John Kasich is fond of calling himself “The Prince of Light,’’ but there is NOTHING sunny about him. Not his temperament, world view or governing philosophy. In fact, he once had a group of visiting ministers arrested for not leaving his Congressional office. They wanted to talk with Kasich about more funding for the homeless; Kasich had a policy of only meeting with people who wanted to cut the budget .
At his first post-election news conference in 2010, Kasich told Statehouse insiders, “If you’re not on the bus, we’ll run you over with the bus.’’ There was a new sheriff in town and the new governor wanted everyone to know the new rules.
Soon after, during a speech to state workers on the need for civility in state government, he called a police officer who had properly ticketed him an “idiot’’ – twice – and accused the officer of being rude and wrong. The dash cam video showed that Kasich was rude and wrong, the officer respectful and right.
His disdain for law enforcement surfaced again when his office quietly colluded with Republican lawmakers to craft legislation to scale back public sector workers’ collective bargaining rights. Unlike nearby Governor Scott Walker from Wisconsin, Kasich didn’t exempt the safety forces. Voters overturned the overreach 61 to 39 percent. Kasich publicly acted as if his fellow Republicans in charge of the Ohio House and Senate were leading the assault on unions. News accounts, however, unearthed public records showing some of the bill’s more egregious provisions came right out of his office.
Law enforcement hasn’t forgotten. Kasich’s second-place finish in New Hampshire renewed interest in the “idiot cop” video. Facebook shares are driving traffic to a 2011 story about the video. At least two pro-police groups — one called “Support Law Enforcement” and another called “Thin Blue Island” — shared the post with the groups’ tens of thousands of followers, according to The Plain Dealer.
During his public career. Kasich has frequently shown a disdain for those who disagree with him and a pattern of being rude to anyone who tries.
As the chair of the House Budget Committee, he once refused to meet with a small contingent of Columbus area ministers who traveled to Washington seeking more money for the growing number of homeless Ohioans. He had a policy of only meeting with constituents who wanted to cut the federal budget, his staff said, and these men of God wanted to make the budget bigger. When they refused to leave his office, Kasich had them arrested and jailed for trespassing, recounted minister Gary Witte. By doing so, Kasich cost the taxpayers money to arrest and lock up faith leaders who wanted to help the homeless, rather than avoid the arrest-related costs simply by listening to their concerns.
Members of both political parties have been on the receiving end of his anger and disdain for sunshine.
State Auditor David Yost wanted to audit the books of JobsOhio, Kasich’s controversial public-private economic development agency. Yost pressed on, but Kasich got Republicans to change the law and block public oversight of state liquor store revenues used to fund JobsOhio. It sped through the legislature in less than a week with no public debate. Kasich signed it into law in a private ceremony.
His passion for government in the dark is well documented.
Before he took office, Kasich refused to release resumes of those seeking patronage jobs in his administration. After taking office, both environmental groups and a reproductive rights organization were among those forced to sue the administration to get public records. And amid a high-profile data-scrubbing scandal by his appointees at the Ohio Department of Education, emails showed higher-ups were walking records into each other’s offices, rather than create a public paper trail. “They have to be walked up, not emailed, not printed. Just handwritten on paper. Thanks!” according to an email obtained by the Columbus Dispatch
His prickly nature and tales of angry tantrums have dogged Kasich throughout his long career. He’s been trying of late to keep his dark side under wraps by calling himself “The Prince of Light,” hugging folks along the campaign trail and decrying negative campaigning (while engaging in it).
During his first run for President, news accounts say he threw a cup of coffee at a young female staffer. She would not confirm or deny the incident but back home in Ohio, it was believable enough for Ohio’s popular lefty blog, Plunderbund, to include “coffee-mugged” on its Short Lexicon of Ohio Political Speak:
coffee-mugged: v., to assault a campaign staffer by tossing a cup of coffee, either full or empty, either hot or cold. Usage: “John Kasich has such a volatile temper that he coffee-mugged a young woman staffer during his short-lived run for president.’’
“The challenge for Kasich is to overcome his legendary persona – more “Prince of Spite” than “Prince of Light,” unapologetically brusque, insensitive and even mean,’’ Politico said in a piece headlined “How mean old John Kasich became Mr. Nice.’’
“Does Ohio need an SOB as Governor,’’ an alternative weekly, The Other Paper, once asked in a headline about his first run for governor.
“Is John Kasich too big a jerk to be president,’’ wondered long-time Plain Dealer columnist Brent Larkin.
Another question to ponder: Should someone with his temperament have access to the nuclear launch codes?