I'll make this quick since I need to run out and buy another bottle of Four Roses Single Barrel and anesthetize myself before tonight's Republican shit-flinging gets underway.
I disagree with a substantial number of John Kasich's beliefs and policy proposals, but I still respect the man. Kasich is worthy of respect because whether or not you share his view of what American should be, he's a serious person with years of experience in government and he's running for president in 2016 because he genuinely wants to lead the country. He's putting himself through the torture and humiliation of the current Republican campaign process for the reasons Republicans used to put themselves through the (infinitely less torturous and humiliating) campaign process: he believes in being a public servant.
Knowing this, it's not exactly a shock that he finally blew up a little yesterday, voicing his frustration that as a serious candidate trying to do serious things he's looking around at his fellow candidates and his party in general and finding nothing he even vaguely recognizes. "I've about had it with these people," Kasich said yesterday at a campaign rally in Ohio, referring to his competitors. "One of the guys wants to abolish Medicare and Medicaid. Another guy wants to deport 10 million people out of America... We’re gonna pick them up and we’re gonna take them to the border and scream at them to get out of our country?That's crazy. That is just crazy.”
Kasich's summation: "What has happened to our party? What has happened the conservative movement?"
The answer to that question is so obvious it hardly needs to be answered. It was an inside job. The Republican party destroyed itself, first allowing Fox News and talk radio to set its message and stoke the fears and resentments of its base, then standing by and watching as John McCain unleashed the one of the dumbest people to currently be sucking down oxygen on the American electorate, then cheering as it was hijacked by tea party extremists furious over the election of Barack Obama. The party allowed its voice to become that of the furthest reaches of the conservative fringe -- the fringe that had become the movement. There's simply no place for people like John Kasich in the Republican party anymore. And that's fucking tragic.
If you thought Donald Trump turned the last couple of Republican debates into a shit-show, just wait for tonight. For the first time since throwing his hair in the ring, he isn't on top of the polls -- and rather than respond like an adult to the news that the latest Iowa and national surveys put heavily sedated, formerly stabby Ben Carson in the lead he's already taken to responding like, well, Donald Trump. Trump literally said, "I don't get it," when asked about his drop, because it's likely he genuinely can't grasp the notion of not getting something he wants. He's confused and indignant about suddenly not being able to bludgeon the other candidates with his position at the top of the heap, which means he's certain to be especially juvenile in his attacks on everyone he knows is beneath him, even if the faulty, unfair polls taken by people who don't like him anyway don't bear it out.
Trump's sure to go after Carson hard, since he just can't see himself being one-upped by a loser like him. But while those two are exchanging handfuls of monkey shit, look down at the end of the row of podiums and imagine what it's like for John Kasich, a guy who can't understand what either of them are doing on that stage, much less struggling for supremacy in a race for the White House. An asshole reality TV star making snide comments about a sleepy surgeon with no political experience whatsoever isn't the Republican party or conservative movement Kasich remembers. It isn't the same Republican party or conservative movement any of us remember. It's an embarrassment and nothing more.