John Kasich’s Crime Against Inanity

 

KasichDerpA statesman is allowed the occasional crime against humanity, but he’s damned for his unforced errors.* Nixon was driven from office not for the questionable bombing of Cambodia, but third-rate burglary gone wrong at the Watergate. Clinton was impeached not for bombing aspirin factories, but for the Lewinsky mess.

John Kasich — who has enough support to be on stage for the main debate this evening — committed an unforced error on Sunday, and now we get to see how he handles himself.  In an interview, Chris Wallace asked about his “D” grade from the Cato Institute**, and Governor Kasich replied: “I don’t know who these folks are. Another Washington group.”

There are three possible ways to interpret Kasich claiming not to know what the Cato Institute is:

  • He’s telling the truth. If so, he’s an idiot, considering he’s the former chair of the House Budget Committee. It means that he’s been so ridiculously insulated that he ought not be president.
  • He’s lying. If so, he’s a fool. Not just for lying, but for telling such an unbelievable whopper — and when only political nerds are watching — that he ought not be president.
  • He misspoke. If so, he needs to say that very soon, or he ought not be president.

We’ll forgive our presidents for lies about spy planes over Russia, but not about the basic stuff.  John Kasich is running against Washington, which even Democratic governors Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter did.  The Cato Institute is the sort of Anti-Washington Washington Institution that ought to be a natural ally on some of Kasich’s pet issues, like getting the budget under control. It simply isn’t plausible that Kasich doesn’t know who they are. There’s no perfect way of picking a president, but a house budget chairman not knowing about the Cato Institute — which famously focuses on budgets — is sort of like a lawyer not knowing about the American Bar Association.

Kasich has made an unforced error. How and whether he corrects it will show whether he’s presidential timber — or whether we should look at him and shout “Timber!”

* This is a corollary to an observation Joseph Fouche, France’s chief of secret police under Napoleon, once made.  When Napoleon executed a harmless duke—against Fouche’s explicit advice—the emperor appalled all of civilized Europe. People once sympathetic to the French Revolution became convinced that Napoleon was a monster who threatened the ideal of free speech.  The frosty Fouche observed: “It was worse than a crime; it was an unforced error.”

** In the interest of disclosure, I have several friends who work and have worked for Cato. They are responsible for neither my opinions nor my errors.

There are 23 comments.

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  1. MBF Member
    MBF
    @MBF

    Of course he knows about the Cato Institute. But most Americans don’t, so it’s perfectly reasonable for him to play off this poor grading as being meaningless.

    • #1
  2. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Mike,

    The gaff doesn’t bother me. What bothers me about Kasich is his “I’m willing to reach across the aisle” meme. Is he kidding?! Hasn’t he noticed that for 6 years when anyone was reaching across the aisle to the robotic lap dogs of BHO, the krypto-marxist jihadist-sympathizer, they got this horrible rash on their hand and not much else.

    He should stay in Ohio and see if he can get the state to go Republican this time and no we aren’t going to put him on the ticket to do that. One Joe Biden is enough.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #2
  3. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    My bet is that he is trying to wing it, Trump style. It does not suit him.

    • #3
  4. Mike Hubbard Member
    Mike Hubbard
    @MikeHubbard

    MBF:Of course he knows about the Cato Institute. But most Americans don’t, so it’s perfectly reasonable for him to play off this poor grading as being meaningless.

    I agree that most Americans don’t know Cato, but most politically aware Americans know it.  That’s why it was such a glaring error.  All Kasich had to do was say, “I like much of what Cato has done, and I adopted some of their proposals when I was Budget Committee Chairman, but I think they’re making a mistake in grading me.  Here’s my record. . . “

    • #4
  5. Could be Anyone Member
    Could be Anyone
    @CouldBeAnyone

    Mike Hubbard:

    MBF:Of course he knows about the Cato Institute. But most Americans don’t, so it’s perfectly reasonable for him to play off this poor grading as being meaningless.

    I agree that most Americans don’t know Cato, but most politically aware Americans know it. That’s why it was such a glaring error. All Kasich had to do was say, “I like much of what Cato has done, and I adopted some of their proposals when I was Budget Committee Chairman, but I think they’re making a mistake in grading me. Here’s my record. . . ”

    I concur. Kasich oversaw one of the few times that the federal budget was actually in the positive since at least 70 years and that is quite an accomplishment given the acceptance of progressive thought in the nation. He should have done what you said and simply noted a few instances where he had agreed with them on policy and shown his application of it and from that inferred that somewhere in their grading they had made a mistake.

