Ohio Governor John Kasich joined me in hour two of the program today:
HH: I’m joined at the beginning of this hour by Ohio Governor John Kasich. Governor, welcome. Are they still celebrating in Columbus after the great victory a week ago Monday night?
JK: Well you know, I’m in Utah right now. I’m here with our Senate president, Keith Faber, and we are meeting with the legislature, and we had a little press conference. And I thanked the people of Utah for sending Urban Meyer to Columbus, Ohio.
JK: So we’re having a lot of fun. Hugh, it’s been an amazing, it’s like the magical mystery tour for me. We’ve been, I’ve been in five states here in about a day and a half. I’ve been in North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, and now I’m headed to Idaho for purposes of pushing a balanced budget amendment, a Constitutional amendment to balance the federal budget by Congress. And I think I’ve got some good news to report. I mean, you never know how all this works out. But I am very optimistic. We’re making some significant progress on this. We were ten votes short of calling for a convention where I hope, you know, that Congress themselves would forward something to us. But if they don’t, then I think we ought to pass an amendment out of the convention, confirm it in the states, and get our fiscal house in order before we melt to the ground. Let me tell you one last quick thing. There was a couple of kids in Wyoming with me. One was like 11 or 12, and the other one was 10. And I called them out of the crowd. There were about seven legislators behind me. And I said boys, I want you to know that we’re all going to go to lunch, but you’re not invited. But I want you to know that you’re going to pay the bill for our lunch. How do you feel about that, boys? They were like, we don’t like that. And I said well, your bill’s going to be a lot bigger than the lunch bill I’m going to give you.
HH: That’s a great illustration. That’s actually, so of the ten states left of the 34 necessary to call for it, the six states that you are visiting, they have not yet added their names to the convention call?
JK: They have not. They have not. And I am very optimistic about North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming and now Utah. I’m optimistic about them, and you’ll begin to see the fighting occur and the opposition come. It comes from some on the extreme right, but you know what’s going to happen when the spenders realize that hey, this might actually happen. So it’s very interesting, Hugh, and we’re starting to generate a lot of attention. It’ll generate debate. And at the end of the day, maybe, just maybe, we can change the culture in Washington and save our kids.
HH: Now I want to ask you about a couple of other things, Governor. You’re quoted in the Columbus Dispatch today as saying it’s the privilege to be the governor of Ohio, that’s my focus, but I think if something else makes sense, if I think the field is lacking or there’s an opportunity, I’ll look at it. All my options are open. Did they get your correctly quoted? Are you thinking about maybe 2016?
JK: Well, my options are open, Hugh. I mean, I’m proud, you know, I’m going to sound like a politician here, but I’m proud to be governor of Ohio. We’re accomplishing a lot. I don’t want to run for president so I can, you know, sell a book or you know, get a television show. But I’m just going to keep all my options out there and see how things go. This is, you know, that’s it. No more to add to that.
HH: All right, now I want to ask you as well about the Medicaid expansion, because I was debating this with David Drucker.
HH: I don’t think this is an issue that drives the right. I think the state exchange does, but I don’t think the Medicaid expansion does, because every state’s got to, it wouldn’t work in California. It would overwhelm the state. But what are you running into on the trail out there? You’re going through states, some of which have done Medicaid expansion, some of which are debating it, some of which have refused it.
JK: I had one, I had a little exchange with one legislator in Montana, and outside of that, I’ve had none. I mean, what I tell people is I’m going to bring Ohio money back to Ohio. And what I’m, my goal is to lift every Ohioan. So if you’re drug-addicted, if you’re mentally ill, or if you’re working poor, we’re going to help you. But you’re going to have to assume some personal responsibility as well, and you’re going to see a significant welfare reform program coming in my budget. We expect when people go to get help, we expect the people who work for the government to not treat them like widgets and to realize they can change a life. And we need the people who get the help to understand that they need to be trained, and we need the business community and welfare offices, for the purpose of being able to get a job, because the key is to eliminate dependency. Help them when they’re down, help them to get up, but then get them a job, because we don’t want people to be depending on all these government programs for a lifetime, which obviously influences their kids. But in the short term, Hugh, we’ve got to help them. And you know, when conservatives ask me about it, I tell them to go read Matthew 25. What did you do to feed the hungry? What did you do to clothe the naked? I mean, that’s part of our responsibility as conservatives, to believe in the power of human transformation. And sometimes, that can only occur if you help somebody to see the way.
HH: And I’m curious about the politics, though, Governor. I don’t think it’s a big issue. If anything, it’ll be…
JK: Oh, Hugh, I’ve got to tell you, I don’t care about the politics.
HH: Okay. That’s interesting.
