John Kasich isn’t a moderate

With the Iowa caucuses over and done with, all eyes now turn to new Hampshire, which votes a week from today.

A number of candidates who did poorly in Iowa yesterday are expected to do well next week. In particular, that list includes Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and John Kasich, who has been quietly building up support in the state for months after having been the first candidate to begin running ads in the state. Despite coming in a statistical tie for last in Iowa among candidates who people still remember are running (sorry, Rick Santorum and Jim Gilmore), Kasich currently sits in third place in the Huffington Post’s polling average for New Hampshire.

Cowboy KasichKasich is perceived as being in a good position to do well in New Hampshire because he has placed himself squarely in the “moderate lane” of the Republican race. New Hampshire Republicans are cool and dispassionate and swing-y, you see. They aren’t like those hard-line Evangelicals and immigration hawks in Iowa; they want a candidate who is pragmatic and even-keeled and can Get Things Done™ in the White House. Kasich’s put all of his chips down on New Hampshire because he thinks he can make the case that that sounds like him.

After all, don’t you know that he expanded Medicaid under Obamacare? Because Jesus? Haven’t you heard him say in the debates that we need to elect a uniter? Someone who can make sure that we all get along? Isn’t that why the Boston Herald and the New York Times endorsed him?

But here’s the thing: Aside from the Medicaid expansion and his folksy demeanor, there really isn’t much separating John Kasich from the rest of the Republican field. Which is to say, setting aside one ideological heresy, John Kasich is no moderate. Having lived in Ohio while he was governor, I know him as a union-busting, voting rights-denying, reproductive rights-restricting fracking enthusiast. The suggestion that he’s anything else is one of my biggest political pet peeves.


Starting today, running through the New Hampshire primary, AMERICAblog will be running a series of posts reviewing John Kasich’s rhetoric and record. Taking one issue at a time, we’re going to review what Ohio’s governor has said and done, showing that, yes, he really does fit right in with the hardliners in today’s Republican Party.

It’s going to look a bit like this post James Neimeister wrote last year, but fleshed out.

Stay tuned.

Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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6 Responses to “John Kasich isn’t a moderate”

  1. Cubsfan08 says:

    Kasich’s right about in line with Romney ideologically. He’s not nearly as moderate as the media portrays him, but he’s no Ted Cruz.

    Take his tax plan, for example: 28, 25, and 10. Compare that to some others who propose a 14% flat tax. His stance on global warming: that it’s real and we should develop renewables, just not at the expense of jobs. His stance on gay marriage: that it’s legal now and we should move on. He’s for a path to legalization. He hasn’t come out against common core.

    I don’t agree with him on all of the issues, but I do on most, which is why I’ll be voting for him if he’s still around by the time Illinois votes.

  2. dommyluc says:

    Kasich has always been a Teabagger fuck, even before there were Teabagger fucks.

  3. wcollar says:

    Another Ohioan here, Kasich is just a slightly smarter, slicker version of Scott Walker.

  4. Houndentenor says:

    That moderate label dooms Bush, Kasich and Cristie on Super Tuesday which is a month away. The only thing those campaigns have done is line the pockets of a lot of hack political consultants.

  5. Buford2k11 says:

    Yes…Kasisch has been hiding it quite well…and has been helped by all the noise elsewhere…

  6. percysowner says:

    Thank you. I live in Ohio and it makes me nuts that people think Kasich is moderate. I see him as dangerous, because the media is willing to spin him as moderate when he really isn’t.

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