Election 2016

John Kasich Offers Only Decent Answer on Police Reform, Criminal Justice

Only one other answer, from Chris Christie.


Fox Business

Despite Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul's absence from last night's Republican presidential debate stage, the topic of police reform did manage to come up a few times. The answers, however, weren't just disappointing from an ideological perspective, they were disappointing for lack of substance as well. Fox Business' Neil Cavuto asked New Jersey's Gov. Chris Christie what he would do as president for police chiefs who say that they feel "abandoned" by Washington and their officers are afraid of being "thrown in jail" for doing their job, and that that was leading to a spike in violent crimes in dozens of cities.

Christie's answer mentioned that he was a friend of the FBI director James Comey, because why not, and quoted him about "a chill wind blowing through law enforcement in this country." That was a reference to the so-called "Ferguson effect"—Comey claims police are worried about being videotaped and about additional scrutiny of police practices, and that that was causing a spike in crime. President Obama responded to those comments, urging people to "stick to the facts." But Christie didn't talk about the "Ferguson effect," he just threw an extra quote for Cavuto's question.

In the only close to substantive and relevant-to-the-topic part of the answer, Chrstie claimed the problem was that Obama and his attorney general "give the benefit of the doubt to the criminal, not to the police officers." Yet the Department of Justice (DOJ) declines to pursue police officers all the time, and police are rarely charged for on-duty shootings (41 officers in the 7 year period ending in 2014). When the DOJ reviews police departments as a whole, and there was been a commendable uptick in such reviews during the Obama administration, DOJ officials are always careful to insist criticisms of police department practices and "organizational deficiencies" that lead officers to use deadly force unconstitutionally aren't criticisms of individual cops.

Christie offered no defense of broken windows policing or other policies "law and order" conservatives often argue lead to lower crime rates, and offered no ideas for criminal justice reform of his own. Instead he moved on to sanctuary cities and marijuana legalization, saying he would order his DOJ to enforce the laws on illegal immigration and marijuana prohibition irrespective of what local and state jurisdictions have on their books.

This was presumably the part of the answer about what he'd do as president about the spike in violent crime. But sanctuary cities were first created in part to help police and reduce crime, by making illegal immigrants less afraid of coming forward as witnesses to crimes. And marijuana legalization is intended in part to shift policing resources away from non-violent, consensual behavior and toward violent crimes and to rob criminal organizations of a profitable source of revenue.

John Kasich, who is governor of Ohio, where a number of high-profile controversial police shootings have happened over the last several years, fared better, with the only other answer on criminal justice of the night. That was because he had some kind of record to run on. As he mentioned, Kasich set up a community-police advisory panel on reform that came up with nearly two dozen recommendations that have been identified as good practices, such as limiting the use of deadly force to only when there is an imminent threat to life and requiring body cameras.

Kasich was also able to make a broader point about criminal justice reform missed by most of the other candidates running for president (on both sides). "One of the issues has got to be the integration of both community and police," he said. That meant not only understanding that police want to be safe but that "law enforcement understands there are people in the community who not only think that the system doesn't work for them, but works against them." It's "about getting people to listen to one another's problems," Kasich said, a different kind of tip to bipartisanship than the "agreeing with us is political unity" brand dished out by the president Tuesday night.

Kasich's call could've also applied to a previous comment Donald Trump made at the tail-end of an exchange about  his support of a temporary ban on the entry of Muslim immigrants into the United States. "And by the way, the police are the most mistreated people in this country. I will tell you that," Trump added.

The only other comment about the issue of police reform came at the very end of the debate, when Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in his closing statement (which started as a plug for 13 hours) said he promised when he was president, things like Hillary Clinton apologizing for saying "all lives matter" would end and that he'd have the back of that soldiers, sailors, police officers, and first responders.

The undercard debate did not feature the topic of criminal justice or police reform at all.

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  1. Abolish immunity and public sector unions. Problem solved.

  2. “And by the way, the police are the most mistreated people in this country. I will tell you that,” Trump added.

    Does anyone, including his own brain, review what Trump says before it escapes his orifice?

    1. “Mistreated” just means “not being treated in the manner one deserves”. Where is Trump wrong?

      1. You have a point. Cops are certainly not treated the way they ought to be.

        1. Do you lean toward steam-treated or chemically-treated?

          1. Well I like the old-school charm of steam, but I gotta go with chemical treatment.

    2. The hair was going to review his statements, but the hat vetoed that. That hat kind of wears the pants, if you know what I mean. Though I don’t know how a hat can wear pants.

      1. Have you seen Trump’s hair? It can do all kinds of things, YUGE things.

        1. Apparently not without the hat’s say-so. Don’t you even read NutraSweet’s dispatches from the campaign?

          1. They all think it’s just some fiction that I am creating.

            1. I find their lack of faith disturbing.

          2. Not in any state other than blackout drunk. I learned that lesson many years ago.

            1. Try reading them on a disassociative, like PCP or Ketamine. Completely different experience. If you can remember it.

              1. Not remembering it is sort of the point, Epi. Much like with your mom. [shudder]

    3. To be fair, Republicans tend to eat the shit up.

      1. *that* shit

    4. Does anyone, including his own brain, review what Trump says before it escapes his orifice?

      Yes. This was a huge applause line.

