LOS ANGELES, December 21, 2015 — When Ohio Governor John Kasich spoke at the Republican Jewish Coalition 2015 Presidential Candidates Forum, he displayed the qualities that have earned him both praise and condemnation.
Kasich was introduced by RJC member Brad Kasten. The forum is part job interview, but Kasich treated it like a trip down memory lane. He spent far too much time on the past, to the frustration of many in the audience.
Kasich began by waxing poetic about how Judaism teaches us to worship something higher than ourselves. He spoke about his trip to Israel and his respect for Soviet dissident Anatoly Sharansky. It was poignant, but Kasich took time that could have been spent on policy. This was a sophisticated audience that wanted to hear policy, not homilies.
Kasich spoke in professorial tones that conveyed seriousness but not inspiration. He took the approach of competence over ideology, even though ideology is what motivates people to act. He said that it is acceptable to work with the other side and reminded everyone that he worked with Democrats to balance the budget in 1996.
“I don’t tell you that record to brag.”
He spoke about the beauty of multilateralism, but said he is willing to go it alone if necessary.
He described his plan to balance the budget. He would reform entitlements and still have enough money left to spend on defense. He believes it would take between six and eight years to balance the budget and could not be done in four years.