Republican says his party is 'my vehicle and not my master'
By Max Sullivan
Hampton Union, January 15, 2016
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
Republican presidential candidate Gov. John Kasich of Ohio speaks at a Town Hall event at the
Lane Memorial Library in Hampton on Friday. [Ioanna Raptis photo]
HAMPTON — Republican presidential candidate John Kasich talked foreign policy and his plan to increase spending on defense last Friday at Lane Memorial Library.
The Ohio governor said he intends to put $100 billion more into defense spending by slowing the growth of Medicare from 7 percent to 5 percent, the growth of Medicaid from 5 percent to 3 percent and by freezing all non-entitlement programs.
While Kasich intends to spend more on the military, he said he would also seek ways to cut fat within the military’s bureaucracy. As a U.S. congressman, Kasich said, he once fought against the Pentagon’s request for 132 B-2 bombers to be built at a $1 billion apiece. He pushed for 13, and Congress ultimately agreed on 20.
“The Pentagon is inherently bureaucratic and wasteful. We build things we don’t need, and it takes too long to get anything built,” Kasich said. “The dollars we have to put in the military are precious. If we blow it on red-tape bureaucracy, then we're cheating the men and women in the military, but we definitely need to spend the money.”
In terms of foreign policy, Kasich said it’s important to stay on good terms with nations around the world, including ones the United States has rockier relationships with, like China and Russia. He said that's vital so that the United States can work with coalitions to destroy what he considers a greater threat — "non-state actors," like ISIS and Al Qaeda. For example, he said the U.S. should be concerned about North Korea not only developing weapons of mass destruction but selling them to terrorist groups, too.
He compared ISIS to Iran, saying Iran respects Israel’s ability to strike back if Iran attacked them with a nuclear strike. ISIS might not operate the same way, he said.
“Iran knows one thing. You do something to Israel, they blow you off the map,” Kasich said. “Non-state actors. Does that apply? No. That’s the problem.”
Kasich denounced Russia’s actions in Ukraine, saying he supports giving Ukraine weapons to help them defend themselves from Russian forces. He also said he would support helping NATO nations “if Putin tries to come” to their borders.
“But we don’t want to make Putin an enemy,” Kasich said. “We make it clear to him what we will tolerate and what we will not.”
Kasich also touched on his record of working across the aisle to pass legislation, including balancing the federal budget as in Congress. He said he’s been determined to remain open to working with Democrats even when, after successfully passing a bill together, they “blast” him because of his party affiliation.
“The Republican Party is my vehicle and not my master,” Kasich said to one of the biggest applauses of the afternoon. “It’s all respect. It’s all reminding people they are Americans before they’re Republicans, Democrats, liberals, conservatives.”