John Kasich doesn’t talk about Hillary Clinton.
He also doesn’t care to talk about Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders or any of the other folks running for president. It’s not his style.
“If I’m talking about someone else, I’m not talking about me. And I would rather them know what my record is and my passion is. So if I’m spending my time attacking other people, that doesn’t get me anywhere. Frankly, it’s not what people want. They want to know: Do you have a record, do you have solutions, can you lead?” Kasich told the National Journal. “It’s a lot more important for me to cement that down than getting people hooting and hollering.”
In New Hampshire, the strategy might be working. It’s a long-shot campaign, but the former Ohio governor getting decent crowd numbers when he visits and he places near the top of the polls in that state. He’s in third place behind Trump and Jeb Bush.
Even more interestingly, while his GOP opponents are attacking Obamacare, Kasich is talking about his support for expanding Medicaid in Ohio. He’s not a big supporter of expanding the role of the federal government, but does believe strongly in those same social programs at the state level. It’s a reincarnation of the “Compassionate Conservatism” that George W. Bush ran on in 2000.
Kasich has an uphill battle. He’s a “moderate Republican” in a sea of primary-vote-winning “right-wing Republican” candidates, each vying to best the other as the most conservative.
Kasich would make the argument that he’s the GOP’s best bet to win the general election. It’s hard to appeal to independents and right-leaning Democrats when you’re that far right, he would argue.
Will this folksy, friendly style fly with the Tea Party and staunch conservatives in the Republican Party? Will those who are salivating over Donald Trump’s “hit back harder” style of politicking ever support Kasich? Maybe not. But, he’ll be the first to admit: He’s been a very lucky man with a lifetime of political and personal successes just being himself – he’s not about to change now.