The Dispatch’s Joe Vardon reported yesterday that Ohio Governor John Kasich will get a primo speaking spot at the Republican National Convention in Tampa this year. Kasich will be speaking between 8 and 10PM on Tuesday, the theme for the night will be “We Built It” – a reference to an out-of-context soundbite from a speech by President Obama that Republicans claim proves the President is anti-business. Kasich, we think, will be out of place for a number of important reasons.
The first is the theme. The real point of Obama’s speech, when heard in full, was that successful people and businesses don’t exist in a vacuum and they rely on the help of many people and groups to succeed, including the Government.
In an attempt to keep with the evening’s theme Kasich will likely discuss improving job numbers in Ohio, and the private-sector Ohio companies that are hiring. But a quick review of Kasich’s background shows that he’d be a better representative for the President’s beliefs about the proper role of government than for Romney and Ryan’s anti-government rhetoric.
Kasich, as we’ve discussed before, has lived off the government his entire life. His dad was a postal worker in Pennsylvania, and when Kasich chose a college, he went to Ohio State – a public university.
Kasich left school and worked as a congressional aide, then a State Senator and then a member of Congress. All positions that draw a salary and benefits from the government. Even his stint in the private sector - working for Lehman Bros - was possible only because of his time in Congress and the connections he made. During his Lehman days Kasich was still raking in cash from public entities: paid $50,000 a year for roughly one to four visits a month at The Ohio State University as a guest lecturer.
And now, as Governor, he’s pulling down another six-figure salary from the state, getting benefits, use of the state plane and earning a pension.
Kasich didn’t “build” anything on his own. Sure Kasich worked hard to get where he is today, but he’s never owned a business and he owes every chance he got in life, and every step of his career, to the State and Federal Government in a very direct way. Kasich is a shining example of the real point of Obama’s speech and a pretty crappy example for Romney.
Ultimately, none of this will really matter assuming Kasich sticks to the path he’s followed for the past two years when giving speeches.
If Kasich chooses to avoid a pre-written text, turn off the teleprompter and give random shout-outs to people in the room like he’s done at the past two State of the State speeches, no one is going to remember the impact Government had on Kasich’s life because they’ll all be too busy cringing from his epically disastrous speech.
For Kasich’s sake, I hope the Convention insists he prepare his remarks in advance and read them from a teleprompter. If not, we can all look forward to a second installment of Shit John Kasich Says: GOP Convention Version.
Here’s version 1 for your enjoyment (and for a Warning of what’s might be coming next week!)