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Kasich the moderate?

Quote:The Ohio governor has taken the role of the moderate, sensible adult in the primaries. He has maintained an avuncular tone and refused to ape Trump’s insult comedy routine (as the hapless Rubio did). He also broke from party orthodoxy as governor by accepting the Medicaid expansion offered by the Affordable Care Act. But there’s absolutely nothing moderate about his policy agenda. He favors a massive upper-class tax cut that would slash the top marginal rate by more than ten points and completely eliminate the taxes on investment and inherited income. In addition to reducing federal revenues to redistribute wealth upward, he’s calling for $100 billion in additional defense spending. Even if these policies were mostly funded by debt, they would still require major cuts to federal spending for important programs for the poor and middle class. But he also favors a balanced budget amendment, which means the necessary cuts would be absolutely savage

And before you give him too much credit for accepting the Medicaid expansion, like every major Republican candidate he favors repealing the Affordable Care Act and gestures at replacing it with a bunch of empty platitudes (“patient-centered care, choices, market competition, decentralized decision-making, higher quality, respect for individuals, and an end to Obamacare’s big government interference”). In practical terms, this mean repealing a program that has provided health insurance to 20 million people and replacing it with less than nothing. Kasich might be moderate in tone, but there’s nothing moderate about him in substance.
David Brooks and the Depths of the GOP’s Delusions | New Republic
Maybe not so moderate, and not very helpful either, at least for Rubio. His aide suggests voting for Kasich in Ohio. The favor wasn't returned, quite the contrary..

Quote:"If you are a Republican primary voter in Ohio and you want to defeat Donald Trump, your best chance in Ohio is John Kasich," Conant said. He added, naturally, that the best chance to stop Trump in Florida would be by voting for Rubio.

This has of course been obvious to anyone looking at recent Ohio polls, but it's still quite odd for one presidential candidate to advocate voting for another. Many quickly wondered whether Kasich would reciprocate, and conservative commentator Erick Erickson speculatively proclaimed that he thought a "deal" had been struck among the non-Trump candidates. Indeed, Rubio seemed to be following a plan laid out by Mitt Romney last week, in which he urged Republicans to vote for whomever could best beat Trump in each state.

But just minutes later, Kasich made very clear that he isn't on board, when his spokesperson blasted Rubio with this brutal takedown:

Quote:Kasich spox Rob Nichols on Rubio news: "We were going to win in OH without his help, just as he's going to lose in FL w/o ours
He's not entirely out of it either:

Quote:The South, a region where he's been particularly weak, is practically done voting. And many big Northeastern, Midwestern, and West Coast states — states where a mainstream alternative to Trump and Cruz could catch on — haven't yet voted. So Kasich is still hoping he could be that mainstream alternative, pick up lots of delegates, and become a serious player at a contested convention.
Rubio tried to give Kasich an olive branch. Then Kasich's campaign lit it on fire. - Vox

A scenario could develop where Trump doesn't get a majority and Kasich is put forward as the reasonable alternative, but that rest on at least two conditions:
  • Trump not getting a majority
  • Kasich getting enough delegates to still be a player.
Both seem a bit of a stretch, at this moment, and so does the idea of a brokered convention.
Some bites from a good article on Salon:

Quote:All the things that “moderate” GOP leaders like about Kasich and hate about Trump–the fact that they can rely on Kasich to incrementally, successfully push forward a right-wing agenda without rocking the boat or sparking a backlash–are exactly the things that make Kasich and his ilk a more insidious long-term threat than Trump.

John Kasich is good at making speeches. He’s good at looking and sounding “moderate”. His lines about his fellow Republicans’ “War on the Poor” from 2013 and his Bible-based defense of Obamacare in 2015 were inspiring enough that Democrats in red states should have all been taking notes.

The first thing to point out is that Kasich being a “moderate” at all is a rebranding and a sign of shifting political alignments. John Kasich defeated Ted Strickland in the governor’s race in 2010 as the Tea Party candidate. It’s easy to forget now that the Tea Party turned its back on him after his recent facelift as a bleeding-heart pro-Obamacare moderate, but in 2010 he was the firebreathing right-winger and Strickland was the soft, gooey centrist whose loss was widely blamed on pandering to everyone and standing for nothing.

Kasich ran as an anti-union firebrand in 2010, part of a wave of such candidates in the Year of the Tea Party. His colleague Scott Walker in Wisconsin has kept that reputation, whereas Kasich has been trying to cozy up to unions after his trademark anti-collective-bargaining measure was overturned by voters in 2011–in other words, he changed his rhetoric after his actions were forcibly blocked and he had no choice.

