Worst Week Ever!: John Kasich 2011

The year 2011 will always be remembered as the year Ohio met John Kasich. Here's a collection of Worst Week Ever! news briefs documenting the governor's tumultuous first year in office.

click to enlarge He hides behind those glasses, but don't let hiim fool you. He's a sensitive guy.
He hides behind those glasses, but don't let hiim fool you. He's a sensitive guy.


Incoming Ohio Gov. John Kasich has already gone on the record with his thoughts on government transparency: He don’t like it. That’s why it wasn’t surprising to learn today that Kasich won’t say how much money he spent on his four-day inauguration celebration last week. But for those interested in the price tag on a tribute to incoming Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, two swearing-in ceremonies, an inaugural ball and a free family day at the Statehouse (and the corresponding cleaning of every decorative item within a 3-year-old’s reach), a new state law requires the expenses to be reported to the Ohio Secretary of State by Jan. 15. Andrew Cuomo, New York’s new governor, said his scaled-down ceremony in Albany last month was due to the economy’s “austere setting” and him not wanting to look like a “real dick.”


There are obvious reasons for normal people to doubt John Kasich’s motivations as Ohio’s leader for the next four years: his disdain for high-speed rail, disinterest in environmental protection and dickishness when asked a normal question by the media are all well-documented (“Turn those goddam cameras off — I’m tryin’ ta take a bath!”). But one state Senator who recently visited the Republican governor to discuss the lack of diversity among members of his cabinet came away willing to vouch for one thing: Kasich’s confidence in serving Ohio without minority representation. After speaking to Kasich for about an hour, Cleveland state senator Shirley Smith, a black Democrat, said she was disappointed with the situation and also slightly offended that Kasich insisted on taking a photo with her just to prove he has black friends.


Sometimes even a liberal has to admit that the government is getting so big that it’s best to simply sell parts of it so the free market has to deal with all the headaches. (Voting is a real pain in the ass if you think about it.) That’s why it was refreshing today to hear Gov. John Kasich’s latest consideration: selling the Ohio Turnpike if he can get $2.5 billion for it. Kasich said a billion from the deal could be used for other roads, bridges and harbors with the rest set aside to sue the private company that operates the turnpike should it ever block all the exit ramps like the one that made New Jersey suck so bad.


There are some things about Democracy that you have to admit are pretty cool, even if you’re 

concerned with our nation’s rising debt and uncertain economic future. One of them is the ability to hold elected leaders to standards of ethics defined by the culture at large. Unfortunately for Ohioans, the new private corporation in charge of bringing jobs to Ohio — along with the California resident currently heading the company — is more or less exempted from such oversight. In response to media requests for more information about JobsOhio than simply a new name and logo, John Kasich reportedly faxed every newspaper in the state the chorus of Cee Lo Green’s “Fuck You” song.


Any time someone tells you that they don’t agree with you “per se,” it’s likely that what they’re really saying is that they totally disagree with you but don’t want to sound like a dick — “You’re not a bad journalist, per se, it’s just that your continued use of passive voice makes me think you’re a bad person.” Gov. John Kasich today used similar language to explain how his support for Senate Bill 5 isn’t because he’s against unions, more like a supporter of public sector jobs that pay less. Kasich said the bill is the only way for him to keep his campaign promise to create equality between public- and private-sector workers because he already asked private companies to pay their workers more and they said no.


Sometimes it’s important to have a 90-day waiting period — what if you’re purchasing a gun and there’s a chance you might change your mind on which type of animal you want to kill with it? Gov. John Kasich has no such reservations about the recently signed Senate Bill 5, which contains within it a rare condition that it is to take effect immediately, unlike most laws which contain 90-day waiting periods. The law is expected to be put on hold until the November election, however, as opponents of 1920s-era working conditions are expected to gather the 230,000 valid signatures to get it on the ballot so they can try to have rights again.


The Ohio Transportation Review Advisory Council today voted 6-1 to withdraw $52 million in funding from Cincinnati’s proposed streetcar project and is expected to instead award the money to a highway project to be chosen by the next person who beats John Kasich at golf.


Sometimes solving problems is a lot more complicated than the average person realizes — you might think entering “0” for “a” in a quadratic equation makes things simpler, but you’re really just making it into a linear equation and acting like an asshole (good luck computing trajectory in projectile motion with that). Gov. John Kasich is currently performing a similarly dickish computation, placing a bunch of zeros on the side of an equation where public schools get funded while multiplying stuff on the side of school-choice vouchers. Some state representatives would like to triple the current size of the school-choice program, which provides students who live near low-performing public schools $4,000-$5,000 scholarships to use at private schools where tuition money goes farther due to the 

immeasurable impacts of the free market.


