An Extremist in Moderate Clothing

On issues from women’s health to education, John Kasich is far from moderate.

On Issues From Women’s Health To Education, John Kasich Is Far From Moderate

We are one caucus, one primary, and eight GOP presidential debates into the primary season, and it seems like it could be anyone’s race. After a second place finish in the New Hampshire Primary, Ohio Governor John Kasich is gaining traction as a possible “moderate” alternative to the demagoguery of Donald Trump and extremism of Sen. Ted Cruz. Sen. Rubio’s debate glitch last week also helped Kasich’s case for being a more electable moderate choice for the Party establishment. It is true that Kasich, like Rubio, is less extreme than Trump and Cruz. But being less extreme than the two frontrunners does not make Kasich moderate. A look at his policies show that Kasich is just as extreme and out of touch as most of the GOP field. Here are just a few examples proving John Kasich is far from moderate:

  • His economic plan favors the wealthy at the expense of working and middle class families. In October, Kasich released his five-point “action plan” for “reclaiming our power, money, and influence from Washington,” which proposes a number of spending and tax cuts. Kasich wants to freeze non-defense discretionary spending for 8 years. Non-defense discretionary funding supports a wide variety of programs including medical care for veterans, disaster prevention and relief, support for K-12 education for low-income students and students with disabilities, job training, Pell Grants, housing and food assistance, and many more. And due to inflation and population growth, freezing spending effectively cuts funding for programs that provide opportunity and economic security for working families. Additionally, Kasich’s five-point plan provides tax giveaways to the wealthy, just like the rest of the GOP tax plans.
  • Kasich has repeatedly undermined support for women’s health in Ohio. Right after Kasich’s big second-place “win” in New Hampshire, the Ohio state legislature voted to cut off $1.3 million in public health grants for Planned Parenthood. Kasich has announced he will sign that bill into law, with his spokesman calling it a “fiscally responsible move.” The reduction in funding means Planned Parenthood clinics in Ohio have less funding for health screenings and prenatal care, which is particularly troubling for Ohio, a state that already has a high infant mortality rate among African Americans. Kasich has also signed every single anti-choice bill that has come across his desk, including restrictive anti-choice bills that led to the closing of half of Ohio’s abortion clinics.
  • Kasich undermines unions in Ohio. Kasich strongly supported a bill in Ohio that would have curbed collective bargaining rights for public sector employees in Ohio. The bill would have prohibited 350,000 workers—including firemen, police officers, and teachers—from bargaining for better pensions or health care benefits. Kasich signed this bill into law, but the bill was defeated in a state-wide referendum. And while Kasich spent time going after unions, Ohio’s families continue to feel squeezed by rising costs and stagnating wages.

In addition, Kasich has cut funding for public education in Ohio, opposed the auto rescue that was vital to saving and creating jobs in Ohio, supported fracking, and plans to block grant Medicaid if President, effectively slashing funding for health care for low-income people. He also wants to create a federal agency to promote “Judeo-Christian Western values.” And, even though he claims credit for expanding Medicaid in Ohio, Kasich has vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which would eliminate that Medicaid expansion.

BOTTOM LINE: No matter how many times Gov. Kasich calls himself a moderate, the reality is he is just as extreme as his competitors in the GOP primary. His policies work for the wealthy at the expense of working class families, undermine women’s health, and weaken unions and workers’ rights.

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