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Tea Party-backed Ohio Republican Governor John Kasich declined to request millions of dollars in federal emergency relief in the wake of tornadoes ravaging much of his state this weekend, raising eyebrows and earning him some jeers from local Democrats for playing politics with a natural disaster.

Elected in the GOP wave of 2010, Kasich took hard-right positions on almost every explosive national issue, including a push for the elimination of collective bargaining rights for public employees that was overturned by angry voters this past November.

So it comes as something of a surprise that he would double down on Tea Party economics after such a recent rebuke. After all, Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels in Indiana and Democrat Steve Beshear in Kentucky both gratefully accepted funds.

“Thanks for the involvement that everybody in the federal government is having with us,” Beshear said. “It is really making a difference here on an hourly basis, so we appreciate it.”

Kasich, for his part, insisted on Saturday Ohio was just fine, thank you very much.

“I believe that we can handle this,” Kasich said while visiting a shelter for storm victims. “We’ll have down here all the assets of the state.”

Assets that under his leadership have shrunk considerably, Kasich having determined to make deep cuts in the state budget in a frenzied push for austerity.

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Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons, a novel and a memoir. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

Ralph Reed

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — In a Colorado church early this summer, one of that state’s Republican representatives, House member Lauren Boebert, spoke, as she always does, with definitive conviction: “The church is supposed to direct the government. The government is not supposed to direct the church. … I’m tired of this separation of church and state junk that’s not in the Constitution.”

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