is leaving office on Monday, January 14th. But he won't be leaving the political stage. He still harbors presidential ambitions and toward that end, has somehow managed to craft a new image for himself as a "moderate."
The perception of Kasich as a moderate is based on precious little, mostly these four things:
- Pushed for the repeal of Obamacare, but did expand Medicaid coverage in Ohio.
- Refused to sign a "stand your ground" shoot-first pro-gun bill.
- Refused to sign a total abortion ban "heartbeat bill," but did sign over a dozen abortion restrictions into law.
- Ran in the 2016 GOP primary as a Trump critic. Never endorsed Trump.
Here's a little something I wrote when Kasich entered the last GOP presidential primary circus. Remember this history when he enters the next one.
Thursday, July 30, 2015
Since John Kasich is running for the GOP presidential nomination, I recently received an email from the Democratic National Committee group known as the "Factivists". They had a question for me and other like-minded Ohioans:
Can you tell us a little bit about John Kasich?
Here's what I told them (and now you, too):
Oh, yes, I can tell you a little bit about John Kasich.
He has a long-held, often-expressed ideological dream: to eliminate the state income tax in Ohio. Can’t do it completely, but he’d like to. He’s a classic regressive tax policy guy – slash income tax rates, increase sales tax rates, cut spending on public education.
As a state rep, Kasich was a member of ALEC, the GOP law-writing machine funded by and doing the bidding of right-wing billionaires.
Worked for the disgraced Wall St. firm Lehman Brothers, but bugged out just before Lehman failed in the Great Crash of ’08. Kasich claimed he knew nothing about Lehman’s troubles and had nothing to do with it. He took temporary shelter as a Fox News host until his campaign for governor.
As governor, Kasich’s signature legislative move was his disastrous “get tough” attempt to bust public employee unions in Ohio via Senate Bill 5. SB 5 sailed through the legislature and was signed into law by Kasich in February 2011. This ignited huge public outcry and protest demonstrations. SB 5 was repealed by referendum in November 2011. Kasich’s pet project was a horrible misreading of the tea leaves and a miserable failure.
Kasich has staunchly opposed gay marriage and LGBT rights. He ordered the state’s AG to defend Ohio’s constitutional ban on gay marriage. That ban was overturned in the recent Supreme Court decision in the Obergefell case.
He is a voter-suppression advocate. He favors less absentee voting and less in-person early voting. He opposes same-day voter registration. He supported a failed photo-ID bill.
His Cabinet appointments are completely Caucasian. Kasich is our Honky-In-Chief.
As governor-elect, said he was anxious to “exploit the wonders” of our state’s natural resources. (2010)
As governor-elect, told the sitting governor to stop all work on a high-speed rail project which would have provided Ohio with $400 million in federal funds. Kasich had the nerve to ask the feds if Ohio could just keep the $400 mil and skip the high-speed rail thing. They said no. Kasich also refused another $450 million in federal education funding. (2010)
At a 2010 press conference: “We have so many stupid rules and regulations that prevent us from getting the best people to work in government. And I blame it on all of you (the media), all this ‘transparency’ and ‘conflicts’ and all this other stuff. I want to just tell you, it’s a problem.”
“I find myself tripping over anthills on the way to the pyramids.” (Same press conference, 2010)
Told Ohio teachers unions they’d have “zero access” to his administration unless they ran state-wide ads apologizing for their criticism of him in the 2010 gubernatorial campaign.
Appointed a former utility company executive and current operator of a Dubai oil and gas company to be Director of the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources. (2010)
Appointed a former executive at Perdue Foods, one of the largest commercial poultry operations in the world and creators of mega-tons of chicken shit, to be the head of the Ohio EPA. (2010)
His first head of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio was a pro-coal climate-change denier. (2010)
His first proposed budget in 2011 cut funding to Ohio’s nursing homes by half a billion dollars.
Quadrupled tuition vouchers for charter schools. (2011)
His 2011 budget not only slashed funding for the [now defunct] Ohio Consumers Council, it also contained a sentence prohibiting the OCC from making any derogatory comment about deregulation of the natural gas industry.
Wanted to throw $400 million in tax abatements at Sears to get them to locate some operations in Ohio. Sears? Who goes to Sears anymore? (2011)
Eliminated the Ohio Dept. of Economic Development and replaced it with a “privatized” entity, JobsOhio, which was funded by $7.5 million in state grants and appropriations, plus the “lease” of $100 billion per year in state liquor sale profits. This is “privatized”? (2011)
Launched his union-busting effort, SB 5, by telling state workers they were “lucky to have a job.” (2011)
Regarding Ohio’s public employees, said: “We would outlaw strikes, and the penalties would be either firing or docked wages.”
