Donald Trump derides the “losers” who have captured America’s government. Onetime front-runner Jeb Bush attacks the reality show star as insufficiently conservative. Kasich is trying something else, telling voters that, yes, he’s a politician and a good one. Four years in the Ohio Senate, 18 years in Congress, five years as governor, most of them good.Maybe this approach will work for Kasich. But he should choose his words carefully, heeding a lesson from forty years ago.
In 1976, Senator Birch Bayh (D-IN) ran for president by openly proclaiming his skill and experience. "I'm Birch Bayh," he said in his spots, "and I'm a politician." The message failed badly. On April 12, Newsweek reported:
And Bayh tried to counter this year's anti-politician sentiment by proclaiming that it would take a politician to solve the nation's problems, and that he was a good one. Somewhat lamely, his admen still say the theme was valid. But Roger Ailes, a commercial TV producer who worked on Nixon's 1968 campaign, says the Bayh strategy amounted to political suicide: "It was like going into a crowded room, announcing you have leprosy and then trying to shake hands with everyone."It's probably good for Kasich to talk about his knowledge and experience, but he should probably avoid the p-word.