A promising potential GOP nominee
After I wrote "Republicans Are Our Own Worst Enemy," Bret Baier interviewed Ohio governor and possible presidential candidate John Kasich, a man who seems to be familiar with Republican shortcomings when it comes using language as an effective tool in getting our message out and appealing to new voters. (I am no more promoting him as a candidate than I was Romney.)
Although some might consider Kasich a sell-out for expanding Medicaid under Obamacare, he not only balanced the Ohio budget during a failing Obama economy, but took it from an $8-billion deficit to a $1.5-billion surplus. Like it or not, balanced budgets are conservative goals. Republican Kasich is doing something right in union-dominated Ohio. And it’s his approach and language.
Rather than selling out conservative principles by pandering to classes of voters, Kasich asks how we get everyone to share in our country’s prosperity. He makes the point that fellow Republicans do not always understand that "[e]conomic growth is not an end unto itself. Economic growth provides the means whereby we can reach out and help those who live in the shadows."
Whether a calculated move or something he just stumbled upon, Kasich doesn’t perseverate on the means to the end: economic growth. He doesn’t launch into an elaborate or heady explanation about what that entails and why it is good for us, as most Republicans do. He explicitly recognizes the need to communicate with constituents and potential voters about the end: lifting them out of the shadows or poverty or bedlam. He implicitly understands how to communicate with voters and get them on his side by employing the language of compassion or empathy – informing voters that Republicans care, and that we are listening, and that our policies will help.
What’s wrong with that? From a Judeo-Christian or Republican perspective, absolutely nothing – and Kasich makes that clear. We define our goal – a rising tide lifts all boats – a legitimate, conservative goal that connects us directly with voters. The alternative is we continue to speak past voters; we continue to lose market share and elections; and we lose any ability to govern and effectuate positive change through conservative policies. Meanwhile, the Democrats continue to cement their monopolies on compassion and empathy, and lock in the votes needed to stay in power.
Kasich gets it.