John Kasich

John Kasich Offers Hope on Criminal Justice, Police Reform

Does it matter?


Now is John Kasich's moment. The Ohio governor finished second in the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary, a finish he had banked on getting to propel him into upcoming primaries in South Carolina, Nevada, and beyond.

Kasich, and his opponents, know he's fairly well poised to pivot to the center in a general election, and have come to calling him an "Obama Republican" because of his support for the Obamacare Medicaid expansion in Ohio and for Common Core's federal education standards. Kasich insisted he supports local control of schools and that Ronald Reagan supported expanding Medicaid too. He boasts of cutting taxes by billions in Ohio and of balancing more budgets than anyone else.

Several debates ago, Kasich got a question about improving police-community relations, giving him a chance to talk about the kinds of police reforms he's produced in Ohio, like mandating body cameras and imposing restrictions on use of force policies.

When Kasich tried to tackle the collective bargaining privileges public unions have, he didn't exempt police unions, unlike Gov. Scott Walker in his efforts in Wisconsin. Kasich ultimately failed, but understanding that all public unions produce rules that protect bad actors, not just the ones you're politically at odds with. Activists associated with Black Lives Matter included police union contract reforms as one of ten policies to reduce police violence, and launched a website to collect and analyze police union contracts around the country.

Democrats won't talk about the role of police unions in creating the conditions for police violence, because while police unions may not be active supporters, other public unions are. And they work the same way—teachers unions, for example, create the conditions for substandard learning, and often work actively to prevent reform. Some Democrats talk about the link between education and crime, but not about the public unions' role in those links. Bernie Sanders claimed police departments as an example of socialist institutions.

Kasich signed sentencing reforms into law in 2011, just months into his first term as governor. "This kind of reform legislation sat idle for 25 years, maybe. Nobody wanted to touch it," Kasich said. "If you're going to put your own future ahead of other people's lives and their ability to reclaim their lives then you're making a big mistake." Ted Cruz, a first term senator, supported legislation for sentencing reforms but after gaining momentum in the presidential race, has walked back that support, worrying disingenuously that it would put "dangerous felons" on the street.

Kasich's support for criminal justice and police reforms haven't been used to paint him as an "Obama Republican" yet. The National Review's David French pointed out that Kasich is a (relative) darling of the left despite being something of a "theocrat" because the governor uses it to support more government, like expanding Medicaid. He once told a state legislator when he gets to heaven what he did to help the poor would be more important than what he did to keep government small. Support for things like criminal justice and police reforms are tantalizingly close to the realization that keeping government small and helping the poor is largely the same thing. And there are other such flashes too.

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  1. “Fist me, Daddy. I’m so squishy; give me the cummies.”

    — John Kasich (1952-)

    1. It sounds better if he’s wearing a bear suit.

      1. Hey! That was uncalled for.

  2. No, it does not matter.

  3. Yeah, but he did axe Libertarian Charlie Earl’s bid for the governorship by getting Jon Husted to find a technicality which helped in the challenging of Earl’s qualification signatures.

    Also tried to entrench the D/R duopoly by signing Senate Bill 193, which revoked ballot access for any party other than that of the Republicans or Democrats. He’s currently getting sued by the Ohio LP for those shenanigans.

    So, mixed bag for Libertarians.

    1. “So, mix bag [of shit] for Libertarians.”


      But I suppose that’s nothing new.


      1. They’re all shitbags, C&W. Every last poopy one of them.

      2. Some of the turds have undigested peanuts in them, some don’t.

        Sometimes you feel like a nut…

        1. (retching)


          (back to retching)

  4. I liked him better when he was doing the American Top 40 countdown.

  5. Didn’t Kasich try to get the movie Fargo banned from Blockbuster Video stores based on his personal distaste for what has become on these boards the nearly deified Woodchipper Scene?

    That’s all I need to know in regards to his character and willingness to use force upon others, fuck him.