JK: I could care less about politics. All I know is I’m on this Earth to do my job, and I believe that it is my responsibility to help those folks. If people don’t like me because of that, that’s okay. I don’t care about the politics. Hugh, in our state, we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about politics. That’s the problem with the country. Everything is political.
HH: All right, let me ask you about a very political…
JK: Look at a problem, try to solve it, and move on.
HH: This is a very political issue. The Supreme Court accepted for review Ohio’s marriage amendment last week. Earlier this week on this show, Governor Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas governor, said if they rule against it, states shouldn’t go along with that. Governor Jindal was on earlier today. He said I’ll wait and see, I’m not going to tell you. Conservative Hugh Hewitt thinks if the Supreme Court strikes down the amendments, I’ll be unhappy, but you’ve got to comply. What does John Kasich think?
JK: Well, I think you’ve got to go along with the law is what I think. So hopefully, we’ll get, I don’t know that you’ll get a black and white ruling here. You know, I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. Somebody else wants to do something else, that’s up to them. But you know, I’m not out here, I’m not a hater. I just have my point of view on this. And if the Court rules that what we’ve done is not right, what am I, going to start saying no, I’m not going to pay attention to the Court because I don’t like your decisions?
HH: Well, that’s what Governor Huckabee said, and I’m kind of surprised by that. Conservatives go with the Supremacy Clause.
JK: Well look, I can’t speak for Mike. I think he’s a terrific guy. I’m just tell you what I see about this. But let’s wait and see what the Court does before we you know, let’s see what the Court does. And then I intend to abide by a Court ruling. I’m not going to go and do what I want to do. I just don’t think that way.
HH: Now take me to the welfare reform program that you’re going to put before the Ohio legislature. What’s is going to look like?
JK: Well, we have some states that if you go to the welfare office, you have to get trained, and it includes businesses inside the welfare office, so that you get training and you get a connection with business. So in Licking County, which you’re familiar with, because you’re an Ohio boy by growing up there in Warren, Ohio…
HH: You bet.
JK: In Licking County, there is an international firm over there that is in the welfare office, that is trained along with the state, and with their money, trained 90 people who they have hired with a 90% retention rate. I don’t want the people who are bureaucrats to just be stamping somebody’s food stamps and say see you next month. I want to look at people in a holistic way. And I want to say to them what are your skills, what can you do, what are your problems, how do we get you out of this, so we can get you on your feet and you can be in a position of where you could have a good life. That’s what we all should be doing to lift everyone. And you know what message that sends? That sends a message of everybody has a chance. Everybody can be included. Isn’t that a conservative philosophy?
HH: Yes, it is.
JK: Help them, but help them to help themselves.
HH: After the State of the Union, Secretary of State Clinton, former Secretary of State Clinton, tweeted out now it’s time to step up and deliver, #FairShare. What do you make of the State of the Union and Secretary of State Clinton’s support for the rhetoric of that night?
JK: I didn’t see the speech, because I’m traveling, and I didn’t, I don’t really follow her on Twitter. So I don’t know exactly what she said. But what I can say is that for most of the time that I’ve been governor, the federal government has had its wind in our face. I would like to get the wind at our back. And we’re doing pretty well in Ohio, but we’ve got a long way to go. And so I don’t really know, I have not, I know this. I know raising capital gains, which the President proposed, is a very bad idea, and Hugh, you know, I’m sort of a values guy. I think we need to emphasize personal responsibility and resilience, and empathy and teamwork, and also faith. And I also remember what Lincoln said. You don’t build a little guy up by tearing a big guy down. This business of continuing class warfare, I reject it. I think it is terrible. And so I don’t; know what she was talking about, but if that’s what she’s for, it’s a big mistake.
HH: Yeah, I want to read you the exact quote. She said Barack Obama’s State of the Union pointed way to an economy that works for all. Now we need to step up and deliver for the middle class. #FairShot #FairShare. I don’t know who that we is. It sounds like more government. And that’s not the way.
JK: Well, yeah, I mean, I tell you this, the best thing you can do for somebody who’s on welfare or somebody in the middle class is to have an economy that’s growing. Now recently, we’ve seen some improvement in this economy. It’s kind of healing itself. You know, it’s sort of like physician, heal thyself. But throughout the time of the president, you know, we haven’t seen this kind, we’ve seen the most anemic growth I think we’ve ever seen coming out of a deep recession in our history. It’s because of uncertainty, it’s because of over-regulation, it’s because of tax policy that is unpredictable. All these things lead to lower and slower growth. The other thing that I think we have to do, Hugh, is that we have to have lifetime learning. And we also have to allow people to get help to be trained in the jobs they have. Right now, the federal government has, basically has a policy that before we can help you to be trained, you’ve got to lose your job.
HH: And Governor, we’re out of time. It’s always great fun to talk to you. Good luck on the continued tour for the balanced budget amendment.
End of interview.