Skip to main content

Well, at least he's acknowledging it:

FILE - Int this Feb. 7, 2012, file photo, Ohio Gov. John Kasich delivers his State of the State address at Wells Academy/Steubenville High School in Steubenville, Ohio. The Republican National Committee has announced that Kasich will be one of the speakers at the 2012 GOP Convention in Tampa. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)
Offering a frank assessment of how his fellow Republicans approach the issue of poverty, Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) sounded a bit more like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) than a guy who stumped for Mitt Romney.

“I’m concerned about the fact there seems to be a war on the poor,” Kasich told the New York Times in a story published Tuesday. “That if you’re poor, somehow you’re shiftless and lazy.”

“You know what?” he added. “The very people who complain ought to ask their grandparents if they worked at the W.P.A.” - TPM, 10/29/13

One reason why the change in Kasich's tone is because he's discovering that being a GOP dick to poor people doesn't help your re-election chances:

Once a leader of the conservative firebrands in Congress under Newt Gingrich in the 1990s, Mr. Kasich has surprised and disarmed some former critics on the left with his championing of Ohio’s disadvantaged, which he frames as a matter of Christian compassion.

He embodies conventional Republican fiscal priorities — balancing the budget by cutting aid to local governments and education — but he defies many conservatives in believing government should ensure a strong social safety net. In his three years as governor, he has expanded programs for the mentally ill, fought the nursing home lobby to bring down Medicaid costs and backed Cleveland’s Democratic mayor, Frank Jackson, in raising local taxes to improve schools.

To some Ohio analysts, those moves are a reaction to the humiliating defeat Mr. Kasich suffered in 2011 when voters in a statewide referendum overturned a law stripping public employees of bargaining rights. Before the vote, Mr. Kasich’s approval in this quintessential swing state plunged.

Now, as the governor’s image has softened, his poll numbers have improved heading into a re-election race next year against the likely Democratic nominee, Ed FitzGerald, the executive of Cuyahoga County.

He still angers many on the left; he signed a budget in June that cut revenues to local governments and mandates that women seeking an abortion listen to the fetal heartbeat. Democrats see his centrist swing as mere calculation, a prelude to a tough re-election fight. - New York Times, 10/29/13

That might also explain why he decided to expand Medicaid in Ohio despite being against the Affordable Care Act.  Of course this decision has pissed off Republicans and conservatives:

Two anti-abortion groups and six Republican lawmakers in Ohio sued the state Tuesday over a move by a legislative board to fund an expansion of the Medicaid health program.

Gov. John Kasich's administration brought the funding request to the state's Controlling Board, bypassing the full Legislature.

The seven-member board, which handles certain adjustments to the state budget, cleared the way Monday for $2.56 billion in federal money to be spent on Medicaid health coverage for thousands of newly eligible residents beginning in January.

The federal-state health program for the poor and disabled already provides coverage to one of every five Ohioans.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday with the Ohio Supreme Court argues the Controlling Board thwarted the Legislature's intent by approving the spending. - The Republic, 10/22/13

While most Republican Governors would be afraid to do anything to piss of the base, Kasich doesn't seem that worried about what the teabaggers think:

GOP strategists say Kasich is not taking much of a political risk with his Medicaid advocacy. A private poll of Ohio earlier this year found an overwhelming majority in favor of it, though Republicans were divided. Some don't trust the federal government to keep up its end of the financial bargain and others are holding out for reforms in the Ohio program, some of which are expected to pass. "It's too early to tell what kind of erosion he'll have in his base, because some people are irritated," says Republican Neil Clark, a Columbus lobbyist who has known Kasich since 1980. He predicted that Republicans will ultimately put this factor into perspective as part of a "total package" that includes tax cuts, job creation, education funding, and stabilized tuition fees.

