Does anybody buy the good-guy act at this point?

America’s favorite fake-moderate was dragged on to NBC’s Meet the Press yesterday, and again tried to promote the dubious idea that Donald Trump and Roy Moore are anomalies in the GOP, as opposed to being an accurate representation of what his party thinks and believes:

Ohio Gov. John Kasich says the Alabama Senate election shows how his own party is turning off young voters by gravitating toward anger instead of positivity in its messaging.

“I look at Alabama and I say people are not happy with us being small, angry and narrow,” the Republican told NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “They’re starting to say ‘no.’ That means that most of us who believe in a positive party are beginning to win, but we have a long way to go.”

Democrat Doug Jones won the special election in Alabama, a state that leans heavily toward Republicans. Kasich suggested that although the anti-establishment wing of the GOP is suffering from the loss, there’s an alternative part of the party ready to “fix” problems in Washington.

There is no such thing as an alternative part of the GOP ready to fix Washington’s problems. Kasich knows that, but he also knows there are people (in both the Washington press corps and in the general public) who want to believe that there is, so he simply tells them what they want to hear. This is almost as perverse and dishonest as Trump’s rhetoric.

Five seconds of thought exposes Kasich’s fraud. Ask yourself: how many members of this supposed alternative part of the GOP have stood up to condemn the demonization of Robert Mueller by right-wing media entities? How many members of this supposed alternative part of the GOP have condemned Trump’s Centers for Disease Control word ban, or the harassment of EPA employees? How many members of this supposed alternative part of the GOP have called out some of the Trump-esque characters running for Congress in 2018, such as Arizona Senate candidate Kelli Ward?

Kasich can seemingly get away with this fraud for as long as he wants to. Kasich understands that there will always be a media market for Republicans who subscribe to the party’s ideological insanity but who can come across as folksy and semi-personable on television. If George W. Bush hadn’t disgraced himself during his presidency, he could have pulled off this scam too, regularly competing with Kasich for precious interview time on broadcast and cable television to declare that the Trump types are the exception and not the rule.

The “John Kasich Republicans” are every bit as dangerous as the “Roy Moore Republicans,” just in different ways. If Kasich, or Jeb Bush, or Marco Rubio, or any one of the supposedly less extreme 2016 GOP presidential candidates had won the party’s nomination and defeated Hillary Clinton last year, we’d still have a massive tax cut for billionaires, an assault on the Affordable Care Act, pro-fossil-fuel hacks in charge of the EPA and Interior and Energy Departments, a Secretary of Education who spat upon public schools, and virtually all of the nonsense we see out of Donald Trump and his minions. The Kasich/Bush/Rubio types wouldn’t tweet as much, and would probably condemn overt acts of white extremism like the Charlottesville tiki-torch march, but otherwise we’d get the same covfefe out of them.

I’m a little hesitant about making predictions after the Alabama Senate race, but I remain convinced that Kasich will not challenge Trump for the 2020 Republican nomination. I’ve previously suggested that Kasich is angling for another cable-news gig after his term as Ohio Governor ends. If such a gig opens up–at, say, 7:00pm Eastern on MSNBC–would it surprise you if Kasich ended up in the slot?

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D.R. Tucker

D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.