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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