Now you’ve done it, Republicans. You’ve disappointed John Kasich.
In a Wednesday interview with The Washington Post, Kasich — continuing his sad presidential campaign’s efforts to equate Ted Cruz with Donald Trump — whined about being one of few Republicans who cares about ideas.
“See, I am a fundamental believer in ideas,” Kasich said. “If you don’t have ideas, you got nothing. And frankly, my Republican Party doesn’t like ideas. They want to be negative against things.”
Every word of this is trademark John Weaver, the sometime Democrat consultant running Kasich’s campaign. Within a few hours, lefty opinion columnists were using Kasich’s words against other Republicans.
Smearing conservatives as Trumpian cranks is hardly a fresh idea; ask the scolds at No Labels or Republican Main Street Partnership. But Weaver seems to think it’s enough to keep the retainer checks coming for a few more months.
“And if you look at Ohio, you know, we have so many ideas, new ideas, newfangled ideas in Ohio it’s unbelievable, and they’re paying off,” Kasich continued. Since he brought it up, let’s consider some of the ideas Kasich has put forth in his five years as governor of Ohio.
First things first: Kasich supports Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, a newfangled Democrat idea that has put 670,000 able-bodied, working-age Ohioans on welfare at a cost of $7.5 billion in new federal spending.
Kasich would make a great case study in why the national debt is $19 trillion — he ran for governor as a die-hard fiscal conservative in 2010, and today he’s running for president as a huggable Republican who won’t take away your free stuff.
States can save federal taxpayers billions by refusing to expand Medicaid. Kasich is governor of a state with Republican legislative supermajorities. But, jeez-oh-man, it wouldn’t be nice to be against Obamacare expansion just ’cause it’s awful policy.
Kasich vetoed a legislative ban on Obamacare expansion before expanding Medicaid unilaterally and threatening to bankrupt Ohio’s entire Medicaid program if Obamacare funding was not appropriated. He warned critics their opposition could result in eternal damnation.
Everywhere he goes, Kasich brags about how bravely he embraced Obamacare like the media, Chamber of Commerce, Obama administration, hospital lobby, and unions wanted him to; he’s now openly campaigning against its repeal.
Obamacare isn’t the only idea Ohio Republicans have disappointed Kasich by fighting against: he’s insistent that the state keep “green energy” mandates in place, he wants to tax e-cigarette shops out of business, and he’s been trying to hike fracking taxes since 2012.
Kasich plays dumb on Common Core — which Ohio signed on to under his Democrat predecessor — and claims to support local control of education, but he opposes a bill to let school districts choose standards other than Common Core.
Kasich says he’s for a radical simplification of the tax code and would reduce the federal income tax system to three brackets, but Ohio still has nine income tax brackets and one of the worst municipal tax regimes on Earth.
Finally, try this on for size: Kasich was endorsed by several labor unions in 2014 because he and his legislative allies have smothered any attempt at labor reform since losing a 2011 referendum on a massive public-sector union bill.
John Kasich, idea man, is the only Republican governor of a state with a Republican legislature and no right-to-work law stopping unions from taking forced dues from workers. Of the four states that have passed right-to-work since Kasich took office, three — Indiana, Michigan, and West Virginia — border Ohio.
A bill to protect Ohioans in the private sector from forced union dues is going nowhere because Kasich is against it, and public-sector right-to-work is a nonstarter for the same reason.
Lest you think Kasich is right to cower in fear of Big Labor, here’s the single section of state law that would have to change to free all public employees in Ohio from mandatory union fees.
How’s this for an idea? Strike the first three paragraphs of Ohio Revised Code 4117.09(C), and revise the final paragraph to read:
No public employer shall agree to a provision requiring that a public employee become a member of an employee organization or pay any form of fee, fine, or surcharge to an employee organization as a condition for securing or retaining employment.
This simple reform would save thousands of teachers and other government workers hundreds of dollars per year in forced union dues. It could be explained in layman’s terms in about 15 seconds, and could easily be improved upon to end forced union representation, too.
Not only has Gov. Kasich failed to champion worker freedom and other free-market policies, he actively works against them. Kasich’s problem with other Republicans isn’t their rejection of ideas, but their rejection of his ideas.