On Tuesday night, Republican presidential candidate John Kasich, the self-proclaimed “Prince of light and hope,” gave a completely crazy victory speech after taking Ohio. It was one of a kind and all-things-Kasich: sappy, Sunday-best preachy, and willfully fresh-off-the-farm naïve. Oh, and of course, it was still a heck of a lot easier to listen to than shrieking, divisive Hillary Clinton.
The kumbaya extravaganza started with a bang: a “peaceful protester” whom Kasich mentioned affectionately (of course) heckled the governor. But then Kasich graciously applauded Florida Senator Marco Rubio’s now-suspended campaign and got right down to business, incessantly asking “You know what?” to the crowd followed by an excessively emotional response.
Right from the jump, Kasich talked about nearly being moved to tears — the natural state in which he teeters.
“We went to a restaurant,” started Kasich. “We thought we could kinda sneak in and grab a quick meal and when we walked through the restaurant people started to cheer. My reaction was please don't do that because you're gonna make me cry.”
After bragging — rightfully so — about his state’s current $2 billion surplus and the additional jobs added during his tenure, the governor talked about serving a “meal of words.”
“I don't know whether you can actually serve a meal of words, but I would like to go back to those credit rating agencies where they can learn to eat their words about doubting Ohio,” said the blissful governor.
After invoking his father’s former occupation, a mailman, which he is fond of doing, Kasich informed everyone to forget the polls, don’t listen to the pollsters (who all say he has no path to the nomination). Smart move.
“[I]n my mind eyes, it's the need forget the politics, forget the pollsters, forget all the focus groups because you see, I represent you. And It is my job to look at these situations and these problems and to listen to you. And that it's my job to go and fix them,” Kasich said. “[A]nd if that means at times I have to take some heat well then that's just the price of leadership in America. Okay,” he added, essentially committing martyrdom.
Kasich then laid down a very well-received line by the audience, saying, “I will not take the low road to the highest office,” seemingly throwing a jab at frontrunner Donald Trump.
Morphing into Pastor Kasich, the governor invoked the Lord, teachers and nurses:
“You know the Lord’s made everybody here special. I've been telling people this all across the country. Nobody, sir, has ever been made like you before and no one will ever be like you again. And, young lady, you’re here at a moment in time, and your job is to find that purpose that you have; your job, is to live a life a little bit bigger than yourself; your job, is to be a center of healing, and justice and hope in whatever way we can. If we’re a schoolteacher, we give up money to change lives. If we’re a nurse, we work fifteen extra minutes when we're dead on our feet because we want to assure a family that things are going to be okay.”
Kasich then spoke about the widow across the street and her dress that "she hasn’t worn in six months." It was rather sweet, but yes, a little strange in the midst of political victory speech.
“And if we are a neighbor, that means, that widow who was married for fifty years, who no one calls anymore, you want to change the world? You take her to dinner on Saturday night, she'll wear that dress she hasn't worn in six months, I trust you, to do it.”
The Ohio governor closed his remarks with a reference to a “covered wagon” which he will apparently be riding in during the rest of his campaign.
“You know what?” started the governor, right on cue with his favorite rhetorical question. “I'm getting ready to rent a covered wagon. We’re gonna have a big sail, and have the wind blow us to the Rocky Mountains and over the mountains to California. But here's what I want you to know, we've got one more trip around Ohio this coming fall where we will beat Hillary Clinton and I will become the president of the United States!” finished Kasich, in sheer delusion.
On the up-side, Kasich’s speech, although goofy, preachy and removed from reality, was uplifting and certainly a change of pace from this primary's often needlessly nasty tone. And to the governor’s credit, he even slipped in an especially effective line for such a volatile election cycle in his “I will not take the low road to the highest office in the land" remark.
In closing, if Kasich stays in the presidential race, as he has insisted here, with no clear path to a majority of delegates, he will help Trump secure the nomination and cripple Texas Senator Ted Cruz's chances. Depending on where you’re standing will effect which scenario you root for, but one thing remains: John Kasich’s father was a mailman.