Beltway pundits keep up clueless Kasich ’16 buzz

The Washington Post and other noted experts on the hearts of GOP primary voters continue building up Ohio Governor John Kasich as a viable 2016 presidential candidate. You’ll be shocked to learn their reasoning is myopic at best.

Since Democrat Ed FitzGerald’s long-shot campaign crashed last month, beltway bobbleheads have been chattering about the message Kasich’s likely landslide reelection victory will send.

“Look out for Governor John Kasich,” advised an August 29 WaPo blog post by Ed Rogers.

“If former Florida Governor Jeb Bush decides not to run for president, Kasich will have a lot of room to maneuver within the 2016 field,” Rogers wrote. Bush’s absence certainly would open up space in what’s likely to be a crowded Squish Niche.

But then Rogers flew to Fancyland, asserting that Kasich’s “performance as governor speaks for itself, and as a congressman in Washington he was an anti-corporate welfare budget hawk.”

Search the post for the words “Medicaid” or “Obamacare,” and you won’t find either — although Kasich spent most of 2013 hammering critics of Medicaid expansion before unilaterally expanding the program with Obamacare money.

The price tag for that expansion, 90% of whose enrollees will be working-age, able-bodied childless adults according to the left-leaning Urban Institute? Oh, around $60 billion in new federal and state spending through 2022.

“Kasich represented tea party values before the tea party was cool,” Rogers added.

And then he was elected governor, and he stopped representing them. Not that WaPo would know the difference.

On September 7, a blog entry at The Hill listed Kasich as one of four dark horses who “could make some noise” if he chooses to run in 2016.

The story identified pros and cons for each dark horse candidate… and didn’t mention the Obamacare Medicaid expansion.

When a poll came out showing Kasich 19 points ahead of FitzGerald in the governor’s race, WaPo and BloombergView both rushed out stories about what a great candidate Kasich could be in 2016.

How did WaPo’s Jen Rubin and Bloomberg’s Jonathan Bernstein shrug off Kasich’s relentless demonization of Obamacare critics as misinformed heathens, his lies about Medicaid expansion funding, and his end-run around the state legislature to expand the state’s biggest entitlement program?

Rubin conceded that Kasich’s “expansion of Medicaid did not sit well with many conservatives” before insisting “he illustrates the difference between a fiscal conservative and a libertarian.”

The following video illustrates what Kasich has done to his “fiscal conservative” credentials.

Rubin then continued, well, Rubin-ing.

“In contrast to the sort of tea party candidates who wiped out in the Senate primaries, Kasich doesn’t see government as the enemy. As a governor he’s been expected to improve government, not dismantle it. At a time when reform conservatives are getting attention, he may be in keeping with the current Zeitgeist in the GOP.”

“As far as I can tell, the only policy mark against Kasich (for the nomination) is that he accepted Medicaid expansion in Ohio,” Bernstein wrote.

“I’m skeptical that would be a knockout blow. If Republicans could nominate Mitt Romney in 2012, I find it hard to believe that a little minor unorthodoxy on Obamacare would be disqualifying.”

Emphasis added, because seriously.

“A little minor unorthodoxy on Obamacare” might be refusing to take a stand on Medicaid expansion, quietly letting the GOP-dominated Ohio General Assembly block it.

“Not-so-minor unorthodoxy on Obamacare” might be endorsing the expansion and then throwing up your hands at your GOP-dominated legislature’s refusal to play along.

What John Kasich did was railroad Obamacare Medicaid expansion critics as enemies of Ohio’s hospitals, Ohio’s poor, Ohio’s economy, and Jesus Christ.

That sounds insane, doesn’t it? It sounds like I’m exaggerating for effect — because if I weren’t, not even the dopiest beltway lefty would be treating John Kasich as a credible Republican presidential nominee.

And yet, here we are.

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