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Juan González: Kasich May Look Like a “Moderate,” But He’s Still Dangerously Conservative

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With the Republican primary in New York less than two weeks away, John Kasich met this week with the editorial board of the New York Daily News. Juan González talks about quizzing the Ohio governor about his anti-union, pro-fracking views. Juan wrote about the meeting in his latest column, “'Moderate' John Kasich is still dangerously conservative.”

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Juan, before we talk about Iraq, you know, the—John Kerry has just made a surprise visit there—your piece in the New York Daily News is about yet another New York Daily News editorial board meeting. A week or two ago, it was with Bernie Sanders. Yesterday, you and the board met with John Kasich.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Yes, Kasich came into the editorial board to—obviously, to discuss his platform and hoping to get the voters of New York to back him, the Republican voters. And I specifically zeroed in, because he’s much more—those of us who have seen the debates among the Republicans regard him probably as the most reasonable, the most commonsense of the candidates in his approach. And he comes—and he really touted his ability to work with political opponents, his long experience in both the Congress and as a senator of a major—I mean, as a governor of a major state.

But I tried to zero in, in my few questions I was able to ask him, on his role in terms of American labor, because, obviously, in 2011, he pushed through a bill that not only would outlaw strikes by public employees in Ohio, but also would restrict the ability of union members to negotiate over pensions and health insurance. That created a huge stir, backlash in Ohio. Police, firefighters and teachers organized a major referendum, and Kasich was defeated two to one. It was the biggest defeat of his term as governor. So I asked him what he’d learned from that. And he said, “Don’t do it again.” But when I then asked him, “Well, would a President Kasich attempt to restrict the union rights of federal employees?” he was a little bit more equivocal. He said, “It would depend on what you’re talking about. I wouldn’t make any sweeping judgment on that.”

And Kasich also has a pretty checkered history in terms of public education, which he focused on a lot. The charter schools in Ohio are considered the Wild West of charter schools nationwide. There’s been all kinds of scandals on charter schools. And just last year, the person he had appointed to be in charge of charter schools had to resign when it was revealed that he was misrepresenting how badly charter schools were performing in the state to—in a federal government application. And Kasich had—did say that he’s fixed that, that he’s passed new laws to try to raise standards for charter schools in his state. But the wife of that disgraced official who resigned, who was Kasich’s chief of staff, is now running his presidential campaign, so that, really, in comparison to Trump and to Cruz, Kasich looks pretty good, but that’s only in comparison to the other Republican candidates who are running right now.

AMY GOODMAN: I know you don’t write the headline, but would you say it’s accurate? “'Moderate' John Kasich is still dangerously conservative”?

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Yeah, I didn’t write that headline, but that’s pretty much what the column talks about, yes.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, I’m headed to Columbus, Ohio, today, to John Kasich’s hometown, speaking at the Ohio State University, and hope to see folks there. And, of course, we’ll continue to cover the presidential race, as we travel across the country in our 100-city tour beginning today. This is Democracy Now!,, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González.

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