    Doing the stupid Ad-Hominem attacks (using the washington cartel and establishment attack lines) like Trump does on Twitter isn’t a smart strategy I would think for winning over the nation.

    • #5
  6. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    I think it was a clumsy attempt at pushback. Clearly he knows who they are. He has to. This is like an irritated actor who got a bad review–“You’re asking me about what some nobody said about me in The New York Times? Do they even print that anymore?”

    • #6
  7. liberal jim Inactive
    liberal jim
    @liberaljim

    The Governor has stated many times that he believes you can get through the pearly gates if you help the poor with other peoples money.  It will be interesting to see how much of his own money went for the same purpose.  This is just one more Republican phony!  Nothing new here.

    • #7
  8. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    “This Cato guy works for a fool like Clouseau, so why should I even care what he has to say? And what is this gop thing I keep reading about? I’m a Republican not a gop.”

    • #8
  9. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Vance Richards:“This Cato guy works for a fool like Clouseau, so why should I even care what he has to say? And what is this gop thing I keep reading about? I’m a Republican not a gop.”

    Vance,

    Yes, yes give them no quarter.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #9
  10. Klaatu Inactive
    Klaatu
    @Klaatu

    Mike Hubbard: There are three possible ways to interpret Kasich claiming not to know what the Cato Institute is.

    He’s telling the truth. Which would be remarkable for the former chair of the House Budget Committee. It means that he’s been so ridiculously insulated that he ought not be president.

    He’s lying. In which case, he’s a fool. Not just for lying, but for telling such an unbelievable whopper that he ought not be president.

    He misspoke. In which case, he needs to say that very soon—or he ought not be president.

    Or, he was simply showing his disregard for Cato and its grade by writing them off as just another Washington group.

    • #10
  11. Arizona Patriot Member
    Arizona Patriot
    @ArizonaPatriot

    This is very troubling.  I wouldn’t really buy the “misspoke” claim, even if Kasich made it.  He could legitimately say that he didn’t hear Wallace properly (as I get older, this becomes a more plausible excuse).

    I’d rank Cato as the leading libertarian think-tank in the country, so I would be very surprised if Kasich never heard of it.  (I think AEI is more well-known, but I’d categorize it as “conservatarian” rather than libertarian.)

    • #11
  12. Concretevol Thatcher
    Concretevol
    @Concretevol

    Of course he knows full well who the Cato Institute is.  He was trying to minimize their criticism by classifying them as just another insider DC group.  Another play for the most valuable demographic, the uninformed voter.

    • #12
  13. Illiniguy Member
    Illiniguy
    @Illiniguy

    The thing I’d like to hear him explain is why Ohio’s Medicaid budget is already $1 billion over budget just 18 months after he agreed to expand the rolls as part of the Obamacare rollout.

    • #13
  14. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    Concretevol:Of course he knows full well who the Cato Institute is. He was trying to minimize their criticism by classifying them as just another insider DC group. Another play for the most valuable demographic, the uninformed voter.

    Yeah, this is the only way to interpret it.

    You’re trying to talk to Don Corleone and Sonny keeps mouthing off and you say “I don’t know who this guy is but I need to know where I can get more of those cannolis.”  You, of course, know who Sonny is literally.

    It’s a turn of phrase that’s more polite than “Who the hell are they!?”

    I hate this sort of purposeful misanalysis.

    • #14
  15. Jim Kearney Contributor
    Jim Kearney
    @JimKearney

    Gary McVey:I think it was a clumsy attempt at pushback. Clearly he knows who they are. He has to. This is like an irritated actor who got a bad review–”You’re asking me about what some nobody said about me in The New York Times? Do they even print that anymore?”

    Yes, I wouldn’t even call this an error. Who in Cato follows the Ohio State Legislature? Are they actually in Ohio? I’ll bet the Governor does not know who at Cato compiled his grade, and a group in Washington — be it Cato or something more well known like Heritage — is still a “Washington” group, and therefore not in a position to judge the decisions on the ground in Ohio. At least that’s the message he got across.

    The grade that matters to Governor Kasich is the margin of his re-election, including a whole bunch of counties which traditionally go the Democrats. Ohio counties which usually go to the Democrats, get it, Mike?

