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