President Donald J. Trump's 2020 re-election campaign manager, Brad Parscale, pointed out a peculiar observation about Gov. John Kasich. For a man who identifies as a conservative, he does not seem to act like one. Last night, he was hamming it up with Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi at the White House Correspondents' dinner.
Is it really hard to figure out who @JohnKasich is really with? He is very chummy with @NancyPelosi. They want to control every part of your life. They want a political class that chooses the winners and losers. Our success should not come from politicians but our own effort. pic.twitter.com/hdYYjMfn33— Brad Parscale (@parscale) April 29, 2018
Some will probably argue that a picture taken together from what ultimately is a charity event is hardly a sign that Gov. Kasich is a leftist. There are plenty of smiling photos of Democrats with President Trump and other Republicans. But, Kasich's actions as governor of Ohio prove the man really does believe in bigger government and stands for many liberal positions.
For example , in a National Review article titled "John Kasich’s Legacy: Bigger government, major problems left unsolved, and no change in sight," Jason Hart notes that "with Republican supermajorities running Ohio’s legislature for the past seven years, Kasich has focused more on growing government than on reforming it."
Hart points out several fantastic examples of Gov. Kasich's big government agenda.
"At the same time, Kasich has argued against right-to-work; failed to implement meaningful changes to project labor agreements and prevailing-wage laws, which drive up public construction costs; opted not to make simplifying one of the nation’s worst municipal tax systems a priority; and enacted only minor tweaks to the state’s defined-benefit public pensions, which could leave taxpayers on the hook for billions in unfunded liabilities.
The latest Tax Foundation State Business Tax Climate Index ranks Ohio 45th of the 50 states, and Ohio’s unfunded public-pension liabilities per capita are the nation’s third-worst, according to a recent American Legislative Exchange Council study.
In 2012, the first year of Kasich’s first budget, state spending totaled $57.9 billion; last year, it totaled $68.3 billion. Ohio Medicaid spending has increased by 35 percent in the past four years alone thanks to Kasich’s expansion of the program.
Kasich’s spending increases were not necessitated by population growth; Ohio’s population has grown barely 1 percent since the 2010 census, a rate less than a fifth of the national average. More people moved out of the state than moved in between 2011 and 2016, and despite the efforts of Kasich’s secretive, publicly funded JobsOhio, the state’s private-sector job growth has trailed the national average every month since November 2012. Inflation doesn’t explain the growth, either, having totaled just 7 percent between 2012 and 2017."
Furthermore, Kasich's inability or unwillingness to go after forced labor unions has remained one of Ohio's biggest problems.
"Like Wisconsin governor Scott Walker — another Republican elected in the 2010 tea-party wave — Kasich rejected federal spending for a costly passenger-rail project and signed a sweeping reform of his state’s public-employee union laws. Kasich also infuriated labor unions by cutting funding to local governments to help balance the state budget and refusing to offset the expiration of the federal “stimulus” with new state spending.
But unlike Walker, Kasich backed down after unions spent $40 million to overturn the reform package that was meant to help Ohio school districts and municipalities control their spending. By 2014, Kasich’s acceptance of the status quo was so complete that construction unions Ohio Laborers’ District Council, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 18, and Indiana-Kentucky-Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters endorsed his reelection.
When Kasich took office, Ohio and all five of its neighbors allowed unions to take mandatory fees from workers as a condition of employment; today, four of Ohio’s neighbors are right-to-work states, but Ohio is not."
Perhaps some readers think that Kasich's neglect of conservative principles is a simply a reaction to President Trump or somebody like Ted Cruz. Maybe Kasich only seems liberal when compared to the extreme. But that is not the case. Even in the 1990s, when Republicans were fighting against First Hillary Rodham Clinton's disastrous healthcare reform, Kasich sought to grow the government and help the Democrats.
" Just months after her husband took office, First Lady Hillary Clinton attended an unusual backyard dinner in Northern Virginia on her quest to sell the healthcare reform plan known as Hillarycare.
The June 1993 gathering was at the home of then-House Budget Committee ranking member John Kasich, the same man who announced his campaign as a 2016 presidential candidate for a Republican Party still furious about a healthcare reform bill by President Obama that drew heavily on the work of Clinton from the early 1990s.
In 1993, the bipartisan outreach included the dinner with Clinton and nine fellow Republicans. Afterwards, Kasich declared Clinton had been “a big hit,” with the crowd.
A contemporaneous memo released last year by the Clinton Library provides more insight into the meeting, and Kasich’s role in the healthcare reform effort.
After the dinner, “Congressman Kaslch, has been quite complimentary about you, personally, and the Administration’s consultative and outreach process for health reform,” Clinton aide Chris Jennings wrote to Hillary Clinton in a memo.
Before a follow-up meeting two weeks after the dinner, Jennings pegged Kasich as a strong target for administration outreach. “Kasich, given his reputation as a smart and serious legislator, can be very helpful With mainstream Republicans,” Jennings wrote. “In addition, he seems to have gained the respect of the media so his supportive comments about you and the process can have a positive impact externally on public perception, as well.”
“Even if he ultimately opposes the plan,” Jennings concluded, “his positive feeling toward you and the process may mute his criticism and moderate the Republican opposition effort.”
In short, Parscale is right. As seen in Kasich's past legislative efforts in Congress and the Ohio governor's office, Kasich's vision for America is not one of limited government. Kasich believes in the power of big government. He works with Democrats not because he wants to find a compromise, but because he believes in many of their goals.