The Corner

Sometimes, Primary Fights Can Be Great Clarifiers

John Kasich let loose yesterday, perhaps previewing some criticism of his rivals he’ll offer tonight:

“I’ve about had it with these people,” Kasich said at the rally in Westerville, Ohio.

“We got one candidate that says we ought to abolish Medicaid and Medicare. You ever heard of anything so crazy as that? Telling our people in this country who are seniors, who are about to be seniors that we’re going to abolish Medicaid and Medicare?”

(Ben Carson says he doesn’t want to get rid of Medicare, but that his proposal for Health Savings Account would make the federal program moot.)

Kasich went on, saying, “We got one person saying we ought to have a 10 percent flat tax that will drive up the deficit in this country by trillions of dollars” and there’s another challenger in the field who “says we ought to take 10 or 11 [million] people and pick them up — I don’t know where we’re going to go, their homes, their apartments — we’re going to pick them up and scream at them to get out of our country. That’s crazy. That is just crazy.”

Donald Trump has expressed support for deporting immigrants living in the country illegally.

“We got people proposing health care reform that’s going to leave, I believe, millions of people without adequate health insurance,” Kasich says. “What has happened to our party? What has happened the conservative movement?”

Many conservatives will fume at Kasich’s remarks — the DNC is already using his words in fundraising e-mails — but they are spectacularly clarifying. Let’s have Ben Carson defend his flat tax proposal and Trump elaborate on his plans to deport illegal immigrants, and let’s have John Kasich defend his alternatives. Let’s have John Kasich defend his decision to expand Medicaid in Ohio. Let’s have him explain why he thinks the Republicans who disagree with him are bad Christians who need to read the Bible.

Finally, the candidates will have to lay out their policy plans in detail and defend them from criticism, instead of answering questions about whether the Second Amendment could have stopped the Holocaust, or whether they would vote for a hypothetical Muslim presidential candidate. We might actually get an actual debate about what these men want to do as president! What a thought!

Finally, I greatly prefer the out-in-the-open, my-rivals-the-party-and-the-movement-are-crazy John Huntsman Kasich to the veiled, blurry, I-balanced-the-budget-in-the-1990s, I-cut-taxes, pick-me-so-I-can-help-the-GOP-win-Ohio John Kasich.

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