Sarah Palin has just told the Washington Post that she’s “Seriously interested in running for the White House in 2016.” Yawn!!! She joins fellow no-chancers Cruz, Perry, Jindal, Ron’s kid, Rand, Walker, Santorum, Huckabee, Romney and Christie, all likely to run. Jeb Bush could get the nod as the party’s nominee, or a new name just emerging.
This new ‘serious’ candidate just started kicking the tires for 2016. He’s 62-year-old, twice married, Ohio Governor and former Congressman, John Kasich. Unlike Palin, he could catch on. The governor played some political dodge ball on NPR last Friday morning with his coy refusal to answer the question of whether he was about to join the aforementioned right-wingers. I mean, he’s only spent the week visiting South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Utah and Idaho trumpeting the endless benefits of a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Six states in a week or so. Why would anybody think he’s testing the nominee waters?
Before I tackle the political essence of Kasich, let’s take a quick peek at a balanced budget amendment. This crackpot idea (applicable to individual states, by the way) that doesn’t sound like a crackpot idea has been on the conservative constitutional amendment wish list for many moons. As a U.S. Representative and Chairman of the 104th Congress House Budget Committee, Representative, Kasich, himself, put together a Balanced Budget Act back in February of ’95 and tried to sell it in a similar multi-state road show to the one I just described. Five far-flung state destinations were visited, and subsequent hearing expert guest chairs were filled with B-list pols, sure to parrot the company line.
Things have changed little in the ensuing years. Here is the partial dog and pony testimony of Ohio Governor and future U.S. Senator, George Voinovich, two decades ago. His words will serve as propaganda proxy for the rest of the predictable witness falderal. These were some of the programs Voinovich thought needed a balanced budget overhaul: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and “a couple of other retirement programs.” We can “do more with less, work harder and smarter.”
Voinovich renounced and called for the repeal of the Boren Amendment, tacked on to the Omnibus Reconciliation Act in 1980 by Oklahoma Democrat, David Boren. He got his wish in 1997. The Boren Amendment was repealed in an assault on the helpless elderly.
The amendment called for Medicaid Nursing Home rates to be adequate to meet the costs of an efficient and economically operated facility and to provide care and services in keeping with regulations and safety standards. Ironically, or maybe not, the repeal was part of that year’s Balanced Budget Act. Funding would come from the states, most of them with very spotty records in giving a damn for the infirm, regardless of age.
Voinovich admits, that in many cases, State and local governments would have to raise additional dollars to take up the slack created by federal cutbacks. Most of the state and local governments simply cut deeply into the affected programs; including critical initiatives in the city he headed. Voinovich granted that when such a contingency came up in Cleveland while he was mayor, the city lost half of its Community Development Block Grants, and he reduced the city’s workforce by 10%.
This insensitive and ruthless boob actually bragged about “changing” a general assistance program and saving $900 million. At the expense, no doubt, of the most needy of Cleveland’s citizens. My contempt for people like Voinovich is immeasurable. And Kasich agreed with and even praised this despicable message. That’s just a fraction of what a President Kasich would bring to the table with his obsession for the amendment.
The highly respected and informative Website, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) examined the downside of such an amendment 3 years ago when the right-wing House continued to make big noises about the subject.
Here are the CBPP concerns about a balanced budget amendment. Ironically, one of the biggest drawbacks runs counter to the pillar of every Republican platform. In a weak economy, it would almost certainly require a tax increase.
CBPP adds that spending cuts would be an imperative, just as spending increases are actually needed most. Lock yourself into this amendment and watch deficits soar.
The amendment would require federal spending in any year to be offset by revenues collected in the same year. In other words, Social Security could not draw from prior year trust funds and would be forced to cut payments. The list of negatives goes on and on. Nonetheless, 24 states have already passed balanced budget resolutions; 34 are required for a constitutional convention, with 38 state approvals needed for an actual amendment.
Look for Congress to make a repeated push as well.
At first glance, Kasich appears to be a bit of an enigma. He’s the rare right-winger agreeable to Medicaid expansion. That’s a pure “finger in the wind” move. Kasich recognizes that the president’s health care plan is catching on with multiple millions of participating citizens. This about-face comes on the heels of a proposal to cut 700 million dollars of Medicaid services over the biennium.
Many years ago, then Representative Kasich, received a dreaded “F” from the Neanderthal Rifle Association for his Clinton-era vote to ban assault rifles. He learned his letter lesson well. He has since earned multiple endorsements from LaPierre and Company with statements like this; “I voted to ban the assault weapons. You know what I’ve concluded after that? Banning all these guns and passing all these laws isn’t going to fix it. Way to wiggle, John.
Now, let’s see what he’s done for us lately. As second-term governor of Ohio, he’s busily closing down abortion clinics throughout the state. When he’s finished, there will be 6 or 7 left standing to serve a population of around 11.5 million people. Puberty to menopause, potentially impacted child-baring aged women would probably number well over 3 million. And your governor has graciously decided what you can and can’t do with your reproductive system.
Abortion is a deeply personal and perplexing question. Nobody ‘loves’ abortion. The procedure is life altering and if undertaken, crazy-glued to a woman’s psyche forever. There are no absolutes available that would simplify the process. Bottom line; abortion is legal.
Nobody hates unions more than Kasich. He also signed Grover Norquist Taxpayer Protection Pledge, a goofy piece of irrelevance, wherein, according to wording on Norquist’s ‘Americans for Tax Reform’ site, “candidates and incumbents solemnly bind themselves to oppose any and all tax increases.” Anybody that signs that cartoonish mandate loses all credibility as a thinking public servant.
In between political gigs, Kasich headed the Columbus, Ohio Lehman Brothers operation. Wildly leveraged (as high as 30:1) derivatives called Mortgaged Backed Securities soon collapsed when defaults and falling housing prices combined to force greedy and enormously irresponsible firms like Lehman’s into bankruptcy. Thanks in part to Kasich, the Ohio teachers pension fund lost nearly a half-billion dollars.
Kasich has nothing for Democrats. His election to the presidency would cancel out the veto, the only defense reasonable people have against a Republican Congress. But, historically, he’s been a vote magnet and if he does capture the nomination, I’d strongly recommend that Palin once more round out the ticket.
We need the comic relief.
Raised rural & small town, then lived in N.Y., Chicago & LA. Widely traveled. Returned from world wandering to pursue media life of anchorman/reporter and major, medium and small market talk radio. Highly active in politics. Once worked as orderly & security in Mens Lock Ward for the Criminally Insane at a state institution. Much more rational population than current Teapublicans. Great concern for country run by and for the extreme wealthy. The inhumane current running through this country has no precedent in modern history.
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