Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) was one of the final Republicans to enter the race for the GOP presidential nomination, and thus far, the candidate running on his successes and years of experience has found party voters prioritizing oddities and inexperience.
If it sounds like a dynamic that might leave a two-term governor feeling a little frustrated, you might understand Kasich delivering an unscripted rant at an event in his home state yesterday. The transcript is worth quoting at length:
“Do you know how crazy this election is? Let me tell you something, I’ve about had it with these people.“And let me tell you why. We’ve got one candidate that says we ought to abolish Medicaid and Medicare. Have you ever heard of anything so crazy as that? Telling our people in this country who are seniors, or about to be seniors, that we`re going to abolish Medicaid and Medicare?“We’ve got one person saying we ought to have a 10% flat tax that will drive up the deficit in this country by trillions of dollars that my daughters will spend the rest of their lives having to pay off. You know what I say to them is why don’t we have no taxes, just get rid of them all, and then a chicken in every pot on top of it.“We’ve got one guy that says we ought to the take 10 million or 11 million people and pick them up – I don’t know if we’re going to go in their homes, their apartments? We’re going to pick them up and we’re going to take them to the border and scream at them to get out of our country? Well that’s just crazy. That is just crazy.“We’ve got people proposing health care reform that’s going to leave, I believe, millions of people without adequate health insurance. What have has happened to our party?”
It was a pretty righteous rant, delivered without a script, delivering the kind of message that we probably won’t hear from any of the other 14 Republican candidates.
What’s more, Kasich’s rant happens to be true.
Nearly all of the leading candidates want to gut Medicaid by embracing state-based block grants, and just as many support privatizing Medicare out of existence. Jeb Bush, for example, recently said he intends to “phase out” Medicare, while Marco Rubio supported a GOP budget plan that would replace the Medicare system with a voucher program.
The rest of Kasich’s diatribe is equally sound. Many of the Ohioan’s rivals want an unsustainable flat tax, mass deportations, and a health care system that leaves millions of Americans behind.
It was a compelling reaction to bizarre circumstances, though it’s likely that tirades like these help explain why Kasich isn’t catching on with his party’s radicalized base.