Ohio governor John Kasich announced his entry into the crowded Republican field today. And a whole lot of us conservatives shrugged. Gov. Kasich strikes me as a capable, and likable, state leader who is a right-leaning centrist. In other words, the kind of Republican liberals love (e.g. see this slobber piece at The Daily Beast). Of course, what the author calls Kasich’s “solidly conservative record” is open for debate among actual conservatives. Let’s just say that The Daily Beast is one of the last places I would go for advice about who to nominate on our side.
But I’m not here to complain about Kasich’s purity. We are none of pure; there are always going to be those more ideologically pure than thee or me. So, I’ve got it: John Kasich is not your tea party cup of tea. And he is not my first, or even third choice in today’s GOP field*.
But here’s what I keep coming around to: Bill Buckley’s rule, which is to nominate the most conservative candidate who is viable. In the general election, Gov. Kasich is reasonably viable, but he is, let’s face it, a lackluster candidate. He might not take Florida or even home state Ohio, both essential to any Republican.
The second point I’d make, in Kasich’s favor (sort of): who would you rather see take the oath of office come January 2017: John Kasich or She Who Must Not Be Named? The same goes true, however, for any of the current field, not to mention any stray cat found in the alley…
Last point: there is no way that Kasich gets our nomination in this time of Obama fatigue. Which is actually Big Government, Big Brother fatigue. Kasich seems to be among those Big Government Republicans who seem to think that government is the answer, not the problem. In this, he seems to share Jeb Bush’s approach to tinkering with big government, hoping to tweak the Leviathan so that some centrally-managed program will work a little better.
Perhaps Gov. Kasich is running for Veep? If so, I wish him well, but still he would not be my choice.
*For what it’s worth, right now my top three are Scott Walker, Rick Perry, Marco Rubio. In that order.