New York Magazine just ran a 6,000-word piece on Ohio Governor John Kasich (R), a guy whose opposition to the GOP’s various ACA repeal attempts and to Donald Trump have created what Kasich seems to believe is a legitimate political opening between the two ideological poles in 2020.
Kasich, as the Columbus Dispatch notes, has not always been this fond of reporters. “For the past couple of years, Ohio Gov. John Kasich has given more attention to the national media than to Ohio reporters,” the Dispatch wrote. In the piece, New York reporter Lisa Miller zeroes in on the most interesting thing about John Kasich, who is, after all, just a notoriously moody anti-choice conservative with relatively pragmatic takes on a few key issues (the environment, Obamacare, immigration):
That he’s able to market himself as a moderate signals just how immoderate the right has become. And that he’s able to market himself as a bomb-throwing outsider signals just how fully the party has thus far lined up behind its bomb-thrower-in-chief.
Here is a good summary of what John Kasich has done in Ohio (though he has managed to maintain a solid approval rating):
He cut the budget deficit by $8 billion (a figure disputed by some) and raised the surplus to $2 billion. He says he’s created 400,000 jobs. Still, under Kasich, Ohioans — like so many in the industrial Midwest — are suffering. Ohio has one of the highest drug-related-death rates in the country; overdose deaths rose by a third to 4,000 last year. Job growth is lagging behind the national average, and wages are, too. College is costly, immigration and diversity are low, and infant mortality is 24 percent higher than the national rate. Certain of his innovations, taken from the conservative playbook, have had dubious effects. Kasich is a strong proponent of charter schools (and for-profit prisons), but he presides over a public-education system that dropped in Education Week’s national rankings from fifth place in 2010 to 22nd in 2016. In 2011, Kasich endorsed the gutting of government unions (though it later failed a ballot referendum), and last year he signed a bill into law that bans all abortions after 20 weeks — and then boasted that he didn’t sign the law that banned abortion after an audible fetal heartbeat.
In fact, Kasich has spent years dramatically reducing abortion access in Ohio. “He is—if not the worst—among the worst of anti-choice governors in this country’s history,” Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, told Mother Jones in 2015. And yet, according to this piece, he doesn’t really love to chat about this notable achievement, at least not to New York:
“Everybody ought to just take a chill pill,” he said later about abortion, adding that his wife is pro-choice and “we don’t sit around arguing about this.”
How nice for John Kasich and his wife, that they don’t waste time arguing about whether or not women in Ohio should be subjected to forced birth. Not that Kasich doesn’t like to sit around and argue in general. He brow-beat a staffer on the record for not taking Miller to see a Holocaust memorial he’d installed, for example.
He wanted to know why I hadn’t seen it.
“We didn’t have any downtime,” said Lynch.
Kasich became hectoring. “Why couldn’t you say, ‘I want to take you for five minutes and show you this’? Why wouldn’t you take her out there so she could see the thing that says, ‘If you save one life, you’ve saved the world?’ You did not do that.”
It went on like that. Lynch tried again to protest, stammered, and then finally relented. “I should have taken her, sir. Yes.”
Now that, certainly, is memorable. Read the full profile here.