Opinion: Democrats beware. There is a Republican Making Sense and he is a Threat
Democrats beware. There is a Republican making sense and he is a threat His name is…John Kasich. This Ohio Governor made his mark during the recent Republican debate and his poll numbers are showing it. OK, self-disclosure time. I would describe myself as a center right democrat. I believe in a women’s right to choose and I abhor abortion. I am a supporter of the ACA, fondly known as Obamacare but I feel there should be reforms in the law for bringing malpractice suits against healthcare professionals. The government should be able to exert some controls concerning the purchase and costs of drugs. There must be cost containment in healthcare. I believe in the right to bare arms but come on; does anyone need to have 20 AK-47s in their closet??? Now that 50 percent of you hate me and the other 50% can barely stand me, let me tell you why Governor Kasich is such a threat to the Democrats. It is because he appeals to me. He has staked a position that speaks of his approach to governance. COMPROMISE. He is neither a flame-thrower nor a marshmallow. He has a temper that he has actively learned to control in public but he shows some spirit and passion when he explains his positions. He has not run away from the fact that his state accepted and utilized Obamacare to provide the uninsured population in his state with the opportunity for healthcare. He has addressed the incarcerated, drug dependent felon by not further punishing them for their drug related crimes but by providing resources to address their drug dependence. He has actively worked to rehabilitate them. The recidivism rate in his state is among the lowest in the country. Something is working. John Kasich is Pro-Life but he states he respects that others have the right to their position for a women’s right to choose.
I think Kasich has gotten a free pass from the media’s scrutiny because he was not considered a top tiered candidate (watch out Governor, some fastballs are coming your way, high and tight, a little chin music). His Republican rivals have not targeted him because he was not seen as a threat. He deftly co-opted Trump’s positions and did not antagonize him. He did not create an early enemy (Trump will be after him soon enough). The Democrats have not put him on their radar because of the confusion caused by the Trump phenomenon, Bush’s political malfeasance and Carly Fiorina’s slow start. I think that Trump will last for a long time because he has his own money, is not afraid of saying what everyone is thinking and has enough time to hire the right consultants to sharpen his message until he develops some political chops of his own. What do they say? Fake it until you can make it! Trump’s brash tone and take no prisoners attitude has capture the imagination of a portion of the Republican base that will support him until they think he is not electable (I think that Trump’s endgame is to be a King or Queen maker to gain access, leverage and influence from whoever wins the White House). Politically, someone will have to challenge Trump, not back down and take him out. I think that George… uh, Jeb Bush will go on the attack because he has to do something to show those who want to support him that he has the fire in the belly to go the distance. The Democratic standard barer will show Republicans no quarter and Jeb must get prepared to show some toughness by going through Trump. Kasich will be waiting in the wings. I don’t think that Rubio is ready yet. He is polished, very smart and a good politician. I just don’t think he is a great politician, just yet. Some more seasoning is required here. His message is still muddled (although that may change as the primary season gets into gear and he naturally sharpens his attack). Rubio does not yet represent the wider Hispanic voter, so his natural advantage is not yet fully formed but his appeal could broaden to capture a vice-presidential pick. Rubio has money to spend and backers willing to front him some more.
Carly Fiorina is a compelling figure. She is incredibly smart and knows how to position an argument. She must break through during the next few debates to show her ability to appear as a commander-in-chief. I have not heard her discuss topics concerning military engagement and geopolitical concerns. How will she illustrate that she can lead the military as well as she lead in the boardroom. Mr. Trump as well as Jeb Bush will test her bona fides. How will she react and respond to the pressure. She too, is an option for vice-presidential consideration.
I do not know what to think of Dr. Ben Carson. His lack of political background would expose him to some ridicule if this weren’t the Republican brand of politics (inquisition?). He is a very quick study and his appeal to the Republican base and the Tea-party insurgents will provide him with the cover he will need to last until the first of the primaries are over. I predict that he will fade and be gone from this political stage in a relatively short time. The rest of the gang of 17 will not make the top six candidates sweat for very long but I promise you it will be very entertaining.
That brings me back to Kasich. I think he is the greatest threat to any Democrat opponent who will be standing at the end of silly season. He is the real deal. Bush has a ton of money, so he will be around to test Kasich, as will Trump. Both of them will fall to the wayside. In a general election, I think that Kasich will be the most nimble of the Republicans, ready to pivot to the center and challenge for the White House. He is already in the center and he will be formidable. He strikes me as reasonable (I am really concerned now). This represents his worst quality and greatest liability as far as the far right is concerned. His very tangible qualities allowing for electability may prevent him from getting out of the Republican primaries; his ability to reason and be reasonable with Democrats. But if the GOP truly wants to recapture the presidency, they must have as a candidate, someone who is acceptable to the Independent voter and someone who does not totally scare Democrats and their base. Blacks, Hispanics, the LGBT community, people who don’t want to lose their ACA healthcare could potentially support and vote for this man. Kasich fits the bill unless he reveals a hidden, ultra-conservative, crazy rightwing agenda. He can beat Hillary, Biden or Sanders. Imagine a Kasich-Rubio ticket. The sound you hear is the RNC leadership salivating. Hillary better get on the phone (no email please) to call Julian Castro, she’s going to need the help.
Democrats beware. There is a Republican making sense and he is a Threat!
Prediction: Kasich/Rubio vs. Clinton/Castro