03.02.2016 2

The problem with Kasich? Government is the solution, not people.

JohnKasichMedicaid

By Dustin Howard

Ronald Reagan had a gift, an uncommon talent for being able to connect with the American people; his was the vox populi, the voice of the people. Donald Trump, if election results are any indicator, has a similar gift, albeit in a different way. Gov. John Kasich (R-Ohio) on the other hand, seems to imitate the voice of the people by espousing more government; most can’t hear his imitations.

Is it any wonder why Kasich’s campaign is sputtering?

Kasich is the only remaining Republican candidate that consistently advocates for big government solutions. Kasich expanded Medicaid in Ohio against the will of his own duly elected legislature, and publically lauds Obamacare in the name of Christianity.

On other issues, Kasich has been tone-deaf to the primal scream of the electorate against more government intrusion into their lives. He supported Common Core and the Assault Weapons Ban of 1994, and is soft on illegal immigration.  He even supports the Trans-Pacific Partnership, as other Republicans and even Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders now speak against it.

Kasich’s timing couldn’t be worse, coming on the heels of eight years of Barack Obama. Does he really think angry primary voters will rally behind an establishment Republican wearing the mask of a Democrat?

He wears the mask well, playing up his father’s job as a mailman, and his grandfather’s job as a coal miner. Instead of emulating Ronald Reagan, John Kasich is attempting to be the Neal Kinnock of the Republican party, a British Labour MP who famously channeled working class sentiment throughout his career. Really, Kasich appears to be imitating Joe Biden, who famously plagiarized Kinnock in the 1988 Presidential campaign; a third hand imitation would be weak enough, and he’s not even doing it in the right party.

These and other positions make him much more popular in Washington, D.C. than in Ohio. He’s not even winning his home state, with Trump topping Kasich in the most recent Quinnipiac survey 31 to 26 percent. Altogether fitting then that while Trump campaigned 15 minutes away from the Governor’s residence in Columbus, Ohio on Tuesday, Kasich was in Arlington, Virginia, about the same distance from Washington, D.C.

Perhaps Kasich has forgotten that the people come before the government. He was worked almost exclusively in government, save for the time spent working for Lehman Brothers and Fox News. He was a state senator staffer straight out of college in 1975 before becoming a state senator himself in 1978 and then a member of Congress after being elected in 1982, serving all the way until 2001.

The day is coming when we might remember some of his better days in Congress — such as his work on balanced budgets in the 1990s — instead of his rehashed, Clintonian triangulation as a failed populist.

In an interview last month, Gov. Kasich was asked “Why do you think so many conservatives look at you as not one of them?” He defensively stuck to his message about budgets in Ohio, and boasted of how his positions could reassemble the Reagan coalition. The irony is lost on the Governor that President Reagan rejected so many expansive policies, and famously stated in his inaugural address that “Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” For all of his posturing, Kasich seems to have forgotten that.

Dustin Howard is a contributing editor at Americans for Limited Government.

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