Jason Hart

Strike 3 – Energy: Kasich has fought for a tax hike on fracking for two years, pitching a plan to soak Big Oil (and Appalachian Ohio landowners) and redistribute the revenue as a statewide tax cut.

Want to argue that Kasich got a piece of that pitch, since he was swinging for income tax reduction? Well, Kasich also threatened to veto a permanent freeze on Strickland-era “green” energy mandates, demanding a 2-year freeze instead.

The electricity mandates were supported by Republicans in 2008, and the approach to repealing them is illustrative of how Ohio’s political process works under Kasich.

1. Ohio Senator Kris Jordan introduces repeal of “green” energy mandates;

2. Ohio Senate leadership torpedoes repeal bill, fiddles with freeze for months and months;

3. Kasich says he won’t sign freeze unless it’s dramatically watered down.

Good policy gutted in three easy steps!

Now, if you’re like me you don’t want to even think about 2016 yet. Unfortunately, the chatter has begun in earnest, and Kasich’s time as a Fox News host means that national commentators whose opinions carry weight are giving Kasich more credit than he deserves.

Kasich has grown government, has lied about it, and has attacked advocates of limited government while doing so. He’s basically a less-orange Charlie Crist who wants to change his party instead of his party affiliation.

Philosophy and politics overlap in ways that can make policy successes – and failures – tough to measure. That makes it all the more important to hold elected officials accountable on issues where it’s obvious what course they should take.

An important part of that is laughing at GOP flacks who treat criticism of big-government Republicans as a shameful lack of devotion on the critic’s part.

Assuming our fiscal canoe hasn’t gone over the waterfall by 2016, why would conservatives rally behind a Republican who has paddled toward the edge and spit in the eye of anyone telling him not to?

Jason Hart

Jason Hart (Twitter: @jasonahart) works for a conservative nonprofit. Jason's writing has appeared at RedState, Washington Examiner, FreedomWorks, Breitbart, and elsewhere.