Any recourse for dissatisfied workers? Nope. “They have a job. Try to come up with something.”
Kasich also said he’d eliminate Ohio labor laws requiring binding arbitration and prevailing wages. (all 2011)
On the day in February 2011 when the legislature passed SB 5, the Kasich administration locked the doors of the statehouse to keep out all the protesters. (I was there.) The next, Kasich shut down all email access to state senators.
Said that “a waitress at Bob Evans doesn’t have a pension, and has health care that is shabby at best,” so SB 5’s gutting of public employee benefits and rights was “fairness”. (2011)
At a 2011 GOP event, Kasich said public employees “don’t pay a dime” toward their pensions and health insurance. (False.) “We are at war with these people.” He said that if SB 5 is repealed (it was), “we’ll ram it through anyway” with piece-meal legislation. (They did not.)
Gave his first State of the State address in 2011 in the midst of his SB 5 debacle. His speech was drowned out by raucous, booing protesters who filled the Columbus statehouse and the Capitol grounds. (Kasich decided to give his 2012 speech out of town, 100 miles in Steubenville.)
While continuing his SB 5 effort to destroy Ohio’s public unions, Kasich displayed audacity and total lack of irony when he declared the week of May 1, 2011 “Public Service Appreciation Week.”
In August 2011, announced a sudden willingness to renegotiate and compromise on SB 5, if only the opposition would first pull its repeal referendum off the fall ballot. Kasich’s offer was refused and SB 5 was repealed.
In a 2011 speech to the Ohio EPA, Kasich went off on a rant about a 3 year-old traffic stop: “Have you ever been stopped by a policeman who’s an idiot? I had this idiot pull me over on Route 315. . . . He’s an IDIOT!!”
Told the Ohio EPA Director to be “friendlier to business.” (2011)
“Raising taxes at the local level is not an option.” (2011, ignoring the fact that local tax decisions are none of his business.)
While speaking in Cleveland, Kasich, the governor of Ohio, proudly called himself “a Pittsburgh boy.” Someone groaned and Kasich shot back, “Yeah, well, when you win a Super Bowl, let me know.” (2011)
In his second State of the State address in 2012, Kasich rambled extemporaneously and bizarrely about such things as blue-tongue cows going to Turkey, a dream about Jerry Seinfeld in the backseat of a car, and deep brain massage. He called Californians “a bunch of wackadoodles.”
Kasich refused to set up a state-run health insurance exchange under the ACA/Obamacare. (2012)
Kasich’s president of the Ohio Board of Education had Facebook posts comparing Obama to Hitler. (2012)
Kasich appointed an utterly unqualified former lobbyist and non-doctor to be the Director of the Ohio Dept. of Health. (2012)
Three private citizen consumers, along with nine doctors, are appointed by the governor to sit on the State Medical Board. Two of Kasich’s “consumer” appointments were the president of Ohio Right to Life and a trustee of that same outfit. Both are rabid anti-abortion zealots. (2012)
Kasich’s Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources fired a division chief, a 39-year employee, for denying permits to allow the coal industry to violate state and federal law. (2013)
After Kasich touted a supposed budget increase in state education spending, the actual figures revealed that 60% of Ohio school districts would receive no increase at all, or would be dealt a funding decrease. When asked if he had actually reviewed any of the data on his school funding scheme, Kasich said, “No, I don’t look at those because it’s the philosophy that matters.” (2013)
He signed a budget bill restricting access to abortion in Ohio, and reducing funding for it. (2014)
He instructed the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources to devise a “marketing plan” to promote and sell fracking in our state parks and forests. (2014)
“He upset a lot of working people.” From Kasich’s own 2014 reelection campaign ad, a reference to his doomed SB 5.
“Taxes should have the least impact on the private economy.” (2015)
“Income taxes punish success.” (2015)
Kasich opposes Planned Parenthood and supports the work of Center for Medical Progress, the slimy hidden-video makers. (2015)
Although he has green-lighted every conceivable fracking endeavor, after almost 6 years in office Kasich still can’t manage to pass an increase in Ohio’s oil/gas severance tax. There’s money to be made, but the State of Ohio is not making any of it. (2015)