January 18, 2015


Rating the Republicans (David Brooks, 1/15/15, NY Times)

 The Ohio governor is easily the most underestimated Republican this year. He just won a landslide victory in the swingiest of the swing states. He carried 86 of Ohio's 88 counties. He won Cuyahoga County, which includes Cleveland, and which President Obama won by 40 points in 2012.

Kasich is the Republican version of Jerry Brown: experienced but undisciplined in an honest, unvarnished way. If he shows he can raise money, and if voters want someone fresh but seasoned and managerial, he might be the guy.

The inaugural address he delivered on Monday was a straight-up values speech. But it wasn't about values the way Pat Robertson used to define them. It was traditional values expressed in inclusive, largely secular form. "I think the erosion of basic values that made our nation great is the most serious problem facing our state and our nation today," he said. "And I'm not talking about those volatile issues."

He built his speech around empathy, resilience, responsibility and other virtues: "You know why this happened? Too fixated on ourselves. It's all about me. And somehow we have lost the beautiful sound of our neighbors' voices. Moving beyond ourselves and trying to share in the experience of others helps us open our minds, allows us to grow as people. It helps us become less self-righteous. Did you ever find that in yourself? I do ... self-righteous."

Kasich has a long conservative record, but in his speech he celebrated government workers, like the woman who runs his job and family services department. He argued that economic growth is not an end unto itself, especially when it's not widely shared.

Kasich, a working-class kid, spoke as a small government conservative who sometimes uses government to advance Judeo-Christian values. His mantra is, "When you die and get to the meeting with St. Peter, he's probably not going to ask you much about what you did about keeping government small, but he is going to ask you what you did for the poor."

If Jeb hadn't run, he'd be formidable.  As is, a Jeb/Kasich ticket puts FL and OH out of play in the general, which is huge.

Posted by at January 18, 2015 10:44 AM

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