Kasich: I'm going to a same-sex wedding soon

Welcome to the latest media litmus test for Republican candidates, which like the 2012 litmus test — contraception — has absolutely nothing to do with the job for which they’re vying. Thanks to our crack legions of national reporters, we now know how Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and now John Kasich will RSVP when the gilt-edged invitation shows up in the mail. Meanwhile, we still don’t know whether Hillary Clinton would sign the deal with Iran or why she refused to bolster security around the Benghazi consulate.

To borrow a phrase from, like, two years ago, dude — what difference does it make?

He’s not a flamethrower. He doesn’t criticize his fellow Republicans or even the GOP’s favorite punching bag, President Barack Obama. His positions aren’t designed to rile up the GOP base.

When asked if he would attend a same-sex wedding — Kasich is opposed to gay and lesbian nuptials — he said his friend just invited him to one and he and his wife are planning to go.

“I went home and I said to my wife, ‘my friend’s getting married. What do you think? You wanna go?’ She goes, ‘Oh, I’m absolutely going.’ I called him today and said, ‘Hey, just let me know what time it is,'” Kasich said. “My friend knows how I feel about the issue, but I’m not here to have a war with him. I care about my friend, and so it’s pretty simple for me.”

 On Twitter, I noted a few reactions from fellow conservatives that declared Kasich to have disqualified himself for their vote on this basis alone. It’s not clear whether Kasich would have ever held much hope for those votes anyway, but it seems an odd basis on which to choose the next presidential nominee. How exactly does this relate to the duties of that office, not just as a significant portion but as a supreme disqualifier?

Don’t get me wrong; I am a defender of traditional marriage (which is one reason why I argued government should get out of the marriage business altogether, starting in 2008). It’s possible to be that and to attend a ceremony for a friend, as Kasich plans to do, although it’s also very understandable when people just choose to wish them the best without attending, too. What’s not understandable is how this particular question got to be a national test for Republican candidates, and why conservatives are playing along with it.

Let’s stick to the real issues that face the nation — out-of-control spending, declining defense (especially in naval power), a foreign policy that has wrecked the Middle East and amplified direct threats to our security, and an economy that’s barely limping along and that has turned millions of working-age Americans into a class of the chronically unemployed. This is just another media squirrel designed to distract from the failures of the Obama administration and the incompetence and corruption of the Clintons. It will only work as long as we allow it.