Will The Real Conservative Please Stand Up

Though Tom Zawistowski might beg to differ, Ohio’s Governor and current Republican presidential wannabe, John Kasich, has always represented himself as a conservative. The current imbroglio within the party of William Buckley and John Birch Society co-founder Fred Koch leads Analysis to ponder conservatism, especially in view of Ohio’s Governor participating in on stage spectacles with the likes of Ted Cruz, Donald Trump and Carly Fiorina. At a less widely covered spectacle in Columbia SC with ditto participants sans Trump and Cruz (Republican Candidates, Minus Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, Play Nice at Poverty Forum By Ashley Parker, 1-9-16 NY Times) Kasich is quoted as saying “Do you realize that there are people who are on government assistance who can’t take a pay raise because they will lose more than what they gain?” Zawistowski et al. found Kasich’s embrace of Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act to signal his disregard for “conservative principals” (whatever that may be – the subject of this inquiry). In his presidential candidacy Kasich continuously references his years as U S House Representative and his conservative credentials through various successes for the GOP. This was, of course, just after the Presidency of George H. Bush, who was described as a compassionate conservative. Mindful of Kasich’s fellow Republican Barb Sears’ sponsorship and shepherding to passage of House Bill 394 (covered by previous blog postings), Analysis questions how Kasich’s quote at the Kemp Forum on Expanding Opportunity ought to be read. As Catherine Candisky writes (in the previous post), Sears’ ardor for reform could be considered as exceptional, matched only by North Carolina’s legislature. Then again, HB 394 may be the tip of an arrow marking the trajectory of such reform across the country (thanks to the state by state strategy of ALEC and the Koch bro’s AFP). The NY Times editorial of 1-21-16, Kentucky’s Bizarre Attack on Health Reform, describes just such an act of conservative reformation ardor, the dismantling of “Obamacare” and its accompanying Medicaid by recently elected Governor Matt Bevin. It must be noted that, like the Governor of KY’s neighboring state of Ohio, Bevin also wraps himself in the mantle of conservatism. Salon’s deputy politics editor, Sophia Tesfaye, analyzes Paul Krugman’s NY Times blog posting in a piece entitled Paul Krugman bursts David Brooks’ fantasyland version of conservatism: “Actually existing conservatism is a radical doctrine” (10-14-15). In it she writes: “Paul Krugman, not one to spike the football, offered a slightly shady “OK, I guess,” to Brooks’ willfully naive definition of conservatism as standing for “intellectual humility” and a “belief in steady, incremental change,”” “Conservatism is “a preference for reform rather than revolution, a respect for hierarchy, precedence, balance and order, and a tone of voice that is prudent, measured and responsible,” Brooks wrote. But “that kind of conservatism left the Republican Party a very long time ago,” Krugman reminds him:… Krugman had to remind his colleague that “by David’s definition Barack Obama is pretty conservative,” citing Obamacare as an example of incremental rather than radical change.” Tesfaye concludes by stating: “My point is that if what you want is traditional conservatism, the only people with real influence with anything like that mindset are Democrats. Actually existing conservatism is a radical doctrine.” This really broadens the political spectrum of left and right with Democrats described as conservatives and conservatives like Ted Cruz as…? Analysis wrote all that to write this: Kasich’s SC Kemp Forum quote could also be interpreted in conjunction with his fellow Ohio Republican and conservative colleague, Barb Sears. What HB 394 is doing is trying to eliminate (cut in half) unemployment compensation “to ensure Ohio provides the best economic opportunities for both employers and employees.” (Sears. Ohio House Of Representatives website guest column 11-19-15). Assuming “Actually existing conservatism is a radical doctrine”, Kasich could likewise answer his rhetorical “Do you realize that there are people who are on government assistance who can’t take a pay raise because they will lose more than what they gain?” along with Sears and Bevin. By cutting government assistance the only gain would be through a pay raise thereby ensuring “Ohio provides the best economic opportunities for both employers and employees.”

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