Kasich Hints At Leaving The Republican Party

During an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday, Ohio Gov. John Kasich surprised no one when he expressed dissatisfaction with the state of the GOP and gave indications that he may leave the Party altogether.

In response to Tapper’s review of GOP senate candidate Roy Moore’s past controversial remarks, Kasich issued the following comment.

“I don’t run the party, I can tell you for me — I don’t support that. I couldn’t vote for that,” he said on Tapper’s State of the Union program. “I couldn’t tell you what the heck I’d have to do, but I don’t live in that state (Alabama). Those claims — I mean — the’re ludicrous. They’re divisive. And if that’s where we’re headed… If the Party can’t be fixed, Jake, then I’m not going to be able to support the Party. Period.”

Tapper then asked for clarification. Specifically, the CNN anchor questioned if the outgoing governor would ever become an independent if the GOP does not change its ways.

To that, Kasich did not offer a definitive answer.


The idea of leaving the Republican Party and becoming an independent is, of course, a serious consideration of Kasich’s.

The governor of Ohio ran as an anti-Trump candidate during the 2016 Republican primary. After winning only his home state, Kasich went on to become one of the president’s most vocal critics from the right. Taking centrist positions on various issues, such as Defending Obamacare and wanting permanent legal status for Dreamers, the GOP governor has continually called for moderates on both sides of the aisle to come together to enact change.

In August, a source to Axios revealed that the idea of a “unity ticket” between Kasich and Colorado Democrat Gov. John Hickenlooper has been causally discussed between the two men. Under the proposed plan, both candidates would run together as independents in the 2020 cycle, with Kasich at the top of the ticket and Hickenlooper as his running mate.

Claims of formulating an independent run for the White House in 2020 were emphatically denied.

However, it should be noted that CNN also reported an independent claim that the governor duo were in talks of running a unity ticket together.

Kasich and Hickenlooper are both finishing the remainder of their second terms and will be vacating office in January 2019 — they have nothing better to do. The two governors have become very familiar with each other over the years, having worked together extensively on health care, economic and other reform packages.

Having made two separate bids for the White House already — both times only drawing lukewarm interest from conservative voters — Kasich may feel that an independent campaign is his only possible route to the Oval Office.

As for now, Kasich has not completely shed his Republican affiliation.. but let’s not be too surprised if (or when) that day finally comes.

Gov. Kasich Says Neither Party Cares About Poor People

Ohio Gov. John Kasich is doubling down on an attitude that hasn’t really done much for him in the past couple of years. Speaking to “State of the Union” host Dana Bash, Gov. Kasich defended Republicans Dean Heller and Brian Sandoval’s decision to oppose the GOP healthcare bill.

“I don’t think we have enough leadership,” Kasich stated. “I think too many people cower, you know, in the wings because of partisanship. Not just Republicans; Democrats as well. If you try to get a great number of governors, Republican or Democrat, to speak out on this, where are they? All you hear are crickets and chirping because they’re, they’re worried about upsetting their base.”

Kasich went on to commend the two Nevada Republicans for their opposition to the the Senate healthcare bill and their sympathy to “poor people.”

“Not only Heller, but Sandoval – Sandoval is a great governor. His popularity is sky high in Nevada and you know what he’s saying? ‘I’m worried about poor people.’ You know what – both parties, both parties ought to be worried about poor people,” Kasich said on CNN.

This is nothing new from the Buckeye governor.

During his failed bid for the White House, Kasich channeled two major themes on the campaign trail: kindness and bipartisanship. State to state, he spoke daily about the need to care for the sick and elderly, love each other and to reach out to the other side of the aisle. He constantly spoke of the ills of partisanship and how we need to use the political process to become more compassionate.

This was (at the very least) a well-intended strategy… but it got the Ohio governor nowhere.

Kasich lingered in the 2016 presidential primary long after it was obvious he wouldn’t be taking home the gold. In many state contests, Kasich barely registered as an asterisk.  He finally dropped out with only one state in the win column: his home state of Ohio. On the other hand, the Republican who did win the GOP primary contest (decisively so) was a bombastic TV personality who seemingly showed no empathy to his adversaries.

Clearly, we can take something away from this. There was a yearning by the electorate for a no-filter, say-it-like-it-is, outsider. There was no appetite for John Kasich’s model of unabashed sweet talk.

