UPDATE: As has been noted, the fundraiser item is from 1997, but that wasn’t made clear in the article originally. Apologies for the confusion.

Today is the big day, Kasich fans! The Ohio governor is ready to officially jump into the sweepstakes and make his case for why he deserves to be the GOP nominee next year. While I’ve already gone on record as to why he might be a bit late to the party and expressed my own misgivings about what he brings to the table that we don’t already have, it’s not as if he’s not a qualified contender. The simple fact that he might stand a slightly better chance of carrying Ohio earns him some points right out of the gate. (Though personally I don’t find the home field advantage argument all that compelling if you look at Al Gore and Tennessee.)

Still, nobody gets to play in the big game without some controversy immediately swirling around them and Kasich is no exception. His staff will probably be working on explaining this item in the first few days, because it seems that he was previously scheduled to do a fundraiser for one of his friends… who happens to be a Democrat. (From the San Francisco Gate)

Democratic Congressman Gary Condit of Modesto has canceled a fund-raiser featuring Republican colleague John Kasich, blaming “narrow- minded zealots” for their “mindless” opposition to the affair.

Kasich’s willingness to appear on behalf of a Democrat had touched off protests among Republicans, with some suggesting that he be stripped of his powerful post as chairman of the House Budget Committee.

Condit, a conservative Democrat and a close friend of Kasich, said he canceled the event after it became clear his colleague was being “vilified by narrow-minded zealots . . . (who) believe the sun rises and sets according to partisan affiliation.”

In a way you almost have to feel a little sorry for Kasich if he truly is a long time friend of Condit. (One of those rare “moderate Democrats” who isn’t off base on every issue.) There seems to be a national desire for less bickering and the discovery of magical, unicorn style politicians who can “work across the aisle” to “get things done.” But that’s not the reality of the political world and we all know it.

When you accept the mantle of presidential nominee and (hopefully) president, you become the titular head of the party by default. And part of that responsibility is leading the charge to win every seat possible in Congress and get your agenda through. There’s no longer any room to be helping your Democrat friends win a seat in the House. Kasich has known for a long time that he was going to be making this run and we have to wonder if he shouldn’t have known better.
(Edit – Granted, he probably didn’t know in 1997 that he was going to run for President. Fair enough. This was obviously bound to turn up eventually, though.)

There are a few other Kasich items to touch on briefly since he’s getting into the race today, some good and some not so great. Supposedly Kasich is in favor of eliminating the Renewable Fuel Standard, but he sounds a lot more like Jindal and a lot less like Cruz and Fiorina. He tries to walk that tightrope of saying we should drop the RFS “eventually.”

Kasich said that over time the Renewable Fuel Standard, which requires transportation fuel sold in the U.S. to contain a minimum volume of renewable fuels, should be eliminated. But he added, “Look, I am not going to shut it down and put a lot of people out of work in my state.”

He also pushed for a tax on fracking in his latest budget and wanted another dollar per pack sin tax on cigarettes. You don’t need to go much further than recent debates in our comments section to see that Kasich has a rather “colorful” history on amnesty and immigration reform. It seems to me that he’s going to have several targets on his back with conservatives before he ever makes it to the debate stage.

But hey… at this point, what’s the difference between twenty candidates or two dozen? Welcome to the party, pal.