- The Washington Times - Monday, July 20, 2015

His day has finally come. John Kasich at last made his “special announcement” at high noon Tuesday to reveal he’s joining the GOP pack of presidential hopefuls - No. 16 in the lineup. The place is Ohio State University, his alma mater, in Columbus.

“I’m a person that doesn’t like to spend a lot of money. But in the this case, national security climbs to the very top of the heap because we must be strong, and we must assume our role as leaders of the world,” he told an enthusiastic audience.

“You want job creation? You balance the books. Am I right? You balance the books. And if I’m president - or maybe I should say when I’m president - I will promise you that my top priority will get this country on a path to fiscal independence and strength, and we will rebuild the economy of this country because creating jobs is our highest moral purpose. And we will move to get that done,” the candidate declared.

The Ohio governor then turns into an instant candidate, departing immediately for New Hampshire, to be followed by multiple events in South Carolina, Iowa and Michigan. And that’s this week alone. The mainstream media have reported that the Kasich candidacy makes assorted Republican bigwigs nervous. But then, the press reports this about other contenders as well.

“John Kasich is for us, and he has a record to prove it,” declares Matt Carle, executive director for New Day for America, a Kasich campaign group. “He balanced the federal budget for the first time since man walked on the moon; it hasn’t been done since. He also has national security experience and is the successful governor of Ohio. No one else can say those things. John Kasich has proven that he will work for all Americans.”

Mr. Kasich, incidentally, did that budget-balancing as a young Republican lawmaker from Ohio, serving on the House Budget Committee in 1989, eventually becoming committee chairman five years later at age 42.

THE UNCHURCHED PRESS

A moment was not overlooked at the recent Family Leadership Summit, the faith-based event in Ames, Iowa, which drew 10 Republican hopefuls, a grand gaggle of journalists and veteran pollster Frank Luntz, who moderated the event. While interviewing candidate Mike Huckabee, Mr. Luntz turned to the designated press area in the auditorium and asked, “Tell me the truth. How many of you in these first three rows here attend church or synagogue once a week? Three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine. And there are — what? — 60, 70 people in here.”

The pollster pondered the fact that only nine of the journalists went to religious services. “What does it mean?” he asked. The question was never really answered — but NewsBusters.com analyst Geoffrey Dickens has a notion.

“Luntz probably nailed a primary reason why people of faith and their issues are treated so badly by the liberal media,” Mr. Dickens notes.

THE CONFUSED PRESS

The Donald Trump coverage goes on and on, possibly forming its own parallel universe at this point. The billionaire presidential hopeful said much about Mexico, immigration and Sen. John McCain in recent days, while journalists — often all dressed up with nowhere to go — are grateful for the fodder. Several thousand news accounts charting Mr. Trump’s controversial remarks have emerged; here’s just a few of the often-conflicting headlines from the last 24 hours:

“Like it or not, Donald Trump is news” (Time); “Trump’s criticism of McCain enrages fellow Republicans” (U.S. News & World Report); “Despite controversy, GOP still welcomes Donald Trump” (Detroit Free Press); “Trump’s no-apology tour” (Politico); “Donald Trump continues to have strong support in Iowa” (New York Times); “Is Donald Trump helping or hurting the GOP?” (Bloomberg); “Donald Trump is trolling his 2016 rivals” (MSNBC); “Donald Trump just topped another national GOP poll” (Slate Magazine); and “Has Trump gone too far?” (Vox).

On a semirelated note: The Hudson Institute hosts Mr.McCain on Tuesday. He’ll sit down with Hudson scholar Walter Mead for an hour to parse out America’s role in the world, the U.S.-Iran nuclear deal, the Islamic State, tensions with Russia and complications in the South China Sea, U.S. defense readiness and reform. Mr. Trump does not appear on the list of topics. See the event streamed live at 11:45 a.m. EDT at Hudson.org.

THE $4 BILLION ELECTION

OK, batten down the hatches and prepare for an unprecedented onslaught of political advertising as the 2016 presidential race fires up and barrels across the nation. It’s going to be a $4.4 billion election, predicts Elizabeth Wilner, an analyst at the ever-astute Cook Political Report.

“We could see less than $4.4 billion on TV if the GOP primary drags on, or more than $4.4 billion if it wraps up fast. We could see less than $4.4 billion if Democratic billionaires don’t bring their A-game for Clinton, or more than $4.4 billion if they do. We also could see more than $4.4 billion if California produces a juicy slate of ballot initiatives. Overall, we see slightly more upside than downside in this early estimate of 2016 political TV ad spend,” Ms. Wilner writes in her analysis.

A plump chunk of this fat amount goes to the local market. “Of this $4.4 billion, we expect $3.3 billion to go to local broadcast TV,” she adds.

Find the dizzying research here: CookPolitical.com.

FIRST THE WINNEBAGO, NOW THE HARLEY

Gov. Scott Walker just ended a three-day tour of Iowa in a Winnebago motor home done up in patriotic colors. Now he plans a motorcycle ride through New Hampshire later this week, perfect for a GOP White House hopeful who has already advised several audiences, “I’m a Harley guy, and I’m running for president.”

Mr. Walker will be joined on the ceremonial biker journey by Scott Brown, the former U.S. senator and a Harley kind of guy as well — a pairing that will likely yield he-man photo ops and headlines that talk about “two Scotts.” The ever-energetic Mr. Walker will also travel to Tennessee, North Carolina and California this week, where he’s set to deliver remarks at the annual meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council in San Diego.

THOUGHTS FROM THE WOODS

“Obama’s Capitulation Monday” is one for the lexicon, courtesy of Sen. Marco Rubio, who explains that “history will remember July 20, 2015, as the day “sworn enemies of the United States were able to outmaneuver President Obama to secure historic concessions. We have entered the most dangerous phase of the Obama presidency in which the president is flat outabandoning America’s vital national security interests to cozy up to the world’s most reprehensible regimes.”

Strong words. But an analyst who resides in a densely forested area of the Northeast and prefers to stay unnamed thinks there’s an extra motive tucked in the diplomatic doings:

“How Obama will close Guantanamo,” the analyst writes in a terse email. “1) Recognize Cuba (Check.); 2) Cuba announces desire to have Gitmo back to ease relations (Check); 3) Obama orders our forces out as Commander in Chief. Congress complains about unilateral abrogation of treaty or lease but does nothing. (To be advised). Presto, Gitmo closed.”

THE NEW AND IMPROVED JEB BUSH

“The overspending, the overreaching, the arrogance and the sheer incompetence in that city — these problems have been with us so long that they are sometimes accepted as facts of life. We need a president willing to challenge the whole culture in our nation’s capital — and I mean to do it.”

— Jeb Bush, in a campaign speech on Monday in Tallahassee, Florida

POLL DU JOUR

66 percent of Americans say justices on the U.S. Supreme Court should serve for a 10-year term.

80 percent of tea partyers, 74 percent of Republicans, 68 percent of independents and 66 percent of Democrats agree.

17 percent say the justice should be on the court “for life.”

48 percent say the justices should be elected to the court.

32 percent say justices should be appointed to the court.

29 percent would support allowing Congress or the White House to overrule Supreme Court decisions.

Source: A Reuters/Ipsos poll of 1,611 U.S. adults conducted July 10-17.

• Nervous laughter, press releases to [email protected]

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