You have to hand it to John Kasich, the governor of Ohio, who failed in his attempt to secure the Republican Party presidential nomination but who continues to try to present himself as a reasonable, humane, thoughtful, non divisive alternative to Donald Trump should there be a vacancy, for any reason, at the top of the 2020 GOP ticket.
Kasich appeared on Late Night with Seth Meyers a day before Trump delivered his State of the Union address Tuesday. He sounded soooo normal. And Meyers, usually a sharp observer of the political landscape, fell into the trap Kasich set.
You see, Kasich is a conservative. His tone might be different, more pleasing, than Trump’s, but his substance, the outcome of his actions, were he to inhabit the White House, would not be materially different.
Like an old sweater one wears around the house, Meyers felt comfortable talking kumbaya with Kasich. (Here are two clips encompassing the totality of the interview:
But Meyers never asked him any nitty gritty questions about what the Trump administration has done and if he would have done the same or acted differently.
What, for example, is Kasich’s position on coal? Is he in favor of softening environmental regulations on coal mining and burning? What’s his position on alternative energy sources? Would he permit oil and gas exploration along our coastlines?
Would he have nominated Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court? In general, what criteria would he use in selecting federal judges?
How would he have fixed Obamacare?
What are his beliefs on abortion and funding of Planned Parenthood for non abortion related activity?
What are his positions on NAFTA, the Paris climate accords, NATO, the Keystone Pipeline, the Trans Pacific Trade Pact, the United Nations, Jerusalem as the location of our embassy in Israel, the prison at Guantanamo Bay, the Iran nuclear deal?
How would he resolve differing views on the Dreamers? Would he build a southern border wall? What, if any, changes would he like to see in our immigration policy?
Does he believe Russia interfered in our 2016 election?
Is he comfortable with the influence the religious right is having on government?
Is the new tax plan acceptable to him?
Many of these questions can be answered by looking at Kasich’s Web site (https://www.johnkasich.com). For example, Kasich champions his opposition to abortion and funding of Planned Parenthood.
We live today in a sound bite world. For Meyers (and, to be honest, lots of other TV hosts) to give Kasich and other politicians a soapbox to sound statesmanlike without providing specifics would result in saddling us with another Trump, albeit with a more teddy bear demeanor.
We would be shaking our heads and wondering how we got duped again. Meyers is an entertainer. I get that. But he has injected himself five nights a week into the political dialogue so he needs to step up from one dimensional attacks on Trump’s behavior to offer constructive alternatives.
Have more respect for, and confidence in, his audience, that viewers want not just jokes but hard information when interviewing Kasich et al, as he has done with his Closer Look segments.
Alternative Universe: What alternative universe does Donald Trump live in? Prior to delivering his State of the Union speech he said his goal would be to end the divisiveness that has existed in the country for many years.
It’s a laudable objective but does he not recognize that he is a prime reason we are a polarized society?
From his despicable advocacy of the birther movement questioning the legitimacy of Barack Obama’s presidency to his abusive comments, delivered live and in tweets, mostly about women but also about anyone who disagrees with him, to his embrace of neo-Nazi and alt-right leaders and members, to his denigration of national organizations such as the FBI and the CIA, Trump has done more to divide our country than any president of the last century.
It’s no wonder that Kasich thinks being a “good guy” might be enough to propel him forward.