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Now displaying: March, 2016
Mar 18, 2016

Ohio Gov. John Kasich won the primary election in his home state on Tuesday night.  That's the bare minimum that can be asked of a presidential candidate -- ask U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio about that -- but Kasich is hoping that his first win might be the start of something special for him.

Jason Hart, a national reporter for Watchdog who lives in Ohio, says it would indeed take something special for Kasich to have a chance at catching Donald Trump and Ted Cruz for the GOP nomination. It's almost mathematically impossible for him to finish with the most delegates, but with the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Kasich might be hoping for a little more home cooking in August.

But Kasich's whole campaign has been a Cinderella run.  He entered as one of many governors running for president, and has unexpectedly outlasted Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Rick Perry and Scott Walker.

Also this week: A look at Sunshine Week, and the always-important issue of government accountability and transparency. Matt Kittle sits down to discuss an Open Records victory in Wisconsin.

All that, plus our Nanny State of the Week and a Sunshine Week edition of Picks of the Liter, on this edition of the Watchdog Podcast.

Mar 11, 2016

John Kasich is running in last place in the Republican primary field, but, hey, at least he's still running.

The last of what was once a crowded field of current and former governors, Kasich is betting the farm on his performance in his home state of Ohio, where voters go to the polls on Tuesday. A victory in the state's winner-take-all primary could give him a boost -- though winning the nominating is likely still out of reach.

On this edition of the Watchdog Podcast, Eric Boehm sits down with Ohio-based Jason Hart, Watchdog's national labor and health policy reporter, to talk about Kasich's campaign and his record as governor.  Though candidate Kasich likes to talk about balancing the budget, his record in Ohio includes his long-term budget-busting decision to accept Obamacare's Medicaid expansion.

Since Kasich likely can't win the nomination, why is he staying in the race?  As Boehm and Hart explore, there's two reasons: he's soaking up delegates that might otherwise go to front-runner Donald Trump and he's potentially making a play to be the vice presidential candidate (Ohio is kind of important in the general election, after all).  That might be a mistake for Republicans, says Hart.

Then, could lawmakers in Wisconsin undo some of the recent John Doe reforms?

Why is Texas spending $100,000 to build a toilet?

And how is Medicaid causing bigger problems for hospital's accounting of uncompensated care?

All that, plus the Nanny State of the Week, on this edition of the Watchdog Podcast.

Mar 4, 2016

Donald Trump won a series of big victories on Super Tuesday, but suffered a handful of setbacks this week too.

He won seven of the 11 states that held primary elections or caucus on Tuesday night, but Ted Cruz surprised by winning three states.  Then, Trump was attacked by former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Thursday morning and turned in a poor debate performance on Thursday night.

Host Eric Boehm and Matt Kittle recap the big week in politics and ask an important question: what does Trump's mostly-successful campaign say about America? 

One theory, offered by Samuel Goldman at The American Conservative, says that Trump is really just a symptom. The disease, says Goldman, is erosion of civic associations and the loss of local government control. By putting the feds in charge of more and more things, we've created a system where politics is largely "magical" in the eyes of many people.  Why should we be surprised, then, when they elect a man who promises to pull all the strings out from behind the curtain?

Then, why is a city attorney in Denver getting paid -- and getting pay increases -- while he's been on investigatory leave?

And why are city officials in Amarillo, Texas, planning to spend $70 million to build a baseball stadium for a nonexistent team?

All that, plus our Nanny State of the Week, on this edition of the Watchdog Podcast.