John Kasich: A reasonable Republican?

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John Kasich: A reasonable Republican?

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On Tuesday, Jan. 19, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin lent her support to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
“He is from the private sector, not a politician,” she quipped. “Can I get a Hallelujah?”
And, later in her speech, she asked the crowd, “Are you ready for a commander-in-chief who will let our warriors do their job and go kick ISIS’ ass?”
She also iterated that, with Trump as president, there will be “no more pussy-footing around – our troops deserve the best. You deserve the best.”
It was hard to watch – Palin’s attempts to excite the crowd and Trump’s smirking and giving a thumbs up beside her. But this has become reality for the Republican Party in the 2016 race: buffoons making outrageous – and often rather violent – claims. Like, we need to carpet-bomb ISIS. Or, we have to build a wall. Better yet, we must prohibit Muslims from entering the country. The field seems inundated by a pusillanimous menagerie of candidates – people too weak to make any actual policy suggestions, relying instead on fear-mongering and hateful speech to gather voters.
This is why a recent article by Nate Cohn of The New York Times is refreshing. John Kasich, a lesser-known Republican candidate – and a much more reasonable one – may be gaining support in New Hampshire, the site of one of the earliest primaries, Cohn says.
“A new poll from the American Research Group … shows John Kasich surging into a strong second place in the Republican race with 20 percent of the vote,” he writes.
Who is John Kasich? He’s the current governor of Ohio, a real politician – Hallelujah! – who actually has some experience and ideas for how to help people – assets that are crucial to being president. Kasich is known for his efforts to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, even after the Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that states could opt out of such expansion. In doing so, Kasich bucked the trend of other Republican governors, most of who adamantly oppose the health law and will do anything to not follow its provisions. Kasich’s actions made him a pariah among the Republican lawmakers in his state, but he went through with his decision anyway. And this makes him the most viable Republican candidate – though he unfortunately is being overshadowed by the Trumps and Cruzes of the world. He is willing to put aside partisan differences and make actual political contributions.
As a Wall Street Journal article about the Medicaid expansion details, “The episode speaks volumes about Mr. Kasich’s leadership style. He is a center-right Republican who is willing to defy conservative orthodoxy, use all levers of executive power and stick to his guns in the face of criticism—even from his own party. Mr. Kasich’s willingness to reject the party line has made some Democrats view him as a potentially strong general-election candidate.”
Indeed, Kasich does not kowtow to the current script of the Republican presidential candidates – to put down the last eight years as entirely unproductive, as detrimental to America’s greatness. Kasich expanded Medicaid because he thought that it was the right thing to do. His actions were not a betrayal of the Republican Party. They were the work of a politician who is seeking lasting solutions to societal problems.
As Kasich said in an interview posted by Ohio Capital:
“You know, because people are poor doesn’t mean they don’t work hard,” he says in the video. “Because people are poor … it sometimes means they couldn’t pull themselves up by their bootstraps at some point in time. The most important thing for this legislature to think about: Put yourself in somebody else’s shoes. Put yourself in the shoes of a mother and a father with an adult child who’s struggling. Walk in somebody else’s moccasins. Understand that poverty is real …
“I had a conversation with … one of the members of the legislature the other day. I said, ‘I respect the fact that you believe in small government. I do too. I also happen to know that you’re a person of faith. Now when you die and you get to the meeting with St. Peter, he’s probably not going to ask you much about what you did about keeping government small, but he’s going to ask you what you did for the poor. You better have a good answer.”
Yes, we’d all “better have a good answer” – especially in who we as a country choose to be our next president. Sorry, Sarah Palin, Donald Trump is not that answer.
In the New York Times article, Cohn admits that the results showing Kasich’s rise in New Hampshire could be flawed.
“The American Research Group has an unusually lengthy record of high-profile misfires, including for almost all of the 2008 Democratic primaries and in the 2012 general election,” he writes.
Let’s hope, though, that the results of the poll come true, that Kasich – the best Republican in the field – becomes a winner and trumps the competition.