Apparently John Kasich has stopped getting the memos.
In a conversation with CNBC's John Harwood, Kasich did the unthinkable and defended Wall Street in front of a switched-on camera:
HARWOOD: Let me get a reality check from you on some of the economic discussion. Candidates are giving voters a story about why their economic problems exist. Bernie Sanders says Wall Street's business model is a fraud.
KASICH: I don't even know what that means. What does he mean it's a fraud? Wall Street's there to provide some of the glue to make that economic system churn. Did we have problems there? Of course. Is there too much greed? Of course. Are there rules and regulations that are necessary? Of course. But what's he think we should do, abolish Wall Street? I mean, it's so absurd. You talk about Donald Trump talking in broad generalities.
Speaking of broad generalities, Kasich is clearly pretty f@cking sick of this whole "Kasich worked at Lehman Brothers!" thing:
HARWOOD: Let's go back to the Wall Street bogeyman. In this campaign people have used the fact that Hillary Clinton got speaking fees from Goldman Sachs as a black mark against her. Ted Cruz borrowed against retirement funds from Goldman — a black mark. You got hit by Chris Christie's super PAC for being a Lehman Brothers banker who was part of the problem before it all went down. Are you not concerned that if you rise higher, that basic connection, John Kasich, Lehman Brothers, because of how average Americans feel about Wall Street, is going to be crippling for you?
KASICH: I don't really know how average Americans feel about Wall Street. You know, they ran this against me when I ran for governor, and I won. They've tried this on me since I've been in the race. And I'm rising in the polls.
When you run a two-man office in Columbus, Ohio, that would be like blaming a GM dealer in Spartanburg (South Carolina) for the collapse of GM. It doesn't work. People aren't silly about things. It's so crazy. If I had bankrupted Lehman Brothers from a two-man office in Columbus, Ohio, I should be pope, not running for president.
By taking a somewhat nuanced and mostly positive view of Wall Street's role in the American economy, Kasich has leapt to the top of the list of openly pro-Wall Street GOP presidential candidates. A list of one.
And by attempting to use his time working for "Darth Fuld" as a political positive, Kasich is really saying that he is done with the simplistic absurdity that has characterized the campaign so far. It goes a step beyond the tired-ass "There are good actors and bad actors" to "I'm a guy who worked with bad actors but wasn't one."
Now it's time for fellow Lehman alum JEB! to follow suit and maybe remind everyone that Goldman Sachs paid for Ted Cruz's family's health care for a few years.
Not that any of that will ever happen.