Hey, remember that time that Ohio Governor John Kasich (aka Judo-Chop John) was like the 10th favorite candidate of Republican Party primary voters in 2016 but stayed in the race until the end – even managing to finish fourth in a three man race? Remember how all that earned him the nickname from National Review, “The Thing That Wouldn’t Leave?”
Now it seems Kasich is quickly approaching the end of his political road as he is prevented by term limits from running again in the Buckeye State. Some suggest that Kasich may try to primary Donald Trump in 2020, and given that he is not short of self-confidence, that could very well be the case. But in all likelihood, Kasich is about done, and so some political observers have taken to evaluating the legacy he is leaving behind.
A quick survey of what they’ve found seems to reveal that despite the unpredictable and undisciplined populism (not conservatism) of President Trump, Republicans sure dodged a bullet with Kasich.
Since adding hundreds of thousands of young, able-bodied citizens to Ohio’s Medicaid rolls, in compliance with Barack Obama’s disastrously conceived and implemented expansion of the program, Ohio’s opioid crisis has worsened. No one shares the blame with Kasich for this as he implemented the expansion unilaterally.
And that’s not the only area where Kasich was an obedient servant to Barack Obama’s Washington directives. He also defended labor union abuses of the rights of workers, who wanted the right not to be compelled into paying mandatory fees. Further:
With Republican supermajorities running Ohio’s legislature for the past seven years, Kasich has focused more on growing government than on reforming it. For multiple budget cycles, Kasich fought for huge tax hikes on e-cigarettes and on energy companies that use fracking in Appalachian Ohio. He proposed a sharp increase in the state’s gross-receipts tax on businesses, opposed legislative efforts to roll back “green energy” mandates, and expanded Medicaid without General Assembly approval after spending the better part of a year trying to bend the legislature to his will.
At the same time, Kasich has argued against right-to-work; failed to implement meaningful changes to project labor agreements and prevailing-wage laws, which drive up public construction costs; opted not to make simplifying one of the nation’s worst municipal tax systems a priority; and enacted only minor tweaks to the state’s defined-benefit public pensions, which could leave taxpayers on the hook for billions in unfunded liabilities.
Kasich also boasts the legacy of having vetoed the pro-life Heartbeat bill and opposing all Congressional efforts to repeal Obamacare. No doubt that Kasich would spin all this as evidence of his ability to “work across the aisle” and bring people together. And the media would undoubtedly agree. But there’s obviously a more accurate way to describe Kasich: an enemy of conservatism.