Republican presidential candidate, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, center, greets members of the media at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Aug. 6, 2015, before the first Republican presidential debate.
Photo by Andrew Harnik/AP

Kasich’s ‘moderation’ doesn’t reach the climate crisis

After last week’s debate for the Republican presidential candidates, there was increased chatter about Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s (R) “moderation.” He not only doesn’t hate gay people, the Republican governor is even on board with low-income families being able to receive medical care.
But on “Meet the Press” yesterday, we received a reminder that the bar for GOP “moderation” shouldn’t be lowered nearly this far. Consider this exchange between Kasich and host Chuck Todd:
TODD: You brought up the environment. [Pope Francis is] somebody who believes that climate change is manmade and that man needs to do something about it. Do you agree with him?
KASICH: Well, I think that man absolutely affects the environment. But as to whether – you know, what the impact is, the overall impact, I think that’s a legitimate debate. But what I do think is, you know, in my state of Ohio, you know, we preciously take care of Lake Erie. We’ve reduced emissions by 30 percent over the last ten years. We believe in alternative energy.
So of course we have to be sensitive to it, but we don’t to want destroy people’s jobs based on some theory that’s not proven.
That “theory that’s not proven,” of course, is the climate crisis recognized by just about every climate scientist on the planet.
In practical terms, Kasich’s approach is arguably the toughest to defend. For many Republican officials and candidates, the idea of addressing global warming is absurd because climate science, they believe, is the result of a conspiratorial hoax, intended to undermine capitalism, cooked up by Al Gore, Big Science, Communists, and quite possibly Bigfoot and the Illuminati. Such an approach is dangerously insane, but there’s at least some internal consistency to it – we should do nothing to tackle the problem because there is no problem to tackle.
Kasich’s perspective – maybe the problem exists, but let’s ignore it anyway – is arguably more offensive.
As for the Ohio’s governor’s purported centrism, the political world really ought to stop grading on a curve. Sure, on some issues, Kasich isn’t nearly as hysterical or reflexive as his national GOP rivals. It’s been a point of frustration at times for some of the governor’s in-state allies.
But as discussed a few weeks ago, Kasich really is quite far to the right on issues such as voting rights, reproductive rights, labor unions, renewable energy; and the fiscal debate.
Anyone who goes on national television and dismisses climate change as “some theory that’s not proven” does not deserve to be labeled a “moderate.”