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Kasich's choice

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For about a year and a half, Gov. John Kasich has not known whether he was a candidate for president or governor of Ohio.

THE BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH
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Gov. John Kasich is having an identity crisis.

For about a year and a half, Mr. Kasich has not known whether he was a candidate for president or governor of Ohio. This has left everyone who knows the 2016 presidential race is over confused and a lot of people in Ohio feeling neglected by an absentee governor.

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Now, in the wake of the latest school shooting, Mr. Kasich has used one of his many recent national news talk show appearances to take President Donald Trump to task on gun control.

This is a puzzler because Mr. Kasich ran for president in 2016 and governor in 2014 on a proud record of protecting gun rights.

He bragged about being endorsed by the National Rifle Association and about being a gun owner himself. He prided himself on protecting Ohio’s concealed carry laws and the privacy of concealed-carry permit holders.

In December, he signed a bill that lets people with concealed-carry permits take their guns into even more public places, including Ohio’s universities.

It is a little harder to find those boasts these days because after demanding Mr. Trump “take some steps” to curtail gun violence, Mr. Kasich revamped his website to erase the passages touting them. In their place is a new page on the issue calling for “common sense on the Second Amendment.”

When questioned about the switch, Mr. Kasich’s team explained that the governor’s opinions on gun issues have “evolved.”

Well change should be allowed, even encouraged. A thoughtful elected official should certainly be capable of evolving.

And in this case, Mr. Kasich’s positions seem to be evolving in a positive direction. He specifically called for banning bump stocks, which were used in the Las Vegas shooting last fall. That is also President Trump’s position — he’s actually doing it.

Since the governor has argued during his television appearances that sensible gun control needs to happen at the state and local level, maybe he would consider getting to work on that back here in Ohio.

Maybe he ought to work on something, anything, in Ohio. He is badly needed on the Lake Erie issue, but he is AWOL. Ohio has one of the worst problems with opioids in the nation. Yet the GOP’s self-anointed Mr. Compassion has yet to enage seriously on a scourge that is killing scores of Ohioans. State legislators, including prominant Republicans, say they not only do not meet with the governor regularly, they do not often see him.

If he cannot do both, Mr. Kasich needs to give up one of his jobs — either the one he enjoys that involves playing a foil to Mr. Trump on national news talk shows, or the one the people of Ohio elected him to do.

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