A smart politician knows how to sidestep a question, turning it to his or her own advantage. Ohio governor John Kasich is a smart politician. At Tuesday night's debate in Cleveland, GOP TV's Megyn Kelly asked "The subject of gay marriage and religious liberty. Governor Kasich, if you had a son or daughter who was gay or lesbian, how would you explain to them your opposition to same-sex marriage?"
After Kasich avoided the question by stating "Well, look, I'm an old-fashioned person here, and I happen to believe in traditional marriage. But I've also said the court has ruled ... Kelly repeated
How would you -- how would you explain it to a child?
Good follow-up, Megyn, but every Repub running for president knows he or she may be asked that. This applies especially to Kasich, who was asked (video, below) a variation of the "gay marriage feelings" question earlier this year. Thrown that 80-mph fastball in Cleveland, Kasich responded by stating
Wait, Megyn, the court has ruled, and I said we'll accept it. And guess what, I just went to a wedding of a friend of mine who happens to be gay. Because somebody doesn't think the way I do, doesn't mean that I can't care about them or can't love them. So if one of my daughters happened to be that, of course I would love them and I would accept them. Because you know what?
That was followed by applause, which everyone in America except Salon's Luke Brinker knew it would be because.... family. Whenever asked a tough question, invoke family. It's why Senator Rob Portman (also of Ohio) and Dick Cheney, both right-wing politicians, have been able to neutralize their support of same-sex marriage- Portman's son, and one of Cheney's daughters, is gay.
After more applause, Kasich added "That's what we're taught when we have strong faith." When in doubt, invoke faith. Evangelicals love it, not realizing that the speaker has avoided saying "religion" or "Christianity" for a reason. Recognizing the omission, the media loves it as do most agnostics and atheists because everyone has "faith" in something. Kasich concluded by adding
So the issues like that, issues like that are planted to divide us. I think the simple fact of the matter is, and this is where I would agree with Jeb, and I've been saying it all along, we need to give everybody a chance, treat everybody with respect, and let them share in this great American dream that we have, Megan. So, look, I'm going to love my daughters, I'm going to love them no matter what they do. Because, you know what, God gives me unconditional love. I'm going to give it to my family and my friends and the people around me.
No one ever lost a vote by saying he loves his family- and if it's daughters, better yet. And everyone, Christians, non-Christian monotheists, and even some people who don't believe in God believe God loves them unconditionally (no, really). It feels like an affirmation that no matter what I believe or what I am, it's really o.k. with the guy upstairs.
When the governor of Ohio gives such a slick answer, it's easy to understand why he's so popular back home- which, in this case, was the locale for the interview. And all that was done, not coincidentally, without answering the question "how do you explain to (your offspring) your opposition to same-sex marriage?"
Next up: Trump got a hanging curveball. He responded with a check swing.