More than three dozen Republican lawmakers formally protested Kasich's decision to go to the Controlling Board, and the tea-party infused 1851 Center for Constitutional Law on Tuesday filed a legal challenge at the Ohio Supreme Court on behalf of several of them. Maurice Thompson, executive director of the group, said it is less concerned about the Medicaid expansion than the principle of limiting the authority of the Controlling Board. "Our litigation is strictly about the separation of powers and the checks and balances in Ohio," he said this week. The lawsuit asks the board to reverse its decision.

Twenty-five states and the District of Columbia have now chosen to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act to 138 percent of poverty level, which is less than $16,000 for an individual. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, only four of the expansions are happening without legislative approval: West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, and Vermont (which already had expanded coverage and didn't need to change its law). - National Journal, 10/23/13

While Kasich is now discovering that shifting to the center would help secure his re-election bid, Ed FitzGerald's (D. OH) not going to let voters be duped by Kasich's latest actions:

Gov. John Kasich can blame himself for failing to gain more widespread support in the Republican-controlled Ohio legislature for an expansion of Medicaid eligibility, the Democrat who hopes to unseat him next year said Oct. 16.

Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald told editors from Dix Newspapers that the governor's early opposition to President Barack Obama's signature health care law and his faith-related comments pushing for more government subsidized health care for the needy shaped GOP lawmakers' opposition.

"It is surprising to me that the governor sometimes has as little influence with the legislature that he does …," FitzGerald said. "I don't think it speaks well to his ability to deal with his own caucus. I don't think many people anticipated when he was running for office in 2010 that he was going to be that unsuccessful not just with Medicaid expansion but with a whole number of initiatives."

FitzGerald made the comments during an interview at the offices of The Times-Gazette in Ashland with more than a dozen editors from Dix daily and weekly newspapers. The hourlong session covered the candidate's positions on economic development, tax policy, Medicaid and other issues.

FitzGerald supports the Medicaid expansion and said the governor "has to do what he has to do" to move the issue, though he called the Controlling Board decision "unfortunate" and an illustration of the governor's ineffectiveness in working with lawmakers. - Hudson Hub-Times, 10/20/13

Not to mention FitzGerald has been hitting Kasich not just on his early resistance to expanding Medicaid but Kasich's whole record as Governor:

Fitzger­ald said that Kasich likes to brag about bal­anc­ing the state bud­get, but he has done it at great cost to local gov­ern­ment and schools.

“He has passed the bill down to every­one here,” Fitzger­ald added.

The recent cut in state income taxes depends on how much income you make. Those who have a $500,000 income have a $6–7,000 tax cut. Those who make $50,000 will have less than a $1,000 cut. Seniors and any­one with a $30,000 income will actu­ally expe­ri­ence an increased tax when the increase in sales tax is fig­ured in.

For seniors on a fixed income, Fitzger­ald made the point that there is a sec­ond increase since the Home­stead Exemp­tion was also changed. Now seniors who are not yet 65 will no longer get the Home­stead Exemp­tion on their prop­erty tax if they have an income of more than $30,000. Tak­ing away the Home­stead Exemp­tion along with the elim­i­na­tion of the 12.5 per­cent share of new prop­erty tax is a dou­ble hit for Ohio seniors.

Another point Fitzger­ald brought up was Kasich’s ques­tion­able record with Jobs Ohio. Fitzger­ald out­lined how Kasich took pub­lic money to put into pri­vate com­pa­nies. He then refused to give records to the state audi­tor (a Republican).

“That is what we in the FBI used to call a ‘clue’ that some­thing wrong is going on,” Fitzger­ald said as the audi­ence laughed. - The Morrow County Sentinel, 10/23/13

So while Kasich did the right thing when it comes to Medicaid expansion and speaking out against his own party, we can't let him dupe voters into thinking he's a reasonable Republican.  He may act like the teabaggers don't scare him but he'll be in for a rude awakening we the campaign really kicks off.  We'll see which Kasich emerges, Tea Party Kasich or Moderate Kasich.  In the mean time, if you want to get involved or donate to FitzGerald's campaign, you can do so here:

Originally posted to pdc on Tue Oct 29, 2013 at 02:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Central Ohio Kossacks, KasichWatch, The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party, and ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site