John Kasich seems most interested in winning the contest for Most Sanctimonious. He isn’t even likely to win the Ohio primary, let alone capture the GOP presidential nomination.
There was a time when Kasich looked like a serious contender. But he has gone out of his way to offend everyone, especially those who believe in shrinking government.
Perhaps Kasich’s strangest electoral ploy has been to present himself as God’s candidate. Two years ago he decided to expand Medicaid eligibility in his state. How to best provide health care for those with lesser incomes is a tough issue.
But Kasich didn’t stop at trying to make a practical case for his proposal. Instead, he trashed opponents as “hard-hearted or cold-hearted.”
After pushing the line that Medicaid expansion was the only alternative to leaving the poor “out in the street,” he declared that God, or at least heaven’s gatekeeper, St. Peter, was for it. He told a state legislator: “Now, when you die and get to the, get to the, uh, to the meeting with St. Peter, he’s probably not gonna ask you much about what you did about keeping government small, but he’s going to ask you what you did for the poor. Better have a good answer.”
Kasich doubled down a year later when challenged personally over his plan for Medicaid expansion: “when I get to the pearly gates, I’m going to have an answer for what I’ve done for the poor.”
This year he went on Meet the Press where he declared: “As a big fan of that handbook that the Lord’s handed us, the Old and New Testament, there’s a lot in there … about our need to take care of the widowed, the poor, the disadvantaged.”
During his presidential campaign he offered to buy Bibles for his critics: “There’s a book. It’s got a new part and an old part. They put it together. It’s a remarkable book. If you don’t have one, I’ll buy you one. And it talks about how we treat the poor.”
Instead of giving away Bibles he might spend more time reading his own. Paul wrote the Corinthian church: “I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love.” (2 Corinthians 8:9)
Indeed, when the Macedonian churches gave, it reflected the grace of God, not government: “Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.” (2 Corinthians 8:2)
Worse, though, is the fact that Kasich apparently has not lived up to his own rhetoric by helping personally. In the moving vision of the separation of the sheep and the goats Christ’s (not St. Peter’s!) statement is “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” Jesus did not say whatever you voted to take from your neighbors for the hungry, thirsty, lonely, naked, sick, and imprisoned you did for me. Indeed, what made the famed Samaritan good was personally helping the person in front of him, not voting in the next election for a politician promising to create a government agency.
Kasich has not released his recent tax returns. However, we have that for 2008, which he provided during the 2010 gubernatorial campaign.
On an income of nearly $1.4 million he donated $27,326, not even two percent. Yet Paul urged “just as you excel in everything … see that you also excel in this grace of giving.” (2 Corinthians 8:7) Kasich may be a good Catholic, but he appears to have missed his priest’s homilies on charity.
Kasich isn’t likely to be the GOP presidential nominee. But he still might attract interest as a vice presidential nominee.
As I wrote for the American Spectator online: “His prickly determination to be the most obnoxious candidate should give pause. Along with his claim to be doing God’s work. Whether cynical or delusional, it’s an argument that should disqualify him from sitting in the Oval Office.”