Here is John Kasich’s closing statement in last night’s CBS GOP debate.
I got an e-mail last night from a political editor at a national newspaper in which he/she called Kasich’s closing remarks a “naked pitch to evangelicals.” This editor is correct. But it is a very different “pitch to evangelicals” than the appeals the other evangelicals running for president are making.
Kasich’s theology of politics comes from a slightly different place than the religious sensibilities informing the Cruz, Rubio, and Carson campaigns. Kasich doesn’t tout his evangelical credentials or talk about his conversion experience or claim (at least not yet) that he wants to restore America to a Christian nation.
Kasich’s campaign seems to focus on the idea that we are created and called for community. His remarks about people being “special” seem to reflect the Judeo-Christian idea that human beings have dignity and worth because they are created in God’s image. If God created everyone “special,” then this belief should be the basis of neighborliness and local community.
I also picked up a bit of the Catholic idea of subsidiarity in his comments about the way problems should be solved locally.
Kasich’s remarks early in the debate urging Obama not to appoint a replacement for Scalia sound like he doesn’t respect the constitutional process. Maybe he doesn’t. Maybe he is simply putting politics over the constitutional appointment of a new justice in the same way that everyone else is doing. Here is what he said:
If you listen carefully, you hear Kasich the healer coming out in these remarks. The reason he does not want Barack Obama to appoint a new justice is because he does not want to see more political fighting and acrimony in a country that is already eeply divided. Again, maybe this is just a shrewd and politically savvy way to frame this issue. But in framing it this way Kasich separates himself from the raw politicization of this issue that we are seeing from Cruz and Rubio.