“I have a right to shape what conservative philosophy means,” Ohio Governor John Kasich said yesterday when asked how he plans to explain recent forays into big-government Republicanism to conservative voters.
At the January 30 Associated Press event, Northeast Ohio Media Group reporter Henry J. Gomez mentioned Kasich’s Medicaid expansion and proposed fracking tax hike as troubling to the governor’s base. Video is available online courtesy of The Ohio Channel.
Gomez asked, “Do you feel that you have a base problem, and when you’re campaigning for reelection this year, what are you going to tell conservative Republicans who bring up complaints about Medicaid expansion and about the severance tax?”
“I’ve been very pleased with the feedback that I’ve received,” Kasich said of his recent speeches to Republican Party audiences at Party events around the state.
“Henry, I know that you’re a political reporter, that’s your job,” Gov. Kasich continued. “Lemme see if I can explain this to you.”
“Haven’t you figured out now, after three years, that I don’t sit around doing political calculations about what I think I need to do?”
Kasich then outlined a “conservative philosophy” of endless welfare spending, insinuating that opponents of a billions-per-year entitlement expansion don’t care about the poor the way he does.
“Making sure that mentally ill are not livin’ under a bridge or being put in a jail cell… that’s what we need to do,” Kasich said, rehashing a talking point he first used to push the Obamacare Medicaid expansion last February.
Kasich also repeated his insistence that “drug-addicted” and “working poor” Ohioans need the Obamacare expansion, though he never used the word Medicaid and naturally avoided the word Obamacare.
Kasich made a fleeting reference to welfare reform and then — as he always does when asked about conservative critics — talked about his work in Congress, which ended a decade before he took office as governor.
“I am a conservative, I’m one of, ya know, some governors in, in this country, um, you know, I have a right to lead, too,” Gov. Kasich added. “I have a right to shape what conservative philosophy means.”
“Ya know, I have a right to move forward with programs that I think maybe in the short term may not be that popular, but in the long term may yield an awful lotta good,” Kasich continued. “Why not? Why would I not do that? Why would I not speak out?”
“Why would I not talk about the fact that I’m concerned about the drug-addicted, the mentally ill, or the poor? Why wouldn’t I do that? Cause somebody’s not gonna be happy about it?”
The Obamacare Medicaid expansion, which Kasich bypassed the legislature to enact after lying relentlessly about how it would be funded, is expected to cost Ohio taxpayers over $600 million annually by 2022.
The Buckeye Institute, Opportunity Ohio, Foundation for Government Accountability, Cato Institute, Heritage Foundation, and others have spelled out reasons to reject the Obamacare expansion. Kasich has ignored them all.
“I know who is happy about it, and that’s who I report to,” Kasich said, in an apparent reference to God. According to Gov. Kasich, God loves big government.
“We don’t dish out pork, we try to do our best on policy, even if it aggravates people in our own party, I mean, that’s what we do,” Kasich concluded.
“And that’s why the administration remains strong, because people realize that we’re, ya know, that we’re kinda doin’ the right things. Are we saints and angels and do we get it all right? Of course we don’t, we’re all livin’ in the Tower of Babel, we’re all flawed. But we’re doin’ the best we can, Henry.”
Although Kasich will not face a challenge in the Republican primary this May, Libertarian candidate Charlie Earl is expected to be on the general election ballot.