Thursday, March 24, 2016


Is it just me, or is the hatred a lot of conservatives have turned on John Kasich kind of weird? I don't like the guy myself; as we have been repeatedly reminded, Kasich is just another rightwing monster. But it would never occur to me to say he had no right to stay in the race -- politics is about power, and if he has some leverage with the GOP why would he sell it cheap?

Yet this week at National Review there's an article by Jeremy Carl called "The Insane Campaign of John Kasich" containing such nuggets as "The campaign of John Kasich is a joke, and not a particularly funny one," "Not for nothing did National Review’s own Rich Lowry recently say that 'Kasich is playing a selfish and delusional role,'" "Kasich has zero grassroots support," "Kasich's delusional campaign," etc.

There are of course Trump fans or crypto-fans who beat up on Kasich -- like Rush Limbaugh going on about "Republican establishment types promoting John Kasich" -- but you expect them to seethe and spit about anyone who opposes them. From the anti-Trump conservative establishment guys, though, the level of anger is just strange.

I mean, RedState calls him a "sanctimonious butt-boil" (elsewhere at the site: "Everyone Hates John Kasich," "How Many Delegates Will John Kasich win for Trump Today?" "John Kasich Enshrined In The G.O.P. Hall of Shame," etc). "John Kasich appears to have tapped into a special kind of madness," says Conservative Review in an article called "John Kasich: Agent of Chaos." "Delusional Kasich Came In 4th In 3 Man Race," headlines The Lonely Conservative. ("Delusional" appears a lot in this genre of writing.)

When the news side of rightwing outlets do "coverage" of Kasich, we get stuff like this from the Washington Times, written shortly before the Ohio primary (which Kasich won by 11 percent over Trump):
Gov. John Kasich says his presidential aspirations hinge on delivering a win in his home state of Ohio, but five days out from the Republican primary contest, it appears he is going to have to do it without the help of his own state’s grass-roots Republican activists, who say he turned his back on them years ago
I think part of this savagery has been inspired by Kasich's tactic of talking a moderate game -- Lonely Conservative, for example, gripes that "Kasich’s recent statements about Merrick Garland are only the latest in a long line of leftward sprints by Kasich throughout the course of his campaign and governorship." But what else could he do? Kasich couldn't get to the right of Trump or Cruz without proposing a cabinet-level Department of Fag-Bashing; faking to the left is the smart play. Maybe the brethren can't stand that anyone in the Party would try outreach even as a tactic.

But I believe the real deal is this: As I've been saying, these guys want to stop Trump because he doesn't owe them anything and would mess up their patronage, not because of any real ideological issue. The last guy they elected President created Medicare Part D, for crying out loud! Sure, they prefer the doctrinaire purity of Ted Cruz, but were Trump some blowhard governor who'd worked his way (or, ahem, her way) up the system and suddenly caught fire with America's mouth-breathers, instead of an outsider, they'd be lining his path with palms.

So they're busy setting up the big hit on Trump, and here's Kasich getting in their way for the most conservative possible reason -- his own rational self-interest. Oh, they can buy him -- but he won't be cheap. So they're not mad because he speaks heresies, or even because he really stands a chance of getting Trump elected. They're mad because he's costing them money. They can't say that, of course, so they choose the language of high moral dudgeon, as if Kasich were a poor person who got to eat a steak. But I see what's behind it. Nobody is madder than a wingnut who lost on a deal.

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