It’s not often Oregon voters have much say in the outcome of the presidential primary elections, but that may be different this year, particularly where Republicans are concerned. Fortunately, one of the three major candidates is both qualified for and suited to the job.
John Kasich of Ohio is the best choice among a trio of candidates. He’s a conservative but not an ideologue, a man who, as governor, has put the people of his state ahead of standard conservative rhetoric. Moreover, he understands the necessity of working with others to accomplish his goals.
Neither Donald Trump nor Ted Cruz can make the same claim.
Trump, for all his salty language and get-tough attitude, may be a brilliant businessman. That does not, however, translate into being a brilliant statesman or politician, and Americans need both those qualities in the person who must deal not only with a dysfunctional Congress but an increasingly dangerous world. His plan for immigration reform, as one example — deport all illegal immigrants — is no reform at all and impossible to accomplish in any event.
Then there’s Cruz. The junior senator from Texas is clearly good at understanding and using to his advantage the rules that govern the selection of presidential candidates. What he isn’t good at is working with others. Thus, he sought a government shutdown last year that not only had no Democratic supporters, it had no Republican supporters either. In fact, members of his own party refused to extend his time on the Senate floor during which he excoriated his own party leadership over failing to go along with his plan.
Like it or not, politics and governing work best as collaborative affairs in which getting along is critical to getting things done.
Kasich, a former Ohio state senator and U.S. Representative, is currently the governor of Ohio. While in Congress he served as chairman of the House Budget Committee and of the House Armed Services Committee.
This year, he’s arguing for cuts in business taxes and a more reasoned approach to federal rulemaking, including a cost-benefit analysis of proposed regulations. He knows the value of international trade to the U.S. economy. In addition, as governor, he recognized the value of expanding his state’s Medicaid participation under the Affordable Care Act, a move that led, as it has in Oregon, to better health care coverage for those who need it most.
But what also stands out in this year of pre-election shouting, is this: While Kasich is a genuine conservative, he’s the only candidate who doesn’t add invective. That, combined with plenty of political experience and an understanding of the way government works, makes him the standout choice for voters in the GOP primary.