The last time I checked, Ohio governor John Kasich was surging in New Hampshire. The press has painted him as a moderate Republican because of his views on poverty. James Rogers, a professor of political science at Texas A&M, is having none of it. Rogers argues that Kasich may be the most conservative candidate in the GOP field. In the process Rogers provides a nice little lesson about the meaning of conservatism and the proper interpretation of Matthew 25.
Here is a taste of his recent post at First Things:
The press styles John Kasich as a moderate rather than a conservative Republican. That’s weird. Moderate? Schmoderate! Kasich has a decades-long record as a strong conservative. He stands for an authentic form of American conservatism, one I’d argue is its best and truest form, even if it currently isn’t its numerically largest or most influential form.
There are two basic reasons why reporters—and even some right-wing commentators—don’t understand where Kasich is on the political spectrum, and so label him a moderate out of their own confusion. First, because Kasich is not a right-wing fire eater; he has a conservative temperament. Secondly, because of his positions on poverty and government policy, which not only do not detract from his conservatism, they flow from his bona fide conservatism.
A conservative temperament—empirical, incremental, prudential—is not simply a matter of “style.” While not rejecting government action in knee-jerk fashion, it holds a humble view about government abilities; it’s cautious about unintended consequences.
Read the rest here.