John Kasich says he's more conservative than Scott Walker

Governor John Kasich of Ohio, who would like to run for president, is upset when people imply that he's a liberal.

Gov. John R. Kasich was sipping coffee in the sun-drenched garden room of his official residence, boasting about his “Ohio story” of economic recovery, when he was told that some Republicans thought a fellow Midwestern governor, Scott Walker of Wisconsin, was more conservative. He bolted upright.

“I think I have the right to define what conservatism is,” Mr. Kasich roared, launching into a breathless oration about tax cuts, the mentally ill, prison reform, faith in American culture, unwed motherhood, welfare and why he hates being called a “compassionate conservative.”

He's certainly done some conservative things in Ohio.  He's repealed the state estate tax, tried to limit collective bargaining rights for government workers (which was overturned in referendum, as enraged Ohio voters demanded that the boot of organized labor rest securely on their throats), cut funding to abortion-loving Planned Parenthood, and passed a bill requiring women getting abortions to get ultrasounds to help them make an informed decision about ending their baby's lives.

But on the other hand, he's passed a small cut in the state income tax and replaced it with increases in sales taxes and business taxes, rather than cutting waste from government spending.  Kasich is proud of spending millions of dollars to send community organizers into ghettos to persuade pregnant mothers not to smoke and to eat right.  What business does government have to do this?  If they're smart enough to vote, aren't they smart enough to make these decisions for themselves?

“He’s almost like a multiple in terms of personalities,” said Jerry Austin, a Democratic strategist in Ohio, who has known Mr. Kasich for 40 years and said his “religious fervor” could pull him to the left on poverty issues while he tacks reliably right on most others. “It’s almost like you don’t know which John Kasich is going to show up.”

But Mr. Kasich delights in poking his own party. He enraged conservatives by expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, and quoted the Bible in explaining his decision.

By expanding Medicaid, for now the federal government takes on the added costs, but later, once Kasich is long gone from the scene, Ohio will be stuck with a tremendous bill as states will have to pay more and more of the costs.

He's also a big spender:

• From Governor Kasich’s first year to his proposed sixth year, Ohio’s budget will grow by 40.14%;

• The projected budgetary growth under Governor Kasich would outpace every gubernatorial tenure since 1991 by 15 percentage points;

• Unless spending slows and/or revenues exceed the average growth since 2001, Ohio will begin running deficits in 2016;

• If the next budget grows at the same rate as the last three budgets, Ohio’s budget will surpass $42.3 billion in FY2019;

• If the projections below hold, Governor Kasich will have presided over a stunning 60.6% explosion in the state spending during his tenure

Additionally, he has made some questionable appointments.

Kasich passed over Tea Party leader Tom Zawistowski for the position of Executive Director of the Ohio Republican Party in favor of Matt Borges, who worked with a gay rights group[.]

There's nothing wrong with hiring someone who is gay, but hiring someone who pushes the gay agenda over someone who pushes limited government raises questions of Kasich's priorities.  A big part of being president is appointing people who will push the right agenda, and this doesn't reflect well on Kasich.

My personal impression is that Kasich has some conservative instincts, but he feels that government should play Big Brother and spend a lot of money teaching people how to live and behave.  Before he was elected governor, he had a show on Fox called From the Heartland with John Kasich, which was basically feel-good Oprah-like mush.  We don't need a white male Oprah for president.  We need a male version of Sigourney Weaver from Aliens.

Pedro Gonzales is the editor of, the conservative news site.