Ohio Gov. John Kasich is straddling the fiscal and defense hawk line as he enters a crowded Republican field of presidential candidates whose strong-on-defense rhetoric has sought to tap into — and stoke — the American public’s anxiety over global threats and the rise of the Islamic State.
Kasich launched his second presidential run on Tuesday by touting his brazen spending fight as a congressman against the all-powerful Pentagon more than two decades ago. Kasich’s record in the ring, from Ronald Reagan to Bill Clinton, separates him from a field of 15 other candidates, but likely is little remembered among voters in 2016. This time in Washington is at times downplayed by his campaign, which is promoting Kasich’s common-sense “lessons of the heartland” from the governor’s residence of one of the country’s biggest swing states.
For the entirety of his time in Congress, Kasich sat on the House Armed Services Committee, “where I served for 18 years on national security,” he said. In “just the blink of an eye” after arriving in Washington in 1983, he said he discovered waste in defense spending.