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Today’s Useful Idiot: John Kasich

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Today’s Useful Idiot: John Kasich


Too bad: John Kasich, the Republican presidential aspirant who seemed comparatively sane, turns out to be as loony as any of his companions on the GOP debate stage – perhaps even loonier. On Tuesday, the Ohio governor boldly proposed a new federal agency to “promote Judeo-Christian values” overseas. Evidently Kasich believes that this religiously-based propaganda initiative – which he would direct toward the Mideast, Russia, and China – should promote “Judeo-Christian Western values of human rights, democracy, freedom of speech, freedom of religion [!] and freedom of association” as a counter-terrorist measure.

Of course, if such an “Agency to Promote Judeo-Christian Values” were sent forth to advance the Christian and Jewish religions abroad, that effort would not only alienate Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and adherents of other faiths, but would raze the constitutional “wall of separation between church and state” built by the nation’s founders.

While any such program would be destined to fail miserably as public diplomacy, Kasich’s articulation of this terrible idea must have excited the propaganda specialists of ISIS and jihadis everywhere, since it confirms their claims that the West has mounted a “crusade” against Islam. (No doubt it also thrilled the “strict constitutionalists” on the Republican far right, whose embrace of religious liberty only ever protects their own beliefs.)

That’s why Kasich, a “moderate” mindlessly pandering to the extreme right, is today’s useful idiot.

Owner Jim Fadden escorts U.S. Republican presidential candidate and Ohio Governor John Kasich (L) through Fadden’s General Store in North Woodstock, New Hampshire on October 14, 2015, during a multi-day campaign bus tour through the state.  REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Joe Conason

A highly experienced journalist, author and editor, Joe Conason is the editor-in-chief of The National Memo, founded in July 2011. He was formerly the executive editor of the New York Observer, where he wrote a popular political column for many years. His columns are distributed by Creators Syndicate and his reporting and writing have appeared in many publications around the world, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, The New Yorker, The New Republic, The Nation, and Harpers.

Since November 2006, he has served as editor of The Investigative Fund, a nonprofit journalism center, where he has assigned and edited dozens of award-winning articles and broadcasts. He is also the author of two New York Times bestselling books, The Hunting of the President (St. Martins Press, 2000) and Big Lies: The Right-Wing Propaganda Machine and How It Distorts the Truth (St. Martins Press, 2003).

Currently he is working on a new book about former President Bill Clinton's life and work since leaving the White House in 2001. He is a frequent guest on radio and television, including MSNBC's Morning Joe, and lives in New York City with his wife and two children.

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  1. Buford2k11 November 18, 2015

    why would anyone take this seriously…? It won’t and can’t happen…even if this guy wants to control all propaganda in this country, he will have to fight Murdoch for it…

  2. anothertoothpick November 18, 2015

    The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness.

    Demand to give up a condition that needs illusions.

  3. FireBaron November 18, 2015

    His roots as part of the inner circle of the GWB administration keep coming out more and more every time he opens his mouth. And he is still the “sanest” of the lot. So that doesn’t say too much for the current GOP crop of also-rans.

  4. Insinnergy November 18, 2015

    Damn it!
    He was the one semi-plausible Republican candidate who didn’t look like a complete clown.
    Too bad I guess.

  5. ORAXX November 18, 2015

    One would hope that a candidate for President of the United States would have at least passing familiarity with the First Amendment. However, I expect this is mostly just pander. Nothing seems to excite the Republican base quite as much as one of their candidates making a blatantly unconstitutional proposal regarding Christianity.

  6. Dominick Vila November 18, 2015

    Constitutional violations notwithstanding, the worst part of Gov. Kasich’s proposal is its arrogance. Does he, and others like him, really believe that the Federal Government should export religious ideology to other countries? Has he considered how governments in the Islamic world, Russia, and China would react if they heard a U.S. President make such an outrageous proposition? Looks like ignorance takes a back seat to Kasich’s arrogance. The scariest part of this is that he is the most moderate among the field of loonies running for the GOP nomination, the party that, allegedly, supports smaller government and is constantly citing the Constitution, including changing it to be able to pursue their Judeo-Christian goals.

  7. Eleanore Whitaker November 19, 2015

    Once a bigot, always a bigot. That includes immigrants and those these lunatic fringe Republicans call “foreigners.”

    The more they open their stupid mouths, the more they send ISIS the subliminal message, “We support you.”

    I never waste my time watching FOX news. However, yesterday a friend of mine. She called scared out of her wits becasue FOX News reported that NY and DC were going to be attacked. Fox News made it sound as if it was a done deal.

    That kind of reporting is dangerous. If the FCC doesn’t shut down FOX for these kinds of bogus news reports singularly intended to start WW3, I can’t imagine what the FCC is waiting for.

    When you have young kids and elderly seniors in panic mode because of these fearmongering jerks, you see what the right wing in this country is up to…becoming the US traitors who are assisting ISIS in their cause.

    1. Paul Bass November 19, 2015

      Fox DID win that Supreme Court case allowing them to say anything. Because they are ENTERTAINMENT not News!

      So those folks who believe fox get what they paid for…

      1. Eleanore Whitaker November 19, 2015

        Fox may be entertainment but so is a movie theater and you know what happens when you yell “fire” and there is none. The SC is loaded with the Mafiosi Bush appointed. They know why they allow Fox to make statements that imply that NY and DC are definitely going to be attacked. By implication, that’s the same as yelling Fire in a movie theater.

        1. Paul Bass November 19, 2015

          I Agree!
          However ,I also think Bush and Chaney should be brought before the world court!
          I love all you comments Eleanore, keep them up.

          1. Eleanore Whitaker November 19, 2015

            You are so right. So much of the angst comes from the fact that neither Bush, Cheney, Rice or Rumsfeld were held accountable for ignoring the 6 months of warnings about 9/11.

            I’m not worried about an attack on NY City or DC…they are so heavily guarded. And, it makes sense that ISIS would issue a threat after losing Jihadi John this week and the French bombing them in Syria and the over 320 drone strikes in the past year by the US. We’ve got ’em on the run and all they can do is threaten.

  8. Carolyn1520 November 19, 2015

    “Seemed comparatively sane” in that circle doesn’t mean a thing. Anyone who remains a member of the current republican party is a danger to the greater good.

  9. clcman November 20, 2015

    The weirdest thing is, if you chop off the “Judeo-Christian” bit, we basically have one of those already. A couple, probably. Isn’t that sort of USAID’s job?

  10. 'Tis Moi November 20, 2015

    Can we finally agree that religion is the root of all evil? Even some old guys, hundreds of years ago, understood it & wrote into US law, ffs! Good grief…This, “oh, but MY religion is totally cool & it’s only some bad apples spoiling it” cr*p has got to end. It’s time to say, keep your delusions inside your deranged little “holy” buildings (& start taxing these, btw) & shut your pie-holes about it otherwise. Your various, insane delusions are going to kill us all!

  11. Steve Batchelor December 25, 2015

    The Gospel according to any right wing dipshit is so malevolent it’s disgusting. The one thing they all seem to want is to see Armageddon and the return of Jesus to save them. All I’ve got to say to that is if Jesus did return he’d condemn every one of them to hell for their distorted and malicious thoughts.


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