It’s telling that in that same hazy, misty ancient era of 2015 “moderate” John Kasich went after the collective bargaining rights of that well-heeled, affluent, high-status “special interest group,” in-home health-care aides and child-care workers. It’s telling that outside of “feminist” and “women’s issues” spaces it’s been hard to find anyone talking about Kasich’s wholesale assault on reproductive rights in Ohio. It’s quite telling that Kasich has managed to get seen as a moderate on this issue because he spoke out against the anti-Planned Parenthood federal government shutdown (despite quietly signing a bill to do the exact same thing on the state level) and because he’s kept his face out of pro-life rallies.

But try selling Kasich’s “moderate” record to a pregnant woman in rural Ohio who would need to drive for two hours to find an abortion clinic–with her counselor legally barred from talking to her about how to do so–but only five minutes to buy a gun and ammunition. Or tell that to one of the teachers “complaining” in the teacher’s lounge because of his cuts to public schools in favor of an online charter school push that turned out to be a giant scam–a scandal that his underling David Hansen has been tarred and feathered for in the Ohio press but that somehow hasn’t stuck to Kasich nationally at all.
Stop mooning over John Kasich: He’s not more “reasonable” than Trump, he’s just better at camouflaging his agenda -
A transcript of John Kasich’s interview with The Washington Post editorial board:

... CATHERINE RAMPELL, COLUMNIST: On the balanced budget question, you have positioned yourself as the sole candidate of fiscal responsibility based on your record in Ohio and previously in Congress, but arguably of all of the candidates still standing you have released the least details about budgeting, about taxes. You’re the only candidate that the Tax Foundation, Tax Policy Center, Committee for a Responsible [Federal] Budget have said they can’t score your tax plan because it’s too thin on details.

KASICH:  Yes. Well,... look, I mean, we’re working through it. I’ve cut taxes in Ohio. It’s not confusing. I’m going to have a 28, 25 and 10 percent rate. We’re going to have an increase in the earned income tax credit.

RAMPELL:  Yes, but that doesn’t lead to surpluses. That doesn’t lead to – ...

KASICH: Well, you get the surpluses three ways:  ...Common sense regulations so you’re not crushing small business. ...

Two, lower taxes. ...

And the third thing is a fiscal plan. Now, I will tell you how we’ll run the fiscal plan. And I can lay out all – you’re going to send welfare and Medicaid and, you know, this job training and all that back to the states. ...

So it’s not that hard to budget. Entitlements?  I’ve already talked about Social Security. You’re going to have to means test it and say if you’ve had, you know, significant income over your lifetime; and we’re trying to put the details to what that number is, you’ll get Social Security. You’ll get less and people that depend on it will get what they need.

RAMPELL:  So to clarify, you’re saying you would balance through spending cuts?

KASICH:  No, no, no. You get it through economic growth. That’s the way you get it. Economic growth. Our tax plan, all that projects 3.9 percent economic growth. It’s not some flimsy put-together – you know... I don’t put together smoke and mirrors ... it’s one of the reasons why I got in trouble with conservatives – I have never operated from a – one of these dynamic models. Okay?  But there’s a legitimate amount of dynamic activity. And I just don’t get beyond what I think is a legitimate pale.

MARCUS:  Well, but you have a tax cut that – as far as I can see though it’s been unscoreable for the reasons that Catherine says – that most closely approximates Jeb Bush’s. Jeb Bush’s tax cut was scored on a non-dynamic basis by the Tax Policy Center as costing about $6.8 trillion. ...

KASICH: Well, look, I would tell you that look at the plan and see how they project it. I believe that we have not overused dynamic scoring...– I think that what we’ve done is a set of reasonable assumptions. Now, who’s working on it?  People like Kerry Knott, worked for [former congressman] Dick Armey. I mean, we got a lot of people looking at it. ...

MARCUS:  So, but your path to balance, which doesn’t include Social Security ... rests on sustained economic growth rate approaching four percent, which ... has not really been seen in ... recent American history. So –

KASICH:  You know why?  Because they over-regulate, over-tax and blow up the budget. ... Tax cuts matter because I believe they provide economic growth. I don’t think you should make numbers up. ...

This part was amusing too:

TOM TOLES, EDITORIAL CARTOONIST:  Do you support a market tax on carbon..., doesn’t it get to the problem in a significant way?


STROMBERG:  So the economists are wrong on this, then?

KASICH:  Well, which economists?

STROMBERG:  Essentially all of them.

KASICH:  Well no, I can get you an economist out of Ohio University, and he wouldn’t agree with these economists. ...

A bit later:

KASICH:  ...Somebody comes to me and says, you know, some bunch of economists or scientists that say, “Look, this is a problem” — of course I’d listen to them. ...

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