John Kasich was a once a Republican Revolutionary. He was a loyal Gingrich lieutenant who served as Budget Committee Chairman in the 1990’s.
During that time he was key player in pushing for tax cuts, welfare reform, and shrinking government. He was seen as a real conservative leader who had a touch of Jack Kemp’s blue collar appeal with a head full of budget numbers. You could think of him as Paul Ryan version 1.0.
If I were Rip Van Winkle and went to sleep in 1996 I would be stunned to wake up now and see that he has become the defender of expanding Medicaid in Ohio.
Yet, that is exactly what has happened. This is making many of his conservative supporters very angry. Some critics say it is just an opportunity to move to the center and get reelected after signing a restrictive abortion law over the summer.
However, it is a move that if he decides to run in 2016 (of course that means he gets reelected in 2014) this will be used against him. The Medicaid expansion is a key component of Obamacare, which is as popular with conservative activists as stomach cancer.
So you can imagine the lines from someone like Ted Cruz, “I fought to repeal Obamacare and Kasich worked to implement it.”