Q) What makes you a moderate in today's Republican party?
A) Not wanting to shut down the federal government over the debt ceiling and other petty grievances.
The GOP has become so extreme in its ideology that we have to reclassify what a moderate Republican means. It appears that if you are unwilling to shut down the federal government over defunding Planned Parenthood or some other peccadillo, then you are a compassionate/moderate Republican, no matter how extreme your views are.
Here is Gov. John Kasich on whether he believes we should defund Planned Parenthood.
WALLACE: All right. Well, let's talk some issues. Some congressional Republicans say they're willing to shut down the government when the budget runs out at the end of the month if that's what it takes to defund Planned Parenthood. Do you support that?
KASICH: Well, first of all, I think Planned Parenthood ought to be defunded, no question about it. We're doing everything we can in Ohio to figure out how to get that done.
There you have it. Gov. Kasich joins the extreme right wing anti-abortion zealots, who are demanding that the federal government be shut down if they don't get their way and defund Planned Parenthood, based on highly edited and controversial undercover videos. The difference between Kasich and some of the others that are running for the GOP presidential nomination is that he was in government when Newt Gingrich led a shutdown of the federal government and it destroyed the high profiled Speaker of the House, so he understands the pitfalls to that strategy.
Kasich: Secondly, though, you know, if you're going to shut the government down, you're never going to get anything signed by the president because he's in total opposition. So you'd shut the government down, and then over time you'd have to open it back up again and you wouldn't have achieved much.
So, I think there are other ways for Congress to try to deal with this, and they need to be more creative in regard to Planned Parenthood. But when you shut the government down, people don't like it. And you shouldn't shut it down unless you have a great chance of success.
I was involved in the shutdown in the ‘90s but, as a result of that, we got a federally balanced budget because we kind of knew that there were a number of people in the Clinton administration that believed it needed to be done. But you've got to be very careful when it comes to shutting down the federal government.
See, by not trying to shut down the government over assigning issues, he's able to portray himself as a different kind of conservative. One that has a heart. But all Kasich and the beltway media have been doing is slyly crafting his persona as a compassionate conservative against the backdrop of the takeover of the party by the xenophobic Trump campaign. But if you look at his record towards women's reproductive rights, you'll see something quite different.
Consider that, since Kasich took office in 2011, he has signed into law 16 antiabortion measures. These include a ban on abortions after 20 weeks; a mandatory ultrasound for women having abortions in clinics that receive state funding; and a provision in the state’s budget bill that prevents rape crisis counselors from providing women with information about abortion services. Onerous regulations on abortion providers have led half the abortion clinics in the state to shut down. All of this would seem to reflect Kasich’s “Christian moral imperative” too.
While Kasich says that he supports abortion exceptions in cases involving rape, incest, or where the life of the mother is in danger, in reality, he has likely placed as many restrictions on abortion rights as any other Republican running for president.
He's been around long enough to know how to con the beltway media elites and as long as he doesn't sound like a troglodyte, he's the moderate one on issues. And let's not forget his attacks on unionization that failed miserably.
And though Scott Walker has become the poster child for the GOP’s assault on labor rights, Kasich also pushed legislation stripping public sector unions in Ohio of their collective bargaining rights — only to have the move up-ended by a ballot initiative in which 60 percent of Ohio voters went against their governor.
But as Michael A. Cohen rightly states, Kasich is an extremist:
When it comes to allowing women to have control of their bodies; to not be forced to endure unnecessary medical procedures and burdensome restrictions in order to exercise their constitutional right to abortion; and to make personal moral decisions about their reproductive rights, Kasich is, no matter what his apologists might say, very much a political extremist.
Gov. Kasich also believes climate change is an unproven theory.
"Ohio Gov. John Kasich suggested that man-made climate change may not be real and that action to fight it could kill jobs during an interview on NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday.
'We don't want to destroy people's jobs based on some theory that's not proven,' Kasich said when asked by host Chuck Todd if he believes that climate change is man made and that man should do something about it.
And let's not forget that he's been lying about his non-support for the Iraq war.
As much as the beltway media refuses to be honest when it comes to describing the Republican party these days, at least they can paint an accurate picture of John Kasich's positions and stop letting him call all the shots.