John Kasich was our out, and we blew it.

“Experienced Insider”

In 2016, Kasich, then governor of Ohio, ran for President on an “experienced insider” platform. The primary season was riddled with outsiders, all to the screaming adoration of the electorate: Donald Trump! Bernie Sanders! Ted Cruz! Ben Carson! Rand Paul! Carly Fiorina!

Gee, we sure could’ve used a little more variety! (Sarcasm)

See, if we want to fix the system we need people who have been inside and know how said system works. But insiders weren’t popular back then.

Even Hillary Clinton tried to bill herself an outsider on the virtue of being a woman. (Even though she was in the White House for much of the 1990s, served in the Senate for 8 years, and as Secretary of State for 4 years. Her trying to pass as an “anti-establishment” candidate was beyond laughable)

Political Outsiders

Look, I get the appeal of having an outsider in the White House. Really, I do. What’s wrong with trying something different? With shaking things up?

Career politicians are all talk and no action! They’ll bring you nothing but dissatisfaction. So…hire someone who isn’t a politician!” – Every Political Outsider

The only problem with that is the position of a politician begets being a politician.

This is especially true in a country like the United States where power, both legislative and executive, is institutionally decentralized.

Having an outsider in the country’s highest-ranking position will only work if it’s an autocratic dictatorship without checks and balances.

Systemic Drudgery

To put it plainly, the American Presidency is a position designed for insiders. It’s a position that necessitates compromising with legislators (or sleazy empty suits beholden to special interests, if you prefer).

Let’s look at Trump’s term from 2017-2021. He had countless advisors and Secretaries quit on him. He openly feuded with the Democrats, even after they took the House of Representatives, and consistently mocked Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.

Donald Trump telling at an off-screen reporter in the Oval Office.
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Evan Vucci/AP/Shutterstock

Needless to say, alienating the other side won’t get them to reach a compromise with you.

It’s not just the nature of politics, it’s basic sociology: You get what you give.

The American President needs to be a reach-across-the-aisle guy if he wants to pass budgets and bills. That’s how the system works.

Who better to that than the Governor of Ohio, i.e. the most purple state in the Union?

Who better than John Kasich?

Johnny Insider

Being elected Governor of Ohio requires you to appeal to a broad spectrum of voters, both liberal and conservative.

For the last 20 years, Ohio has been a must-win state in every Presidential election. It was even the deciding swing state back in 2004, Bush vs. Kerry.

Not only has Kasich displayed a willingness to transcend party lines, like endorsing Joe Biden over Trump, but his record speaks for itself.

John Kasich's Governor Portrait

Who was the Chair of the House Budget Committee in the 1990s when they balanced the federal budget and erased the debt?

Kasich.

Not a God-Emperor, but a President…

There’s no chance he would’ve knocked +20 trillion dollars off the debt in eight years, let alone four. I’m not that naive. But you’re welcome to name someone with an actual record of balancing a federal budget (something that hasn’t been done in 20 years).

You have to raise taxes and cut spending in the right places, that’s how it’s done.

Even Speaker Paul Ryan, the so-called “deficit hawk” couldn’t put a dent in the debt during his two years at the helm.

You can’t win with all talk. You have to produce and show results. Like a certain dude I’m thinking of…who’s that again?

John Kasich's Governor Portrait
Portrait by ANGELO MERENDINO

Kasich.

John Kasich was our only logical choice in 2016, and we blew it.

Despite Kasich’s experience and know-how, we chose the guy that made a career looking poised and dominant in front of a camera.

We didn’t choose Kasich simply because he had zero camera sense and starpower.

Where’s the Star Power at?

And those hands! Man, those hands…

Who could forget his scythe-like hands swiping the air to illustrate a rhetorical point? I remember seeing a meme with Kasich inside the Fruit Ninja game where his hands are used to slice the falling fruit. Good lord, was that good stuff.

How about the diner debacle?

If you’re running for President, you need to be cognizant of all the cameras around you 24/7, waiting for the juicy moment you make a fool of yourself. Gotta love the paparazzi.

John Kasich inside a diner. He is eating large amounts of food, including sandwiches, meats, and others.
Photo: Jennifer Fermino

And scarfing down mouthfuls of burgers and pizza slices, in a crowded diner is as dumb as it gets, Governor.

The voters will associate you with that embarrassing image when they see your name in the booth.

Political Celebrity?

You may call it shallow and arbitrary, and that’s because it is. Public policy, that affects people’s lives, is being determined by superficial star power. Let that sink in.

If we’re going to elect a TV star to the Presidency, then perhaps we deserve whatever we get.

If we won’t elect a guy with a proven record and ability of leading, then perhaps we don’t deserve him.

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