Ohio Governor John Kasich picked “poodles” – softball interviewers – for his return to public view after dropping out of the Republican presidential primary race in early May, following another shellacking at the polls in Indiana.

Ohio's lame duck governor invited CNN celebrity Anderson Cooper to come to the largely unoccupied Ohio governor's mansion (because Kasich chooses to continue to live in his rural Westerville palatial estate at additional cost to the taxpayer).

Cooper took time off from promoting his latest money-making project -- a book about him and his celebrity mom -- sandwiched in between his stand-up appearance in Columbus with a friend -- to welcome Kasich back to the public spotlight by letting Ohio's blabbermouth Gov say whatever, largely unfiltered and completely unobstructed by follow-up questions.

Kasich decided it would be cooler to do a national celebrity interview on presidential politics than to hold a press conference with Ohio reporters where some misguided soul might act like a journalist rather than a sycophant and ask why Ohio taxpayers paid over $1 million for Kasich's presidential security and travel expenses, exactly how much was spent and exactly for what and when would Kasich's campaign be paying back the taxpayers.

Another reporter not with the ass-kissing program might then ask why Kasich would rather campaign for president in Connecticut than travel to rural Piketon, Ohio, and minister to the frightened residents who lost 8 brethren to a massacre by still unknown assailants.

None of that happened and it may never happen. Kasich has an agenda and he picked Cooper to propagate it.

Kingmaker Kasich Plays Hard To Get

The new Kasich agenda is to be political kingmaker, as I predicted in an earlier column.

Kasich is playing the stereotypical female role of his youth: hard to get.

First, he told Cooper that he would not accept the vice presidential nomination to run with the likely GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump. Kasich said that being governor of Ohio was the second-best job in the land. Since Kasich has barely set foot in Ohio the past year, he apparently considers running for president the second best job in the land. Kasich's relationship with the truth is as casual as Trump's.

Second, Kasich said he was “undecided” about endorsing and voting for Trump. This breaks a promise he made more than once in public debates to support the GOP nominee. In other words Kasich was telling us lies when he took the pledge. Can we believe anything Kasich told us before or will tell us in the future? Probably not.

More callously, Kasich hid behind the skirts of his wife and daughters by blaming them for his reluctance to support Trump.

The rest of the interview was a veiled attempt by Kasich to demonize Trump as a raw cynic while painting himself as a spiritual unifier. Even star-struck Cooper found it pretty boring television and moved on.

In summary, Little Johnny Kasich, mister 1-out-of 46 (as Trump pegged him), is playing hard to get with The Donald. Johnny thinks that Donny desperately needs Johnny's support to win battleground Ohio's 18 electoral votes to have a shot at winning the Presidency.

Translated, Johnny wants something, or somethings, from Donny in order to give that precious support. Either Donny bends to Johnny's will and makes the dirty political deal or Donny comes up short, the theory goes.

I bet Donald Trump tells John Kasich to blow it out his ear, figuring that the Trump blitzkrieg is so powerful that it will win Ohio anyway.

On Nov. 9 look for Kasich in the Buckeye Ditch, run over by the metaphorical political bus, driven and riven by The Donald.

“Poodles” Fail To Ask Tough Questions

A week after the Cooper gasbag fest, Kasich stopped hiding from Ohio journalists, such as they are, and invited in his favorite Buckeye "poodles," Darrel Rowland of the Columbus Dispatch (dispatch.com) and Henry Gomez of cleveland.com (affiliated with the Cleveland Plain Dealer).

Kasich knew the poodles would dutifully report whatever he told them and that they would not ask him the following embarrassing questions:

How much did Ohio taxpayers pay for security and travel during your presidential campaign?
Will you pay back the estimated $1 million-plus?
Will you repay the taxpayers from your presidential campaign account's $1.1 million surplus?
Why did you fail to visit the folks near Piketon whose family and friends were massacred?
Why did you renege on your oft-stated pledge to support the eventual GOP presidential nominee (Trump)?

Remember the good old days when the Statehouse was covered by gutsy reporters like Rick Zimmerman, Jim Underwood, Sandy Theis and Mary Anne Sharkey. They would have smacked Kasich upside the head with hardball questions like the ones above and peppered him with better ones.

You see, those four and their ilk were journalists. They set the agenda. They covered what needed to be covered, not necessarily what their subjects wanted to be covered. They were reporters, not stenographers.

Stenographers Rowland and Gomez, granted a half-hour audience with Pope John, dutifully wrote about Kasich's diss of Trump, his new book project, taking his daughter to a rock concert, his lame excuses for not catching on as a presidential candidate, and his fervent desire to privatize Ohio (even after the charter school and prison debacles).

The Prince of Bullshit played wordsmith to explain his failed campaign: “Because it is easier to consider yourself a victim than it is to stand against the wind.” As if he were Ohio's Poet Laureate. Not!


  • The Washington Post showed how reporters dig for truth and shamed Trump into paying the $1 million he pledged months ago to veterans' groups.
  • Plunderbund.com ran out of patience with the Kasich Dept. of Education Secrecy and filed suit for records involving David Hanson and the charter school debacle.
  • I watched a stunning documentary about vote suppression in Ohio on the Free Speech For All channel called American Blackout. I recommend it.
  • Who in their right mind is against electing Columbus City Council members by wards? Government closer to the people is always better, but watch the powers that be go all out to defeat it in order to hold onto their fiefdoms in the Aug. 2 special election.

Poetic Injustice

Sore about losing,
Political bruising,
Johnny holds out,
Defeatist pout,
Donny's bus cruising

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(ColumbusMediaInsider, copyright, 2016, John K. Hartman, All Rights Reserved)

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