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Too bad: John Kasich, the Republican presidential aspirant who seemed comparatively sane, turns out to be as loony as any of his companions on the GOP debate stage – perhaps even loonier. On Tuesday, the Ohio governor boldly proposed a new federal agency to “promote Judeo-Christian values” overseas. Evidently Kasich believes that this religiously-based propaganda initiative – which he would direct toward the Mideast, Russia, and China – should promote “Judeo-Christian Western values of human rights, democracy, freedom of speech, freedom of religion [!] and freedom of association” as a counter-terrorist measure.

Of course, if such an “Agency to Promote Judeo-Christian Values” were sent forth to advance the Christian and Jewish religions abroad, that effort would not only alienate Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and adherents of other faiths, but would raze the constitutional “wall of separation between church and state” built by the nation’s founders.

While any such program would be destined to fail miserably as public diplomacy, Kasich’s articulation of this terrible idea must have excited the propaganda specialists of ISIS and jihadis everywhere, since it confirms their claims that the West has mounted a “crusade” against Islam. (No doubt it also thrilled the “strict constitutionalists” on the Republican far right, whose embrace of religious liberty only ever protects their own beliefs.)

That’s why Kasich, a “moderate” mindlessly pandering to the extreme right, is today’s useful idiot.

Owner Jim Fadden escorts U.S. Republican presidential candidate and Ohio Governor John Kasich (L) through Fadden’s General Store in North Woodstock, New Hampshire on October 14, 2015, during a multi-day campaign bus tour through the state.  REUTERS/Brian Snyder

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