One does not hire the Republican equivalent of Bob Shrum (see e.g. Presidents Gephardt, Dukakis, Kerrey, Gore, and Kerry) — advisors to a host of “former Presidential candidates” including McCain and Huntsman — to be President. One hires them to knife other candidates in the back.
John Kasich does not want to be President. He wants to be the guy who scuttles the chances of other candidates. In 2012, Jon Huntsman set out destroying a host of candidates we now know from several books written. It was, for example, reportedly the Huntsman campaign that push the stories about Herman Cain as he continued to rise in the polls.
Kasich has a frosty relationship with Scott Walker. He is no fan of Ted Cruz or Rand Paul. He is not a great ally to Rick Perry. It doesn’t take much to see Kasich as the guy trying to get on stage at a debate not to build himself up, but take out others, hoping to eventually be rewarded by the next President.
Put more bluntly, one does not run for President in the Republican Party by hiring consultants who hate the Republican base to run the campaign of a Republican who says publicly Jesus wants him to expand government. One runs that way to destroy others within the primary process.
Just the other day, Esquire's Charlie Pierce said the same thing about to other Republicans:
It is possible that Graham is running only to ratfck Aqua Buddha and squash whatever peacenik libertarianism actually exists within the demented Republican primary electorate. Given that Carly Fiorina is out there merely to make life miserable for Hillary Clinton, that means the party's presidential field contains at least two people who simply are running as contract killers.
Of course, anyone who has seen Republicans fight the South Carolina primary knows there aren't just three. Just ask John McCain. Smeared by Team Dubya in 2000, McCain clinched his 2008 comeback by hiring the man who smeared him the last time.