So it’s no secret that I dislike Ohio governor John Kasich intensely. From the moment he slipped into the Republican presidential primary at the last minute I considered him an establishment hack, and the fact that he was the last establishment hack left standing just meant he was the guy who hung in long enough to both cripple Ted Cruz’s chances of overtaking the Trump train AND to give legitimacy to the nascent NeverTrump crowd. Much as I love The Don and am excited as hell for his presidency, Ted was my guy and I have high hopes he will be my guy again, thanks in part to Donald Trump’s presidency paving the way for him.
What’s most disappointing about John Kasich is I remember back when he was a young upstart Congressman back in the 90s, a solid budget hawk and crusader for conservative values, one of our real rising stars. I don’t know what happened to him in the intervening years other than the obvious, that Washington and then Columbus (Ohio’s capital) got to him and the establishment GOP brought him into the fold, trying to make him a nonthreatening middle-of-the-roader who could bust out the “conservative” bona fides when they were called for (like in GOP primaries) but at heart was a weak go-along-to-get-along moderate in the mold of Mitt Romney, John McCain, Jeb Bush, and George H. W. Bush.
Which is why it’s truly tragic that right now, John Kasich stands in the position of being one of the most potentially powerful people in American politics. Why? It’s not because of any credit he has among Republicans, but both deranged NeverTrumpers AND delusional Democrats have been singing his praises to the rafters, pronouncing him the “sane” alternative to Donald Trump, quite literally begging (and even threatening) GOP electors to pick him instead. Right now, John Kasich is what John McCain was during George W. Bush’s presidency only moreso. He’s already got the praise and accolades not by being a thorn in the GOP president’s side like McCain was, but simply by not being Donald Trump. Wearing that badge of inherent sensibility and preferability, particularly in the light of even Democrat electors attempting to vote for him over Hillary, John Kasich has, for a brief moment, a veneer of invulnerability cast upon him by the praise of the left.
It’s uncertain how long this cloak of indestructibility will last but what is pretty certain is that John Kasich won’t do a blasted thing with it. He’s no longer the firebrand he was in his Contract With America days as part of Newt Gingrich’s Republican revolution, and that’s sad. Kasich could have powered through some truly heroic measures riding on the wave of all this adoration but instead I’m sure he won’t stick his head out to do anything more than gripe at Donald Trump and veto bills that promote the values he claims to stand for.
Prove me wrong, governor. I dare you. You get to play Superman for a very short time, don’t blow it because you only want to be Clark Kent.