Despite this strategy failing by embarrassing proportions – the Ohio governor is sticking with it. He is against the healthcare bill because he feels it is “inadequate.” Not “inadequate” meaning it doesn’t go far enough to repeal Obamacare. No, it’s inadequate in that it’s too conservative and doesn’t have enough safety nets for those dependent on the government. Explaining his opposition, Kasich told the tender story of a recent trip to a Wendy’s restaurant. There he saw special needs children who were participating in the Special Olympics. He wondered if the GOP healthcare legislation would help people like them.

A touching story – yes. But are people buying what he has to sell?

Watch the eight-and-a-half minute video here:


Swampcare Will Have To Break Left Or Die

Conservative opposition is mounting to the lipstick-on-a-pig effort to repeal Obamacare without repealing it, that’s coming to be derisively known as swampcare.

So far, the House Freedom Caucus; Sens. Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, have come out against the plan, putting 218 votes to pass the House at risk, never mind the impossible task in the Senate. More liberal Republicans also don’t like it because it doesn’t have enough entitlements.

And now GOP governors are starting to push against swampcare.

Republican governors lead 33 states, across all regions, and represent states pivotal to President Donald Trump’s victory in November, including much of the upper Midwest. Their role in the health care debate could influence the biggest public policy changes this year and help determine the party’s future.

At the heart of their criticisms is that the House plan would jeopardize coverage for roughly 11 million people covered through the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion. The law allowed states to expand Medicaid to cover more low-income individuals and their families at costs borne largely by the federal government.

Ohio RINO-in-chief Gov. John Kasich, who hates Trump with the heat of a thousand suns, said “Phasing out Medicaid coverage without a viable alternative is counterproductive and unnecessarily puts at risk our ability to treat the drug-addicted, mentally ill and working poor who now have access to a stable source of care.”

And Maine’s own version of a PayDay bar, Gov. Paul LePage said the effort wasn’t bold enough.

It seems the only way President Trump is going to get this pig through the slaughterhouse is to take it to the left.

Notice Trump tweeted “review and negotiation.” The plan, as written, has little chance of passing without getting Democrats and RINOs on board. To do that, they’ve got to have more entitlements.

What we’ll end up with is Obamacare, minus the standardized coverage, with an insurance-industry-enforced individual mandate, lots and lots of MedicAid expansion, a strange and complicated tax credit system, and sales of plans across state lines. In short: it will be a bloody mess.

But the Democrats and RINOs will love it, vote for it, and reward Trump with the credit. When it all goes pear-shaped, they’ll blame Republicans in Congress. In 2018, this will hang around their necks like a millstone.

Erick is absolutely right. It’s better for the Congress to do nothing at all than have this ball of radioactive waste called swampcare.

In fact, conservatives should fight tooth and nail to ensure Congress does nothing. If Trump (along with Speaker Paul Ryan, and Senate Majority Leaders Mitch McConnell) want to work with Democrats to get this thing passed, let them do it. Force them to break left, or let it die.

The spectacle of Trump and GOP leadership kowtowing to the left on health care should be enough of a nightmare to make them kill swampcare. But Congressional Republicans are known for discarding their own parachutes before jumping out of the plane.

Rogue Electors Will Fail; Trump Will Be President

There is a push among liberals to urge electors to reject Donald Trump and vote for someone – anyone according to one plea by Hollywood liberals – else for president. Republicans shouldn’t get upset by these attempts to deny Trump the presidency for one simple reason: They are doomed to fail.

According to the popular vote outcome, Donald Trump is expected to win 306 votes in the Electoral College. A candidate needs 270 electoral votes to become president. This means that 37 Republican electors would have to abandon Trump. So far only one, Chris Suprun of Texas, has announced his intention to vote against Mr. Trump.

While the Hollywood appeal is true in its claim that the Constitution doesn’t require electors to vote for any particular candidate, many states do. And what the video doesn’t tell you is what happens next if Trump does not win the Electoral College vote on Dec. 19.

According to the Twelfth Amendment, the election would then go to the House of Representatives where the Dump Trump movement would face two insurmountable obstacles. The first is that the Constitution says that the House must choose from the top three electoral vote getters. At that point, the choice will only be between Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and the third place finisher, if there is one. At this point, there is no consensus candidate for the faithless electors, who call themselves “Hamilton electors,” to rally around, let alone one that could unite Democrats with anti-Trump Republicans. John Kasich, one popular possibility, asked electors not to vote for him last week.

The second is that the House is controlled by Republicans who will almost certainly vote for Donald Trump. The vast majority of Republicans seem to have unified around Trump, at least for the moment.

