Gov. John Kasich gave his annual, and last, “State of the State” speech Tuesday night in his hometown of Westerville. It was strange, and strangely self-indulgent.
The governor chose not to address, with any specificity or new ideas, the many pressing policy issues that bedevil the state of Ohio.
Instead, much of his talk was about philosophy and the history of political and religious thinking, beginning with Plato on down to the Existentialists.
We got nothing about Lake Erie and the algae blooms and the runoff of agricultural manure.
We got nothing new on opioids — no new money and no new ideas.
Gun laws in the state of Ohio could use some leadership, and quickly. Mr. Kasich devoted many minutes to praises for Westerville’s small-town ambience and lamenting the tragic slayings of two police officers by a man who was in illegal possession of a gun. But nothing was said about what should be done about it.
Mr. Kasich recounted historical instances of individuals showing courage, including whistleblowers who revealed that Wells Fargo was creating phony credit accounts or that $31,000 worth of furniture was ordered for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson.
And that brought him to himself, and his expansion of Medicaid eligibility to allow more Ohioans to qualify for federal assistance for health care — a decision that was brave and that significantly disappointed some on the far right.
But what has Mr. Kasich done for the poor of Ohio, or anyone in Ohio, lately?
EDITORIAL: Where are you, John Kasich?
And what does he plan to do?.
What was the purpose of this rambling philosophical discourse? Is it related to the governor’s quest for the White House, which never ends or pauses and seemingly leaves no room for the people and problems of Ohio?
Mr. Kasich is utterly detched. He has lost sight of the job he was elected to do — to oversee the administration of the government of the state of Ohio. Instead he plays at being philosopher-in-chief. He’s been spending so much time campaigning for president since 2016 that maybe he doesn’t know what’s going on here.
Americans do want a president who behaves according to sound moral principles. But if Mr. Kasich wants to be that man he needs to drop the public moralizing and demonstrate that he can provide leadership on practical issues in the year he has left in office.
Americans also want presidents who focus on real issues and do not preach sermons in place of action.
But there is also a more fundamental issue here: If you are elected to do a job for the people and are paid to do it, you ought to do that job. Mr. Kasich is not doing his job. He spends his time seeking another, better job. Where in the private sector would that be tolerated?
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