      1. But, I mean, it’s wrong. He would have to put a lot of effort into saying something more wrong than that.

        1. it’s wrong.

          If political candidates were constrained by the truth they’d probably just stay home instead of campaign.

          He would have to put a lot of effort into saying something more wrong than that.

          How about the entire section where the candidates were fretting about our military spending not being high enough?

          1. Well he probably didn’t have to put too much effort into that, because he just said what the other guys said, but louder and dumber.

            1. Louder and dumber was the secret theme of last night’s debate.

        2. Evil people get to construct reality too, you know.

      2. I knew you were a populist! Busted!

  3. What dies the President have to do with community policing?

    1. A lot of people confuse “President” with “King”.

  4. “And by the way, the police are the most mistreated people in this country. I will tell you that,” Trump added.

    You kill a few innocent people, and this is the thanks we get.

    1. Come on, who HASN’T messed up and shot a kid? Come on!

  5. looks like

    A baked potato

  6. If anyone has not looked at the 401ks… don’t.

    1. If you’re not selling, you’re not losing.

    2. Meh. Who cares about a little drop every now and then? I got decades left until retirement.

      1. Except I’ve been seeing way more dropping and not much rising.

        1. It’s not dropping, it’s acknowledging reality.

    3. That’s why I bailed several months ago.

  7. Wait, Kasich and Christie were there and Paul wasn’t?

  8. OT:
    Grizzly Adams is dead.

    1. Why the hell was everyone so sweaty in the 70s?

      1. That’s not sweat, that’s overlighting to properly expose the film. You will see that kind of “sheen” or “shine” in tons of 70’s movies, as the film needed a lot of exposure and so there was a lot of lighting, even outside (film exposure was improved over time which is why this “look” went away). Which, because it is hot, can also actually cause sweating by the actors, but they did what they could to minimize that.

        1. Yeah, I thought it was something like that. It just amuses me to think of that era as sweaty and gross.

  9. Christie’s line about giving criminals the benefit of the doubt over cops ought to tell you all you need to know about Christie – and most anybody connected with the criminal justice system. “Criminals”, by definition, are the end result of of a process designed to remove all doubt that they are indeed criminals. There is no benefit of the doubt to be given.

    I’m assuming Christie is taking exception to the idea that alleged criminals are given the benefit of the doubt; if so, he’s arguing with a core principle of our judicial system that goes back centuries into English history. It’s the same core principle that underlies our whole system of government, that the power of the state must be bound with the heaviest of chains lest the beast escape and we be devoured. And here’s this idiot just dismissing all of that as a mere inconvenience to his exercise of power.

    1. As a former prosecutor, I’m sure the fat bastard considers everyone collared by the cops to be guilty. Some manage to hire good lawyers and evade punishment, but they’re all guilty. They wouldn’t have been arrested if they were innocent.

      1. “Some manage to hire good lawyers and evade punishment, but they’re all guilty.”

        Yeah, ‘technicalities’, like you don’t pay your fair share of taxes because of ‘loopholes’
        Technicalities, like the guy wasn’t where they claimed he was, those sorts of technicalities…

    2. Chris Christie is a statist piece of shit. He should never be given any power of any kind. The people of new jersey must be fucking stupid.

  10. off topic

    I was walking in the hallway at lunch time, and I was behind a pair of 50-ish women who clearly work in the factory. One of the women apparently watched all of the Republican debate and was saying lots of positive things about Trump.

    50-year-old woman, blue-collar, union factory worker in Iowa saying positive things about Trump. The world has tipped over sideways, and Hillary Clinton is fucked regardless of who is nominated by the Republicans.

    1. Definitely seeing the “uptick” in Hillary signs here, but Bernie support is still predominant. AFSCME is out in full-force and literally door-to-door in my neighborhood.

    2. moved to trump thread

    3. She’s still getting the nom, and possibly the presidency.

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  12. Why does John Kasich look like he’s having a conversation with two hand puppets?

  13. Chris Christie is power hungry, and has no respect for the rights of the individual. Liberty never rolls off his tongue, as that isn’t a concern, nor priority.

    He lies, and believes lies, like war and intervention keep us safe, while ignoring the blowback because he has never, nor ever would lace up a pair of boots and go to the wars he wants everyone else to fight.

    He even lied when he said he was appointed US Attorney before 9/11, and carried his lie further using 9/11 victims to promote more spying and rights violations. Because he hugged them, it’s ok for him to promote the warfare state, while ignoring all the evidence to why individuals should avoid doing what he say’s.

    He is all about control, even controlling what individuals put in their bodies.

  14. “Christie claimed the problem was that Obama and his attorney general ‘give the benefit of the doubt to the criminal, not to the police officers.'”

    Um, yeah, Governor, that’s otherwise known as “innocent until proven guilty”.

    I don’t want you anywhere NEAR the White House if it means you’ll give the Police Mafia more leeway than they already have.

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