Enter the Sandman of Ohio

Yesterday afternoon this tweet from that invaluable inside-the-GOP reporter Robert Costa of WaPo had tongues wagging:

Who could that be? Mitch Daniels? Sarah Palin? Rick Snyder?

Costa didn’t make us wait long:

Yes, John Kasich is interrupting his tour of Rocky Mountain states promoting that hip new idea the Balanced Budget Amendment to go to an actual early primary state.

Though Costa’s account is mostly breathless, in line with his “game-changer” tweet, he does allow as how Kasich may not stroll to the nomination:

Unlike [Scott] Walker, Kasich was defeated in his clash against public employee unions during his first term. Kasich’s efforts to reform state labor laws were overwhelming reversed by voters in a 2011 ballot initiative.

Yeah, and then there’s this:

Kasich has angered some conservative Republicans for his policies and his emphasis on compassion over ideological purity. He has increased state spending for social programs and accepted an expansion of Medicaid in Ohio under the Affordable Care Act.

Other than that, there’s no reason the staunch conservatives of South Carolina won’t be carrying Kasich around the state on their shoulders.

I’m sorry, I just don’t get why so many smart people share this view of Kasich as a world-beater. Yes, his resume is strong, and yes, he’s theoretically “electable.” But if there was ever the wrong time for a Balanced Budget crusade, it’s probably right now, and I just can’t see him rousing a crowd into the kind of hate-frenzy needed to win in the early states.

So I apologize for doing this again, but I have to say the most appropriate response to the idea of Kasich joining the 2016 fray is this kazoo version of “Enter Sandman.” It fits so well.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.