Even those of us who are frequent critics of The Cincinnati Enquirer due to its 

blatantly pro-business slant can appreciate a fair and thoughtful article about a local Republican speaking out against someone we don’t like. Unfortunately, today’s story about state Sen. Bill Seitz suggesting that Gov. John Kasich tone down his “Dirty Harry routine” was completely ruined by a reporter’s decision to describe Kasich’s governing style as “punctuated by pungent vows and rejoinders.” A consequent dictionary search found the words to be fairly accurate, but a quick use of a thesaurus also suggested the phrase “shit-talking former Lehman Brothers executive with a 40-percent approval rating,” which would have been easier to understand.


Do you know someone who insists on carrying a concealed weapon in public? Probably the type of person willing to jump to action at the first sign of injustice, using his or her weapon only for good and never accidentally shooting anyone or raging? Either way, the Ohio House today approved legislation that would allow gun owners to carry loaded, concealed weapons into bars and restaurants despite most state law enforcement groups and the Ohio Restaurant Association saying it’s pretty much a bad idea. The state Senate last month approved a similar bill, and Gov. John Kasich says he’s looking forward to signing whichever one gets to him first and then wearing his bulletproof vest to the local TGI Friday’s where people get in fights a lot.


It’s difficult to understand why Gov. John Kasich does many of the things he does — one day he’s offering tax breaks to any corporation interested in investing in Ohio, the next day he’s raising taxes on casino developers because Ohio taxpayers got a bad deal. That’s why it was nice to learn today that Kasich has recently promised to do something that makes total sense: get rid of Ohio’s pink drivers licenses. Kasich reportedly took a break during a speaking engagement with Dayton-area business leaders to express dissatisfaction with his newly acquired salmon-colored Ohio ID. The state reportedly chose the color because it is one of the most difficult to duplicate on a fake license, to which Kasich said, “That shit is gay as hell.”


If you’re a normal person who regularly reads about the things Gov. John Kasich has done since taking office, then you probably sometimes wish there existed a giant hole you could crawl down into, far enough to never again read the words, “Kasich says pink stuff is gay.” Unfortunately for you, the only such hole that exists was created by Kasich when he decided to raise the agreed-upon tax rate on the casino developers who were just about to start providing jobs and revenue for the state. Labor groups today protested the vacant construction site at Broadway Commons, which they have dubbed “Kasich’s Crater,” arguing that the 1,000 idle construction jobs are hurting the economy almost as badly as Kasich said Ted Strickland policies did, only this is real.


John Kasich today took a break from his pink drivers license-fixing agenda to do something that actually might be appreciated by a majority of Ohioans (or at least the 40 percent who still approve of him): issuing an official proclamation praising the Dallas Mavericks basketball team solely to insult former Ohioan LeBron James. The use of state resources for such pettiness has drawn support from Cleveland residents still angry about James’ departure from their basketball team, although the state’s Tea Party supporters were reportedly so mad about the state wasting money on an anti-capitalist message that they broke into a Columbus sporting goods store and threw out all the basketball jerseys.


Most people know what it’s like to be tempted by a made-for-TV offer, especially if it includes a clock ticking down toward the moment you will no longer be able to receive the deal (at zero the commercial ends and the magic towel company goes out of business). Ohio Gov. John Kasich would have been better off trying to have one of his housecleaners do the whole governor’s mansion with a single Super Absorbent ChamoisTM than the stunt he pulled today, offering to negotiate over SB5 well after opponents had secured the necessary signatures to put a repeal effort on the November ballot. Union leaders declined the offer, which reportedly involved Kasich and Republican leaders waiting in a Statehouse conference room listening to Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run” and laughing their asses off.


It’s good to know that Ohio’s governor has the time to break away from his busy schedule of

selling Ohio’s stuff to private companies

making Ohio more business-friendly to right an institutional wrong perpetrated by the laws of this state. The governor today reduced the charges against a woman convicted of falsifying documents in order to send her child to a different school, the latest in an ongoing case Kasich has used to promote the expansion of school voucher programs. The single mother, who was concerned about safety at the public school her children were supposed to attend, went so far as to change the address on her driver’s license and bank and employment documents. Kasich said the punishment didn’t fit the crime and that public high school football teams only suck because the athletes don’t work hard enough. 


Gov. John Kasich today unveiled the state’s newly designed license plate, a white rectangle with a red triangle at the top and seven blue letters on it. The new plate will replace the 2009 “Beautiful Ohio” plate, which Kasich says is misleading to people who live near Dayton.

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