Kasich Refuses to Say if He’s Still a Republican; Says He’s ‘a Conservative’

‘I think the Republican Party, my best view of it now is it’s kind of in a stupor…’

VIDEO: Kasich Says Obamacare Repeal 'Not a Good' Idea

John Kasich Photo by marcn (CC)

(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) Outgoing Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a frequent NeverTrumper and potential 2020 presidential contender, said he considers himself in “the fray” of the GOP, if he still considers himself a Republican at all.

As Kasich prepares to leave the Ohio governorship, he admitted to Buzzfeed News that many of his administration’s policies were rejected by members of his own party, like his expansion of Medicaid, advocacy for gun control and veto of a pro-life bill that would have blocked abortions at the first sign of a heartbeat.

The result was a drop in Kasich’s job-approval numbers and his appearance as an apolitical—if indecisive—governor.

“It wasn’t the way to be a good leader,” Kasich said. “A round peg in a square hole.”

When asked if he still considers himself a Republican in light of his combative posture toward President Donald Trump and the rest of the GOP, Kasich replied: “Well I’m certainly a conservative—a creative conservative, on the order of a guy like Jack Kemp,” referencing the self-described “bleeding-heart conservative” who ran for vice president with Bob Dole in 1996.

Kasich also name-checked another Republican icon, perhaps offering a window into his future plans.

“[M]y newest big fad is Teddy Roosevelt,” he said, referencing the progressive Republican president who later left his party and waged an unsuccessful third-party campaign on the Bull Moose Party, splitting the vote in 1912 against conservative incumbent William H. Taft and handing the White House to liberal Democrat Woodrow Wilson.

Kasich has been a vocal critic of Trump and told Buzzfeed that if Republicans “keep their heads buried in the sand like they’ve been doing and [are not] willing to generate new ideas, they’re going to disintegrate.”

Despite the unprecedented partisan challenges from an increasingly socialist Left, Kasich said that the GOP under Trump had been lured into a false sense of complacency.

“I think the Republican Party, my best view of it now is it’s kind of in a stupor,” he continued. “I think the strong economy has allowed a lot of the kind of the elites in the party to say, ‘I don’t like what’s going on, but things are OK.’”

As to the rumors that Kasich will stage a 2020 primary challenge or join a leftist media network, the governor acknowledged he had big plans but refused to confirm or deny anything until after the inauguration of his successor, incoming Gov.-elect Mike DeWine.

“It’s got to wait till Monday,” Kasich said. “Nothing yet I really have finalized. There’s a few things that are firm, but it’s very complicated what you can do while you’re in office. There will be a flurry of activity next week. Bread’s in the oven.”