John Kasich’s name might sound familiar, especially if you live in Ohio. John Kasich has been Governor of Ohio since 2011. He ran for the Republican nomination in the 2016 Presidential election. He was a good man in a Republican race that turned very nasty, thanks to Donald Trump primarily. But in fairness, I believe Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz are just as nasty, in a more covert way.
John Kasich has always been known as someone who does not embrace partisan politics. He worked with President Bill Clinton on the Balanced Budget Act, and he got it passed, despite the partisan politics that was in full effect. The Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and other republicans shut the government down on two separate occasions, in 1995 and 1996, and in 1998, impeached President Clinton on ground of obstruction of justice and perjury related to the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
Governor John Kasich remains today a beacon of hope for civility in politics. As D.C is embroiled in more scandalous partisan politics around the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation hearings, John Kasich posted the following on Twitter.
— John Kasich (@JohnKasich) September 26, 2018
The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 aimed to balance the budget by 2002. In actuality, it was balanced by 1998. That was no small feat. How was it done?
“One big takeaway from the agreement itself is to not despair that partisan politics will forever impede progress on responsible fiscal policy. Prior to reaching the agreement, budget disagreements between the Newt Gingrich-led “Republican Revolution” House of Representatives and President Clinton’s executive branch were at the time more intractable than at any point since the modern budget process began in 1974. The tumultuous time was marked by two government shutdowns and disputes over budget details big (Medicare and Medicaid cuts) and small (who won a coin flip to decide which party would present proposals first in a meeting).”
Gordon published the above on August 8th, 2017. Today, as I write this on September 27th, 2018, the country is in the midst of a mini-crisis around whether or not to support the confirmation of Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh.
He has been accused of sexual assault by not one, not two, but at least three women. In watching the testimony today of one of those women, it is clear that Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination will not be decided by the Senate; in fact, the hearings are a sort of referendum on Brett Kavanaugh.
Mr. Kavanaugh denies the sexual assault allegations, while the accuser, a professor from California who attended high school in the same part of the country as Kavanaugh, unequivocally, and convincingly, states that he did assault her. There is an attempt on behalf of both Democrats and Republicans, to delegitimize the other side.
Sexual assault is a serious issue, and no judge on the Supreme Court should be appointed with an overhang of such allegations. There is a process of investigation that should occur separate from the nomination hearing, and yet both Democrats and Republicans have chosen to make the highly charged issue of sexual assault fodder for the court of public opinion.
As if somehow the issue of sexual assault is ambiguous. What this leads me to believe is that for several years now, partisanship has turned into tribalism. The United States of America was founded in opposition to the tribalism of the Old World. Somehow, we are today reverting to the past.
The country has been split up into tribes, the conservatives and the liberals, the Hispanics and the African-Americans, the wealthy and the middle-class, the middle-class and the lower-class, and so on, and so on.
As a result of tribalism, I’m not so sure that Gordon’s above statement is correct, that we should not despair in partisanship, that progress will not be impeded by tribalism. Since the 2008 election, bipartisan legislation has been non-existent. The last time we had significant bi-partisanship legislation was when the country was told by Wall Street that if banks were not bailed out, the American economy would crumble.
Crisis brought our politicians together, but it’s my opinion they were only brought together because the D.C lobbyists were all on the same page; the elitist Wall Street institution fund many of these lobbyists, irrespective of party. Since the crisis, wealth inequality has increased, tribalism has increased with it, further entrenching partisan politics.
Movements like the Tea Party, the Anti-Wall Street movement, Anonymous, and Neo-Nazi groups, have proliferated. The culmination was the election of a president in 2016 who was caught on tape bragging about sexual assault; this happened because tribalism blinds voters. Voters don’t vote for a candidate; in today’s tribal politics, voters vote on tribal lines, regardless of the candidate.
With the country split up into so many different tribes, one must ask the question, who is dividing us, and who will conquer us? The answer is that we are dividing ourselves, and so I only hope and expect that we will conquer ourselves also; I hope we will return to a time when a Republican from Ohio can negotiate a bill to balance the budget of the country with a Democratic president, and see it succeed beyond expectations.
Joshua Gordon also pointed out out that the Balanced Budget Act was,
“…only the final piece of the legislative puzzle required to balance the budget. Before it came an agreement in 1990 between President George H.W. Bush and a Democratic Congress to raise taxes on high-income earners, and enact discretionary spending caps and Pay As You Go Rules.”
I found this point to be fascinating, because if you recall, President George H. W. Bush was a one term president. He was elected in 1988, and lost re-election in 1992. As is widely acknowledged today, George Bush’s bipartisanship cost him re-election. He crossed party lines, and compromised with the Republican on tax increases in exchange for spending cuts. Today’s politicians never talk about George H. W. Bush; crossing party lines today would be equal to tribal treason.