National Review Describes the “Moderate” Republican

There has been a great deal of talk about John Kasich’s “moderate” positions that will presumably make him attractive to some broad swathe of American voters in the general election should he somehow be able to secure the Republican nomination.

In today’s edition of Morning Jolt newsletter for the National Review, Jim Geraghty discusses the agreement between the Cruz and Kasich campaigns to stop competing against each other in the Indiana, new Mexico, and Oregon primaries. I have highlighted in bold Geraghty’s capsule descriptions of Governor Kasich’s core positions and his campaign persona:

“Mike Huckabee, always good for a statement that is dumb, declares, “Cruz, Kasich join forces to stop Trump. I wish they wanted to stop Hillary and much as they did the Republican who is beating both of them.”

“First, do you think Ted Cruz doesn’t want to beat Hillary? Do you think John Kasich doesn’t want to beat Hillary? Do you think that either one of them is a secret Democrat, rooting for Hillary when no one is looking? Even Kasich, who is insufferable for citing the Bible as justification for his expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare, is pro-life, pushed to curb collective bargaining for public employees, is pro–Second Amendment, and trimmed the number of state-government employees. For whatever beefs we conservatives have with him, he’s a giant step to the right of Hillary Clinton.

“Secondly, watch any Cruz or Kasich speech. Cruz, in particular, hits Hillary. Kasich may attempt to be as soft and cuddly as a Care Bear, but even he points to the numerous polls that show him beating Clinton handily.

“Thirdly, this “I wish they wanted to beat general-election opponent as much as they want to beat primary opponent” argument is BS because you can’t win the general election until you win the primary. Lord knows Trump spent a good portion of this primary slamming everybody around him; he’s still hitting ‘Lyin’ Ted,’ ‘Little Marco,’ ‘Low Energy Jeb.’ Did this mean Trump didn’t want to win the general election? Or did it simply mean that Trump wanted to ensure he won the primary, so he could then turn more of his attention and criticism to his likely Democratic opponent?”

If Governor Kasich has a broad electoral appeal because of his “moderate” positions, I am not sure what “moderate” means anymore. Although he is not the ideological extremist that Ted Cruz very clearly is, if the main difference is in tone rather than in the substance of most of their positions, how much of a real difference is that? It seems to me that an awful lot is being hung on Governor Kasich’s decision to expand Medicaid under Obamacare—both by those who are criticizing him for not being Far Right enough and those who are promoting him as a “moderate.”


The full text of Jim Geraghty’s daily newsletter is available at:



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