Saturday, November 1, 2014

Bluff and Gruff Kasich headed for second term - for awhile

Re-posted from Plunderbund

Gov. Kasich's boorish behavior during  his so-called appearance before an editorial board collection from the Plain Dealer and NEO Media Group emphasized once again  that his ego has placed strict  limits on even mildly deferring to the media and his political opponents.  He likes his own rigid vision of governance in an open society.

Sort of name, rank and serial number. He even felt it was unworthy of his unique status to return a questionnaire  from the League of Women Voters of Greater  Cleveland as he slouches toward Election Day.

From video clips, I caught a few glimpses of his shadowy performance with the editorial board on  Cleveland TV with  Ed FitzGerald, the Democratic candidate,  and Green Party candidate Anita Rios. With his huge lead in the polls, he should have led the discussion while extending gentlemanly courtesies to FitzGerald and Rios.   But not even a fist bump.

That has always been the governor's raffish disposition.  As the self-anointed Blue Collar Kid, he remains in his old schoolyard stance daring the other kids to annoy him.

Although his rise in politics has been well documented, it still is interesting to see how his various career tasks have shaped  the odds and ends of his political bravado, from earlier elected offices to his works as a Fox News host and as managing director of Lehman Brothers in Columbus,  the Wall Street outfit that collapsed in 2008.

He began to lay the foundation of his career with a 3-year hitch  as the administrative assistant to   then state Sen.  Donald E. Buz Lukens in 1975.  Lukens, a poster child for hard-right conservatism, died in 2010  in disgrace with a rap sheet that sent him to jail for propositioning a young elevator operator n Washington; he  also was  later convicted of bribery involving two Ohio businessmen.  The New York Times' obit  described him as a "scandal-tainted lawmaker".

A modern Machiavellian,  the guy never knew when or where to stop. A dashingly handsome operative  from Middletown, Oh., he left a trail of questions, many unanswered,  about his public and private moves that spanned his campaign expenditures and other wrong turns.

But his biggest political gambit  came against Gov. Rhodes,  who was going to run for the U.S. Senate,   a job that Lukens also coveted.  Life magazine entered the Ohio landscape with a piece that accused Rhodes of misusing campaign money.

When I wrote a long story in the Beacon Journal shifting some of the curse to Lukens' hand in the piece, he blew up, held a press conference in D.C. and referred to me as a liar and a "kid" (Didn't I wish!).  But my repertorial equilibrium was  restored by a Lukens aide who later confided to me that Buz  was furious that the story was so accurate  that it clearly was leaked to me by somebody  on his staff.

So now I won't insist that with Kasich hanging out earlier - from 1975 to 1978 -  with then State Sen. Lukens as his administrative assistant,  he learned all of his  current bad habits. But at the least, some seeds  could have been planted in an easily ipressed  young man with his own soaring career goals being etched in stone.

Although the governor's current spate of comericials have rebranded him as a born-again Mr. Nice Guy,  there has been little evidence of that beyond his carefully honed TV claims.

Ohio, we have a problem.

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