Kasich’s temper has made it harder to endear himself to the GOP’s wealthy benefactors. Last year, he traveled to Southern California to appear on a panel at a conference sponsored by the Republican mega-donors Charles and David Koch. At one point, according to accounts provided by two sources present, Randy Kendrick, a major contributor and the wife of Ken Kendrick, the owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks, rose to say she disagreed with Kasich’s decision to expand Medicaid coverage, and questioned why he’d expressed the view it was what God wanted.
The governor’s response was fiery. “I don’t know about you, lady,” he said as he pointed at Kendrick, his voice rising. “But when I get to the pearly gates, I’m going to have an answer for what I’ve done for the poor.”
The exchange left many stunned. About 20 audience members walked out of the room, and two governors also on the panel, Nikki Haley of South Carolina and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, told Kasich they disagreed with him. The Ohio governor has not been invited back to a Koch seminar — opportunities for presidential aspirants to mingle with the party’s rich and powerful — in the months since.In October, Connie Schultz wrote at Politico:
Nuance is not always Kasich’s strong suit. Days after he was elected, Kasich gathered statehouse lobbyists and made it clear where he stood. Either they were with him, or they were expendable. “If you’re not on the bus, we’ll run over you with the bus,” he said. “And I’m not kidding.”
In a public speech to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency five weeks after he took the oath as governor, Kasich launched a tirade against a state trooper who had pulled him over for "approaching a public safety vehicle with lights displayed" on a state route. He paid the $85, but he was fuming about it. “Have you ever been stopped by a police officer that’s an idiot?” Kasich asked the audience. He then proceeded to use the incident to inveigh against government overreach. “We just can’t act that way. What people resent are people who are in the government who don’t treat the client with respect.”
After a video of Kasich’s comments went public, he apologized to the state trooper in a private meeting.
McLean, who is also the former director of the Women’s Political Caucus, says this illustrates a larger problem for Kasich. “He doesn’t like to negotiate or compromise. He doesn’t like to be challenged. ... With women voters, in particular, an angry man probably isn’t going to work for them.” (No less than Arizona Sen. John McCain once said that Kasich has a "hair-trigger temper.")