The odds are long against the election ever making it to the House of Representatives in the first place. Most of the electors who seem to be willing to break faith with their parties and the voters of their states are Democrats. Politico reported in November that “at least a half-dozen Democratic electors” had joined the effort to stop Trump in the Electoral College, but so far Chris Suprun is the only Republican elector to publicly announce his intention to vote against the result of his state’s popular vote.

With the outcome of the Electoral College vote all but certain, the rogue electors can feel free to vote their conscience or resign their position to protest their opposition to their party nominees. It won’t make a difference. The Democrat electors, mostly Bernie Sanders supporters, have nothing more to lose than their party standing (plus state penalties) since their candidate is not going to win anyway.

For Republicans, the choice is more difficult since Trump will become president, with or without their votes. They risk their standing in the party if they take an unpopular stand against a president who has increased his own popularity since his upset victory over Hillary Clinton. The Democratic Party might forgive Bernie supporters. It is less likely that a GOP dominated by Donald Trump will forgive and forget.





John Kasich Can Collect A Huge Pro-Life Dividend Of Trump’s Win

Ohio may be the latest state to take on the merchants of death, if Gov. John Kasich steps up and signs H.B. 493, the “Heartbeat Bill.” This bill would restrict abortions after a baby’s heartbeat can be detected–which is generally possibly just 6 weeks after conception.

Now that the bill has passed both chambers of the legislature, it’s up to Kasich to sign it.

The law, which would ban abortions after a detectable heartbeat (usually five to six weeks into a pregnancy), would be among the strictest in the nation but almost certainly would meet a challenge from the federal courts. (Federal courts quashed similar bills in North Dakota and Arkansas. The U.S. Supreme Court didn’t even bother to hear the states’ appeals in those cases.)

Kasich has not committed to signing the bill, and in 2014 expressed concerns about its legality. The irony here is that the bill owes its legislative passage to none other than Kasich’s opponent, President-elect Donald Trump.

Ohio Senate President Keith Faber said that a “new president, new Supreme Court appointees changed the dynamic.”

Now Kasich has the power to reap one of the best dividends of a Trump win, a victory for the pro-life movement, and another push for the Supreme Court to hear the inevitable legal challenge that will follow.

Liberty Counsel, which offers legal support to causes related to pro-family and religious freedom, issued a statement offering pro bono counsel and defense for the bill.

“We applaud these Ohio lawmakers and Janet Porter for their role in the passage on the Unborn Heartbeat Protection Act,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “Over 54 million babies have been killed since the Roe v. Wade decision. This human genocide must end now. I urge Christians to flood Governor Kasich’s office with calls demanding he sign this bill.”

Conservatives who value every life should urge Gov. Kasich to sign the Heartbeat Bill into law. Call his office at 614-466-3555.

Paul Manafort to John Kasich: F.U.

This is the way to unite the party.

Paul Manafort is unhappy that John Kasich will not show up at the convention. Actually, Kasich would have showed up to welcome everyone, but the Trump campaign insisted on an endorsement first, which Kasich will not do.

Interestingly, Manafort says, “people who are part of the future of the Republican Party are, frankly, going to be here participating in the program.” That is demonstrably untrue.

Most all the people who came out aggressively in support of Trump are Republicans at the end of their career with nothing to lose, unless Paul Manafort is implying that the GOP is really going to become the party of old white guys and purge from its ranks the Nikki Haleys and Marco Rubios and Tim Scotts of the world.

John Kasich is Dropping Out

Having worked to ensure Donald Trump gets the Republican nomination, John Kasich’s work is done.

He squandered both the good will of the Republican Party and of the people of Ohio who have been increasingly complaining about their absent governor.

So today, John Kasich will drop out.

Good riddance.

68th Annual Shad Planking Event Foreshadows Virginia’s Importance in 2016

On Friday, I had the pleasure of attending my first Shad Planking event at the Wakefield Sportsman Club in Wakefield, Virginia–a town 170 miles southeast of Washington, D.C. This was the 68th Annual Shad Planking event held to benefit the Wakefield Ruritan Club, which has put on the event since its inception. I was invited by the festival organizers to be a featured blogger for the event.

Shad Planking was originally dominated by Democrats and was once exclusive to males. Over the course of its 68th-year existence, the event has grown to include women and expand its reach to right-leaning audiences. Moreover, this year in particular, rebranding efforts were implemented to make the event more amenable to younger audiences by enticing them with wine, beer, and other goodies.

