Ohio governor John Kasich has been getting some good press following his performance in the first Republican debate because he seemed to come across as somewhat moderate in his views. But Kasich appears moderate only when compared with some of the more extreme anti-gay, anti-Obamacare stances taken by his rivals. It is such a sad reflection on Republican positions that all Kasich had to say is that he attended a same-sex wedding and supported Medicare expansion to be seen as some kind of enlightened person.
But we should remember that as governor Kasich has put in place some of the most extreme anti-abortion measures in the nation and his vicious assault on Planned Parenthood could result in one of the largest metropolitan areas in the nation being without any access to surgical abortions.
Over the past four years the strongly conservative Ohio legislature has led a series of restrictive measures on abortion facilities, gradually limiting provision by placing incremental hurdles in its path.
The number of clinics in the state has plummeted from 17 to nine. A further three clinics – Cincinnati and Dayton among them – are in imminent danger of closing.
The withering of abortion provisions in the state has happened under the watch of Governor John Kasich, who since he came into office in 2011 has signed no fewer than 16 anti-abortion measures into law.
Despite the position he has staked out in his presidential campaign as the moderate face of the Republican party – in contrast to the anti-immigration antics of Donald Trump or the Tea Party rhetoric of Ted Cruz – Kasich’s record in Ohio puts him at the frontline of the rightwing war on abortion.
Kasich has also been a leader in undermining public education and promoting for-profit charter schools, many of which that have shown themselves to be run by corrupt people seeking to enrich themselves. Kasich’s administration has been accused of shielding their activities from public scrutiny.
He has also continued the Republican policies of cutting taxes on the rich and cutting funding for schools and local governments that have resulted in cuts in services.
This is what passes for being a ‘moderate’ Republican these days.