Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The last big clown

The 16th and last of the so-called “major” candidates has clambered aboard the overcrowded Republican Clown Bus. Despite his spin, this one’s really not much different from the other Republican clowns.

John Richard Kasich today announced that he, too, is a candidate for the Republican nomination for US President, raising the legitimate question, who ISN’T running? Kasich is 63, an age that puts him in the middle bunch of the Republican clowns candidates. On Inauguration Day, he’ll be 64 years, 253 days old. The oldest US President, Ronald Reagan, hallowed be his name, was 69 years, 349 days when he was sworn in.

Kasich is often called a “moderate”, but that’s only because he sometimes differs from his fellow Republican politicians. The reality is that Kasich is no moderate, and is actually quite conservative on most issues.

On LGBT issues, for example, like all the other Republican clowns candidates, he opposes marriage equality. He was also a big fan of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” which made open service by gay military personnel illegal. When I was a grassroots gay activist in the late 1980s and early 1990s, while Kasich was a US Representative from Ohio, I knew him as being a definite political adversary.

On the other hand, he’s more recently said he’d attend a same-gender wedding (something many of his rivals claimed they’d never do), and that he’d actually been invited to one he was planning on attending. He’s also couched his support for (some) welfare in Christian terms, while his fellow Republican politicians were touting their rightwing religious views AND cutting welfare support for poor people. His position is consistent with his claimed religious beliefs, which cannot be said about those fellow Republican politicians. See? I can say something positive about one of the Republican clowns candidates!

However, the seeming necessity for Republican politicians to promote their religious views at every opportunity—and that includes Kasich—ought to concern all Americans, of whatever religious bent. Article VI of the US Constitution is very clear: “No religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” Yet to win the Republican nomination, politicians have to fall all over themselves to “prove” that they’re not just conservative, but VERY conservative Christians. Some of them are more convincing at that than others are, and Kasich has been using religious rhetoric for a very long time, so it seems he’s probably sincere, like Scott “Koch” Walker. But this de facto religious test for the Republican nomination troubles not just secularists, but also everyone who believes in that impregnable wall of separation between church and state, many of whom are deeply religious, and some of whom are conservative.

John Kasich is not the worst of the Republican clowns candidates, not by a long shot. But that doesn’t mean he’s a good candidate, either—none of them are. The longest of the Republican long shots, George Pataki, is the least odious, but in a truly awful field of candidates who offer nothing to true moderates, that’s really not saying anything positive about him or Kasich, the runner-up for least odious.

As of today’s poll averages, Kasich won’t make the cut for inclusion in the Fox “News” public performance next month (the graphic I posted last week has the current poll averages displayed). In fact, today, Rick Santorum is rating higher than him—and also out of the “debate”. Now that’s he’s an official candidate, Kasich will probably rise in the polls (most new candidates do). If he manages to rise high enough to make it onto the Fox “News” stage, it will likely be at the expense of Rick Perry, or possibly Chris Christie. But since both are better known than Kasich, it’s also possible he may just be the highest-polling of the Republican clowns candidates who don’t get to take part in the Fox “News” event.

Unfortunately, when the first of the candidates start dropping out, and assuming that the egomaniacal clown with the weird hair continues to do well in the polls, we could see some more Republican clowns candidates enter the bus to try and save their party. It’s still a long campaign yet to go.

Here’s the Human Rights Campaign video on Kasich:

As of today, there’s still 1 year, 3 months, and 18 days until the US presidential election.

Further Reading:
“Newest GOP Presidential Candidate Isn’t Afraid To Say He Supports Common Core” from ThinkProgress
“John Kasich Halted A Program That Saved Consumers $230 Million” from ThinkProgress
“Who Is This John Kasich Guy Running For President And Where Does He Stand On LGBT Rights?” from The New Civil Rights Movement
“Transcript: Read Full Text of Gov. John Kasich’s Campaign Launch” from TIME Magazine
“That time John Kasich tried to get his local Blockbuster to pull Fargo from its shelves” from Vox

The graphic up top is from a meme posted to the Facebook Page of ThinkProgress. The points it raises are in their post, “The Truth About John Kasich”, which is also linked to earlier in this post.

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