      1. Thought so. Strom Thurmond and Monty Python’s Life of Brian: Part Deux, Electric Boogaloo. Again, fuck him.

      2. It doesn’t seem like he made any “use of force upon others” in this regard, but this quote is somewhat telling:

        Usually, I speak out against the status quo on behalf of the little guy, but sometimes I get a little crazy and go off about something like this Fargo business, with no real expectation but to let off some steam. I can’t imagine it’s all that much fun to be on the receiving end of one of my tirades, but I’m here to tell you it isn’t much fun to be making the delivery either.

        Now, it’s possible* the man has not thought very deeply about this, but to say that he did to “let off some steam” pretty much implies that it was for his own gratification, and yet “it wasn’t much fun” contradicts that and comes off weaselly as well.

        * = Actually, it’s fairly obvious that he hasn’t

        1. He may not have attempted to pressure the Ohio legislature to ban the movie but he sure as hell abused the power of his office in an attempt to intimidate/censor something that offended his delicate sensibilities. Throw the full weight of the Executive branch behind him and there’s no telling what he’ll attempt to silence, free speech be damned.

          1. I’d have to read some more about, because the article in question makes it sound like he just called the Blockbuster corporate offices and ranted at them, which is hardly an abuse of power, although when he refers to his conversation with them as “a deal” it does hint that there may be more to it.

            1. Fair enough. Though I suspect when a state governor calls your corporate office to complain they give it a touch more consideration than the random hysterical rantings from your regular workaday pleb.

    1. This year’s Jon Huntsman. Which I suppose merits a “Who?” of its own.

  6. “Now is John Kasich’s moment. “

    I hear cranberry juice is good for that.

    1. And Cialis.

  7. “He once told a state legislator when he gets to heaven what he did to help the poor would be more important than what he did to keep government small.”

    Ah, the ever-present conflation of what he does to help the poor with his own money and what he does to help he poor with your money.

    1. Ah, the ever-present conflation of what he does to help the poor with his own money and what he does to help he poor with your money

      And that’s not even getting into the question of whether these policies actually do anything to help the poor anyway….

      1. They help those poor noble bureaucrats. Who were you thinking of?

    2. Why doesn’t anybody else make this distinction? “Teddy Kennedy helped so many people…” the hell he did! He took my money and gave it to somebody else and took credit for it. Pandering politicians can eat a bag of dicks while they get chipped. NOM NOM NOM motherfucker!

  8. If you could trust him to mean it, it would be reason to vote for him for President. Kasich is not very good on many other issues. If he were good on this one, however, he would be the best President in decades. At this point, as long as the candidate isn’t any worse than what we have now, I would settle for progress on one issue.

    1. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

      1. IF is a pretty big word. Given the past, I see no reason why you could trust him or anyone else to follow through on this stuff. I was just thinking hypothetically what life would be like on Rainbow Puppy Island.

        1. People see the Presidential election as a popularity contest and then infer that voters are stupid (while, of course, voting for mostly the same venal reasons themselves). I think the explanation is far simpler. The Presidential election (and many other elections, to be sure) is a popularity contest because you really don’t have much idea how people are going to act after elected. The debates and the policy questions are a sideshow. President X is going to do whatever the fuck after (s)he gets elected, so why get overly concerned about what (s)he says during the campaign?

          Of course, this doesn’t absolve the voters. They may not be “stupid” but they aren’t being vigilant or principled, either.

          1. That is right. You have no idea what they are going to do once in office. Even if they actually mean what they say, chances are their efforts to follow through are going to be overcome by events.

    2. If he were good on this one, however, he would be the best President in decades.

      Agreed. The current state of the so-called justice system in this country is truly reprehensible on a moral, economic, and practical level. If any candidate were to convince me that they would actually deliver real and meaningful reform on criminal justice (and not merely making a giant to-do about discretionary tinkering around the margins, as Obama does), I would happily vote for him, even if I thought the he were awful on most other things.

      1. Something has to be done. I have no idea how that can happen but it has to be done. I would be willing to vote for about anyone short of Bernie Sanders if I knew they would do something about the justice system.

