Saturday, November 21, 2015

Kasich And Trump-- The Gloves Come Off


According to the new Morning Consult polling data released yesterday on the popularity of the 50 states' governors, Ohio Republican John Kasich is doing pretty well. Back in Ohio, he has a 59% approval rating and just a 29% disapproval rating. His popularity back home, though, isn't translating in the Republican presidential primary, where he is barely a factor. The latest national GOP polling from NBC released at the same time as Morning Consult's gubernatorial poll, shows him tied for 7th place with Rand Paul and Mike Huckabee at a dismal and embarrassing 2% each. He-- like Huckabee and Rand Paul-- should be thinking of extricating himself from the race with a modicum of dignity, right?

Kasich's brand of old-fashioned, somewhat dithering mainstream conservatism has not caught on at all among the restive anti-establishment Republicans who are entirely dominating the polls this season. So why is Kasich even bothering? Good question. One possible answer is that he thinks he can turn it all around in New Hampshire. And like we saw last night, all his eggs are in that basket and his campaign and SuperPACs have spent $7.3 million on TV advertising in just that state. But it's not helping that much. According to the latest Fox poll of New Hampshire Republican primary voters he's in 7th place with 7%, behind Trump (27%), Rubio (13%), Cruz (11%), Jeb (9%), and a rapidly deflating Dr. Ben (9%). So we're backing to wondering why exactly Kasich is still in the race. And the other possibility is that he wants to save his party from the destructive horror of a Donald Trump nomination. He knows he's not going to be nominated but he seems determined to make sure Trump isn't either.

Yesterday, Alex Isenstadt reported in Politico that Kasich has ordered his SuperPAC-- yeah, yeah, I know; no one coordinates with SuperPACs; wanna buy a lovely bridge in my old hometown?-- "to take down the real estate mogul once and for all."
John Kasich has attacked Donald Trump relentlessly in debates and now his super PAC is planning to invest $2.5 million in the most aggressive takedown of the poll leader yet — on behalf of an increasingly anxious GOP establishment.

The attack, according to a blueprint shared with Politico, will play out over the next two months on radio, TV, mail and online in New Hampshire. Strategists with the pro-Kasich group, called New Day for America, say the budget for the anti-Trump campaign is likely to grow.

The offensive comes as some in the GOP are beginning to plot how to combat the real estate mogul and entertainer, who many are convinced would essentially deliver the White House to Democrats if he were the nominee. In launching the effort, the group hopes to position Kasich, who has lagged in the Republican contest and is searching for momentum, as a central Trump antagonist.

“We will be the tip of the spear against Trump,” said Matt David, a spokesman for the super PAC.

Rather than go after Trump for his business dealings or his past support for liberal causes, as some of his opponents have tried to do, the super PAC will depict Trump as someone who would be a deeply ineffective commander-in-chief and ill-suited for the demands of the Oval Office.

Fred Davis, the group’s colorful Hollywood-based ad-maker who is best-known for producing the “Demon Sheep” ad in the 2010 California Senate race, is working on a pair of anti-Trump TV ads. The commercials, David said, are designed to “accelerate what we believe would be buyers’ remorse” that would arise from a Trump presidency.

The group’s first volley came Thursday, when it released an ad that pictured the billionaire side by side with President Barack Obama. “On the job training for president does not work,” says the ad, which invokes last week’s tragic Paris terrorist attacks. The group is currently spending about $600,000 to air the commercial, though David said more airtime is being purchased.

...In launching the campaign, the pro-Kasich group says it is responding to money players who are eager to take Trump's campaign down.

“Essentially, our donors are saying, ‘Enough is enough. Someone needs to take a stand,’” David said.

So Kasich, who doesn't appear to be in the least bit intimidated by Trump's bullying the way craven political cowards like Rubio, Dr. Ben and Jeb are-- nor is he willing to suck up to him the way Ted Cruz does-- may be in the best position to inflict the most damage on Trump... for the sake of the party and the country. Thursday night Trump had an hilarious Twitter meltdown (above) over Kasich, eventually leading to Kasich exposing Trump as a Putin puppet over Ukraine, something few GOP primary voters have been aware of.

And speaking of that governors' pol, one of the least admired governors-- after the truly detested Sam Brownback (R-KS) and Bobby Jindal (R-LA), who have, respectively 65% and 60% disapproval ratings-- is Wisconsin wing-nut Scott Walker who has a 57% disapproval rating (tied with New Jersey's Chris Christie). I noticed a poll yesterday asking if Wisconsinites agreed with Walker's decision it turn away carefully-vetted Syrian refugees fleeing from ISIS terrorism. The results were pretty... stunning.

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