Garden & Gun Magazine profiled the yearly event in their recent April/May 2016 edition describing it as the following:

The Wakefield Shad Planking’s roots reach back to the early 1930s, when a group of men gathered to cook shad on wooden planks along the James River in Isle of Wight County. Even then, the informal event was an amalgam of cultural preservation and politics: Virginia Indians had planked shad for hundreds of years, and Virginians were known for their affinity for political sparring. The Ruritan Club took over the event in 1949 and moved it to Wakefield, where it has remained ever since, although it has changed dramatically in size and character. During presidential and senatorial election years, the crowd can swell to better than two thousand. Harry Byrd, Sr., Harry Byrd, Jr., John Warner, and George Allen have stumped at the event. Whereas once it was a whites-only, male-only, heavy-drinking gathering, it now draws a cross section of the Southside Virginia community. Women and African Americans first forayed to the planking in the 1970s. Public drunkenness is frowned upon. And while it was once a largely Democratic affair, the Shad Planking these days reflects the Republican tenor of southeastern Virginia.

The festival had roughly 1,500-2,000 attendees, which is slightly smaller than previous years. (It rained most of Friday.) Despite the rain and torrential downpour, Virginians from all across the Commonwealth came to soak in the yearly tradition of eating shad and meeting other like-minded individuals.

Trying shad, which is the fish for which this festival is named, is one of the highlights of the event. (Event organizers call it a rite of passage for every Virginian, native and non-native.) I sampled some butterfly shad and some shad roe (fish eggs). The former is very boney, but delicious–especially with the sauce the shad plankers topped it with. The latter, which is more popular with event goers, is delicious but not as much of a hassle to eat.

Not only did the event feature fish, it featured its share of Virginia politics, as expected.

Local Republican campaigns for statewide offices–U.S. Congress, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Governor, and General Assembly–made their pitches to event goers. Few local Democrats seeking office were in attendance too. One of two declared GOP candidates for governor, sitting U.S. Congressman Robert Wittman of Virginia’s 1st District,  showed up while former 2013 U.S. Senate nominee and former RNC chairman Ed Gillespie was a no-show. Three candidates for lieutenant governor also spoke. Moreover, three Republican candidates for the  2017 attorney general’s race–delegate and conservative attorney Rob Bell (Virginia’s 58th District-Albemarle), as well as lawyers John Adams of Virginia Beach (whom Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) endorsed) and Chuck Smith of Richmond–gave their stump speeches, as well.  The event was MC’d by Virginia farmer Martha Boneta, one of the state’s most outspoken private property rights advocates.

Martha told me why she was thrilled to MC the event this year.

“I love Virginia with all my heart. It’s my home–it’s where I was raised,” she said. “This is a political rite of passage…It’s such an honor and a privilege to be here.”

She also lauded the Ruritan Club for doing “an amazing service to the Commonwealth of Virginia” with Shad Planking.


The event also featured presidential straw poll, to which Donald Trump won 82 votes, follow by Ted Cruz with 40 votes, and John Kasich with 27 votes.  Both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders received nine votes each. Straw polls, as we know, carry little weight–but give some perspective into voter attitudes.

Dozens of sponsors were also to be found– including the NRA-ILA, Virginia Citizens Defense League, local wineries, and numerous food vendors.

As a transplant to Virginia, I recognize Shad Planking’s importance – however small or large – to the Commonwealth’s politics. Locally, this event is ground zero for candidates and sitting incumbents to interact with festival attendees to make their pitches. Nationally, it is harder to read how people felt. A small portion of event goers voted in the straw poll, so it’s not statistically accurate or reflective of Virginia voter attitudes on our side. Yes, Tidewater (southern Virginia) somewhat likes Trump but our state held its primary back on Super Tuesday–where Trump won 37% of the vote. (Over 60,000 Democrats voted for Trump in our primary since it’s an open contest, and attitudes on Trump have perhaps changed to his detriment.) Nonetheless, Shad Planking denotes how important Virginia will be as a swing-state this fall if the race provides a contrast. (I don’t see Virginia tilting to us if it’s a Trump v. Clinton matchup, especially since our crooked governor Terry McAuliffe is a close associate of the Clinton’s.) Virginia voter attitudes are important, and our state shouldn’t be discounted especially if the contest comes down to a real conservative (not Trump) versus Hillary Clinton.

I’m grateful to the Shad Planking organizers for inviting me and allowing me to finally earn my Virginia stripes. Non-Virginians are also welcome to attend, so come on down (or up) here to experience Shad Planking!