    3. As bad as Obama in every other way, but good on procedural justice reform? I think we can get a better deal than that, esp. since the prez can’t do much about most of the badness therein.

  9. He once told a state legislator when he gets to heaven what he did to help the poor would be more important than what he did to keep government small.

    Hey, asshole, then how about donating to charity out of your own pocket rather than pointing a gun in somebody else’s face and telling them they have to? My guess is St. Peter isn’t going to give you a whole lot of credit for how generous you were with other people’s money. He’s probably just going to call you a hypocritical douche.

    1. There’s no evidence to suggest that God is a libertarian. Except maybe the unfortunate beard and the belief that He knows everything.

      1. God is totally a libertarian. He helped the victims of the Roman Empire, completely ignoring that without Rome there would have been no roads.

      2. And He intervenes so rarely in Earthly affairs.

      3. Except I don’t think that’s even a libertarian position regarding God. As I recall didn’t he say something or another about not coveting your neighbor’s goods? And the guy everyone tells me was his kid didn’t seem to have a whole lot of patience with the Pharisees.

      4. I am not sure God is a Libertarian. But he certainly has no love for or concern with government and no tolerance for those who see government as the way to salvation. Whatever he is, he sure as hell isn’t a Prog.

        1. But he certainly has no love for or concern with government and no tolerance for those who see government as the way to salvation.

          He used to, if the Old Testament is any guide. Of course, the whole existence of the New Testament shows that none of us are capable of meeting his standards in that regard.

          1. I think the difference between the Old and the New Testament is not a difference in God but a difference in Man. Man cannot and never will comprehend or fully understand God. So as man advances and his ability to comprehend the universe changes, his understanding of God changes. The people who lived and wrote the Old Testament were tribal. They did not have anything like the concept of the individual that later man had. So their understanding of God was necessarily tribal and their relationship to God the same. You can’t have an individual relationship with God if you don’t have a concept of individuality.

      5. Comment of the day.

      6. But Hugh, all the Christians here are H&R say all the time that other Christians are just wrong about statism. That must mean something.

        1. Yeah, what does it mean? As in what the hell are you talking about?

        2. …here are H&R….

          Perhaps before pointing out the grammar mote in your neighbor’s eye, you might want to remove the grammar log from your own.

        3. Nuance is hard. Culture war is easy. Conflating all Christians is a fun game for Christians and non-Christians alike.

          1. Every Christian is automatically associated with the worst and most backward example of Christians but any mention of Islam having a terrorism problem is THE RACIST.

        4. But Hugh, all the Christians atheists here are H&R say all the time that other Christians atheists are just wrong about statism. That must mean something.

  10. No. Fargo is hilarious.

  11. No governor needs that many pens.

    /Bernie Sanders

  12. I’ve found him the hardest candidate to form a serious opinion on. He seems like he’s deliberately catering to fiscal liberals in how he speaks and what he chooses to highlight, but his record is really not that atypical for a Republican (which from libertarian vantage point, is both good and bad). He seems like a non-douchebag who I wouldn’t hate to be at a negotiating table against, but also seems willing to trash talk small government if it makes him sound good to the media.

    I have a personal list of which Republicans would cause me to vote to actually stop Clinton in the general, and which ones would cause me to vote Libertarian instead. Two months ago I had placed everyone all the way down to George Pataki in one category or the other except Kasich. And it’s months later and I still haven’t figured him out.

    1. Given how the Congress has rolled over for Obama, at this point does it really matter how fiscally liberal a candidate is? The moment a President stands up and tries to keep Congress from spending, the media will go into full meltdown and help the Congress beat him into submission.

      1. But we don’t have an example of that occurring when the president & Congress are both elected from the same party. It may, but I wouldn’t expect the showdowns that’ve occurred when they weren’t.

  13. Kaisch has done nothing to stop violent extremist police in the state of Ohio. Police union contracts and the lobby of the FOP guarantee officers will not be held accountable and are still free to kill. Once again the corporate media got it totally wrong again.

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