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OpEdiTude: Is John Kasich's 'Vegas vacation' a Bible lesson in reverse?

Sheldon Adelson at The Venetian, his casino in Las Vegas.
Sheldon Adelson at The Venetian, his casino in Las Vegas.
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When Ohio Gov. John Kasich published his book "Every Other Monday," about the time he spent as a Republican Congressman studying the Bible and its lessons with a group of like-minded Christian legislators during the 1990s, he didn't use Jesus' "Cleansing of the Temple," in which a planned act of religious rebelliousness by Jesus to expel the money changers from the temple, accusing them of turning it into a den of thieves through their commercial activities, the that lead to his arrest and crucifixion by the Romans as the basis for one of his lessons learned.

When Gov. John Kasich's shows up in Las Vegas this weekend to talk with billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson, is he showing that he didn't learn the lesson of Jesus "Cleansing the Temple?"

Instead of toppling the money changers tables and running them out of business, what if Jesus had instead gone to the Temple, not to denounce them and their business for being fundamental to the corruption of the Hebrew hierarchy at the time, but to show up as an ambitious political salesman, eager to sell them on placing their bets on him as a candidate who, with a little help from billionaires pumping money in to market him, could become the next best messiah of reform?

Ronald Reagan called himself a bar of soap when he showed up with his message and image makers to work on selling him to the public in 1980. John Kasich has higher aspirations, as he often reminds reporters and audiences alike when he implies his decisions shouldn't be questioned because he reports to a higher authority.

So while there will be no mention of it by the media, verily, the irony that Gov. Kasich is traveling to Las Vegas this weekend for his audience with the King David of money lenders, Sheldon Adelson, whose net worth of $38 billion makes him the eighth richest person in the world. As chairman and CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, he and his disciples of capitalism are looking for a fresh face they can elect president in 2016, after losing the 2012 election cycle that cost them about $100 million when they placed their bets on Republican standard bearer Mitt Romney, who lost by five million votes nationwide.

The purpose behind Kasich's Vegas vacation, contrary to the gospels he so covets, would surely make Jesus' brother James the Just, who lead the council of disciples after his brother's death and who was revered because he owned nothing, weep tears of sadness.

But John Kasich and other Republicans eying the 2016 election year will visit casino kingpin Adelson, who spent $100 million to defeat President Obama but came up short by five million votes nationwide. Kasich has previously met with Adelson at the Venetian, the casino owner's non-union gaming establishment in Las Vegas.

Adelson has been in the news recently because he wants to eliminate online gaming as competition to his casinos in Macao, Singapore and Las Vegas. And having a friendly Congress and president would be bets that can payoff big time.

Democrats have picked up on Kasich's Vegas vacation and will use it to dent his gospel that he's no longer interested in running for president, despite trips like this and more buzz building that the GOP messiah for 2012 will come out of the Midwest, a prophesy Adelson would like to profit from, that meshes well with Kasich's story as a "comeback" governor.

"Ohio voters need to know that John Kasich's presidential ambitions are more important to him than helping middle class families. And that he is pandering to the extreme right wing in order to finance a possible 2016 campaign," Daniel McElhatton, Communications Director, Friends of FitzGerald said Wednesday.

"Did you know that Sheldon Adelson is so rabidly anti-union that he owns the only casino that refuses to hire union workers? Or that he 'earns' most of his money from Macao and Singapore?" McElhatton said. "Sheldon Adelson's priorities aren't Ohio's priorities. It looks like neither are John Kasich's."

On "Fox News Sunday" last Sunday, show host Chris Wallace asked Gov. Kasich to answer his question on the first-term governor running for president if he's reelected this year?

"KASICH: Yeah, the answer is real simple. My only focus is now being re-elected and continuing to lift Ohio, period. I don't fall for gimmicks in this and that. That's all silly politics. My direction and everything that I am committed to is our great buckeye state. And at the same time, if I could, I would suit up and try to help Dayton in that round of the Sweet 16.

"WALLACE: Well, I'm about to get to that in a second. But I'm just -- I mean -- when you say you're not interested in running, are you flatly ruling out running in 2016?

"KASICH: My only focus, Chris -- I mean I don't know how many times I have to say this, I'm flattered about the fact that people talk about my running for president. You know, I tried to run for president in the 2000 election and nobody would pay any attention. Now all I'm focused on is Ohio and everybody wants to talk about something else. So, I'm here in Ohio."

Advance work on the meeting with Adelson is that he "doesn’t want a crazy extremist" of the kinds that failed at the ballot box two years ago, a time when Republicans thought they could capture the Senate, but which eluded them due to the quality of candidates on the ballot. Reports are that Adelson wants to rethink his strategy for GOP candidates in 2016.

Dubbed the "Sheldon Primaries," the meetings Thursday through Sunday will be an audition of GOP governors, like Kasich, who came to power in 2010, the year of the Tea Party, when Republicans reclaimed the U.S. House of Representatives with big wins. The current narrative, now backed up with new predictions from Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight, is that momentum is building for the GOP this fall and apathy is a hurdle to Democrats, who only need to lose six net seats to retake the Senate, which if they hold onto the House, as they are expected to do, would be unforgiving on President Obama, his programs and polices, for his final two years in office.

It's well known that Adelson wants to stop online gaming, which he calls a "moral hazard," from interfering with his casino business. Some believe there will be some ring-kissing going on from the likes of Kasich, Walker or Christie, but it's worth it if they can play spin the wheel with Sheldon and it lands on them. Rumors are that Adelson is shopping for an outside of Washington candidate, maybe a a governor instead of a senator or congressman.

John Kasich's Temple will be the Venetian, and the king of money lenders is Sheldon Adelson. So John Kasich going to the Temple and not throwing out the money lenders, who could fund a run for the White House for him, would be a rewrite of the Bible of colossal proportions that should certainly cause any Doubting Thomas to doubt whether what he said about not being interested in a return trip to Washington as commander-in-chief is the truth.

John kasich's Vegas vacation can only cause voters to wonder whether his "higher authority" is not of this earth or living comfortably in America's greatest sin city and making $32 million a day.

The news article OpEdiTude: Is John Kasich's 'Vegas vacation' a Bible lesson in reverse? appeared first on Columbus Government Examiner.

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