Election 2016

Ohio Gov. John Kasich to Officially Join GOP Presidential Horde

Like so many other Republican candidates, John Kasich espouses socially conservative views and apocryphal support for limited government.

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John Kasich/Facebook

Continuining in the bizarre, nouveau tradition of announcing plans to announce a presidential candidacy, Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich has declared his intentions to formally declare his intentions on July 21. The 63-year-old former congressman will make it official from the student union of Ohio State University, his alma mater.

Though Kasich has way less name recognition than some of his conservative candidate counterparts, he's not short on experience, having spent 18 years in the U.S. House of Representatives and now presided over the state of Ohio for four and a half. Politico's Mike Allan described Kasich as "less scripted and guarded than the leading candidates," and a serious contender as the GOP's eventual vice presidential nominee for 2016 owing to his ties to a crucial swing state. 

An adviser said Kasich will be positioned "in Jeb's back right pocket"—with establishment appeal, but slightly more conservative.

But Kasich has also been casting himself as a "change agent" who isn't beholden to the GOP party line. Responding to criticism of his massive Medicaid expansion in Ohio, Kasich told Time: "Here's the thing you have to realize, the Republican Party is my vehicle, and not my master." 

In Reason's July issue, we analyzed the budgetary bluster and priorities coming from likely Republican and Democratic presidential candidates. For Kasich, we noted that the governor likes to boast about how he's put Ohio on the path to post-recession economic recovery, cut income taxes, killed the estate tax, and slashed the state deficit. 

Yet Kasich has also expanded Medicaid, raised sales and business taxes, and dramatically increased government spending during his tenure.

Kasich has been a big proponent of "tax shifting"—paying for an income tax cut, for instance, by raising taxes on cigarettes, oil and gas obtained through fracking, and business revenue—rather than cutting government spending. His proposed budget for the 2016–2017 fiscal year was 40.14 percent higher than the budget for 2011, according to Opportunity Ohio.

Of course, touting limited government while actually expanding it hardly sets Kasich apart from other GOP presidential hopefuls.

Kasich is also in lockstep on social and civil liberties issues, telling reporters he's "very disappointed" in the Supreme Court's recent gay marriage ruling ("I do believe … that marriage is between a man and a woman"), signing into law a slew of new abortion restrictions (he took particular heat for a provision saying rape crisis centers that receive state funding cannot mention abortion at all), and opposing marijuana legalization (if he were president, he would continue trying to "stomp these drugs out of our country"). 

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  1. You have to ask yourself, “Are you better off now than you were four years ago when you didn’t have a president from a state that contains a Cleveland?”

    1. Beats having a Baltimore in your state.

  2. Yet Kasich has also expanded Medicaid, raised sales and business taxes, and dramatically increased government spending during his tenure.

    BOOOOOSH! NO FAIR!

  3. Kasich wouldnt know limited government if it bit him in the ass. Or if it left him alone, which should be a goal oflimited government.

  4. Is that like being engaged to get engaged?

  5. In what world is John Kasich a social conservative. I mean except in the sense that anyone that doesn’t openly walk around with scissors screaming about a woman’s right to fit into her bathing suit is a social conservative to Bloody Nolan Brown.

    1. In the world where Kasich wants to ‘stomp drugs out of this country’ and restrict the right of rape centres to mention abortion ie this world.

      1. I rest my case. Trotskyite Cytotoxic and abortion on demand Nolan Brown think everyone is social conservative. Why on earth should rape centers mention abortion.
        They should be focused on treatment and directing the victim to the proper authorities.

        1. Abortion = treatment. In any event it’s not for the government to decide.

          “Trotskyite Cytotoxic”

          You’ve reached a new level of retard!

          1. Assuming the argument there, aren’t you?

            1. …what?

              1. You assumed the conclusion (begging the question) by implicitly assuming that “Abortion = treatment”.

          2. It is when they take the government’s gold.

  6. So who all is running now? Wait, lets make a shorter list: Republicans who aren’t running.

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  8. “Ohio Gov. John Kasich to Officially Join GOP Presidential Horde”

    Horde? Come now, the last NYC Mayoral contest had more candidates than the GOP currently has running for President. I’ll agree that it’s a tad more than usual. But it’s hardly the conservative Zombie apocalypse.

    Indeed, there were 10 Democratic candidates for NYC Mayor last year.

  9. Kasich is BORING.
    It’s the same old SoCon, WOD, talk limited government while increasing spending tried and true tripe as usual. This is why I dislike the Repubs as much as the Dems — they shy away from new ideas the way eligible single guys doubtless shy away from Mattress Girl.

  10. The reference to Kasich’s opinion on the gay marriage decision is a bit disingenuous. He did say he believes marriage is between a man and a woman but then said the ruling essentially the law of the land and that we shouldn’t be out looking for religious liberty boogiemen. He was actually quite reasonable compared to Cruz and Huckabee.

    That’s not saying much but his stance was far more relaxed than some. He’s still a big government statist that wouldn’t know liberty if it ran him over in the street so…

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