    • #15
  16. Fred Cole Inactive
    Fred Cole
    @FredCole

    Jim Kearney:Yes, I wouldn’t even call this an error. Who in Cato follows the Ohio State Legislature? Are they actually in Ohio? I’ll bet the Governor does not know who at Cato compiled his grade, and a group in Washington — be it Cato or something more well known like Heritage — is still a “Washington” group, and therefore not in a position to judge the decisions on the ground in Ohio. At least that’s the message he got across.

    Cato ranks every governor.  They’re good like that.  What he was trying to do was dismiss their analysis because his grade was atrocious.

    The grade that matters to Governor Kasich is the margin of his re-election, including a whole bunch of counties which traditionally go the Democrats. Ohio counties which usually go to the Democrats, get it, Mike?

    Look, let’s not pretend Kasich is some grand political master, okay?  He won reelection by a large margin because his opponent got caught a couple of years earlier in a mall parking lot at 3AM with a woman who was not his wife.

    • #16
  17. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    Fred Cole: He won reelection by a large margin because his opponent got caught a couple of years earlier in a mall parking lot at 3AM with a woman who was not his wife.

    My goodness!  If that guy can’t beat Kasich with those credentials he must really be a scrub.

    • #17
  18. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    ice cream

    • #18
  19. BuckeyeSam Inactive
    BuckeyeSam
    @BuckeyeSam

    OJ’s friend? I thought Kato was The Green Hornet’s friend. Oh, Wallace asked about the Cato, not Kato, Institute.

    http://www.popgunchaos.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/the-green-hornet-kato.jpg

    • #19
  20. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    Playing Kato on the Sixties TV version of “The Green Hornet” gave Bruce Lee his first Hollywood role. Later he joked that he got the job because he was the only Asian actor they auditioned who could pronounce the name of the main character, Britt Reed.

    • #20
  21. BuckeyeSam Inactive
    BuckeyeSam
    @BuckeyeSam

    Illiniguy:The thing I’d like to hear him explain is why Ohio’s Medicaid budget is already $1 billion over budget just 18 months after he agreed to expand the rolls as part of the Obamacare rollout.

    The two things Kasich tells us rube Ohioans is, first, that God informs him that we should use government to accomplish private, charitable tasks and, second, that he’s merely bringing Ohio tax dollars back to Ohio.

    Now, I’m a Christian–probably not a great one, I realize–but I just see that instruction about government in either the Old or New Testament. Additionally, when the federal government is running deficits and then increases annual deficits to pay for the Medicaid expansion of states, how can Kasich arguing that he’s bringing Ohio tax dollars back to Ohio? Those tax dollars, and then some, were already committed to other things. Kasich is bringing BORROWED money back to Ohio.

    An Ohio watchdog named Jason Hart is all over Kasich’s nonsense.

    • #21
  22. Petty Boozswha Inactive
    Petty Boozswha
    @PettyBoozswha

    James Gawron:Mike,

    The gaff doesn’t bother me. What bothers me about Kasich is his “I’m willing to reach across the aisle” meme. Is he kidding?! Hasn’t he noticed that for 6 years when anyone was reaching across the aisle to the robotic lap dogs of BHO, the krypto-marxist jihadist-sympathizer, they got this horrible rash on their hand and not much else.

    He should stay in Ohio and see if he can get the state to go Republican this time and no we aren’t going to put him on the ticket to do that. One Joe Biden is enough.

    Regards,

    Jim

    I think he’s saying that because he’s a good politician and knows that’s what the people between the 40 yard lines desperately want to hear. If Hillary or Biden or Kerry try to run a fire up the base campaign we need a candidate that can appeal to the middle.

    • #22
  23. Illiniguy Member
    Illiniguy
    @Illiniguy

    BuckeyeSam:

    Illiniguy:The thing I’d like to hear him explain is why Ohio’s Medicaid budget is already $1 billion over budget just 18 months after he agreed to expand the rolls as part of the Obamacare rollout.

    The two things Kasich tells us rube Ohioans is, first, that God informs him that we should use government to accomplish private, charitable tasks and, second, that he’s merely bringing Ohio tax dollars back to Ohio.

    An Ohio watchdog named Jason Hart is all over Kasich’s nonsense.

    Jason Hart is on the podcast I linked to above.  In 2018, the Federal reimbursement for new Medicaid enrollees drops from 100% to 90%, meaning that at current levels, Ohio is going to be on the hook for $30 million per month in additional Medicaid costs. (Want to do an over/under on when that percentage goes below 90%?)

    I was pleased that Megyn Kelly asked the question, Kasich’s answer was utterly feckless.

    • #23
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