WASHINGTON, February 7, 2016 — In a political season that has been has been more gladiator contest than collegial endeavor, and in a media environment that stubbornly resists substantive debate in favor of pandering for easy ratings by focusing on Donald Trump, it is notable that after last nights strong ABC debate performance, John Kasich is about to explode as the viable alternative to Donald Trump in New Hampshire.
Kasich has surged into second place in the first in the nation primary state, winning the endorsement of seven of New Hampshire’s eight newspapers, as well as regional media powerhouses the Boston Globe and the New York Times, who called him the most capable and experienced of the Republican candidates.
At the debate last night, Kasich finally broke thru with an impressive performance that emphasized his record of accomplishment and his positive view of what it takes to get the American economy on its feet again.
Marco Rubio’s implosion in the face of Chris Christie’s attacks made it clear that Senator Rubio is not ready for prime time and is easily rattled. His repetitive regurgitation of his 25-second stump speech excerpt about President Obama in response to and at the very moment that Christie pointed out how often he does it promises to be the Rick Perry “oops” soundbite of this campaign.
It will be remembered as the moment when Rubio was no longer taken seriously as a potential commander in chief, when the canned and programmed nature of his campaign was laid bare, as if Rubio was a malfunctioning automaton replicant from the film Blade Runner.
The blunting of Rubio’s momentum out of Iowa clears the way for a Kasich surge in the run-up to the New Hampshire primary. He has held more than 100 town hall meetings, has the support of former New Hampshire senators Sununu and Humphreys, and consistently seems to be striking the right chord with New Hampshire voters.
Kasich has a record of accomplishment unmatched by the other potential nominees. The only balanced federal budgets of our lifetime occurred when Kasich was head of the House Budget Committee in the 1990’s and led the efforts that were responsible for not only a balanced budget, but a $2 trillion surplus as well.
Imagine, when Kasich left Capitol Hill, America had under $4 trillion in national debt and projected surpluses for years to come. We now stand at $20 trillion in national debt and counting. When he became Governor of Ohio the state had an $8 billion deficit; it now has a $2 billion surplus.
Kasich served on the Armed Services committee for 18 years and has a commanding knowledge of the budget, the Pentagon, and defense spending. More importantly, he has a proven record of accomplishing specific, tangible results in government that leave most politicians left behind in a miasma of empty rhetoric. John Kasich actually accomplished things. He gets results.
It is a cliché that no Republican has been elected President without carrying the state of Ohio, but it is true none the less. Kasich is in his second term as Ohio Governor, is wildly popular, was reelected last time with 65 percent of the vote, and received substantial support from African Americans and Hispanic voters.
His record of accomplishment both in Congress and in Ohio gives him a breadth of experience that is unmatched among the candidates. He has used that experience to craft a positive message for America around economic growth, tax reform, and lifting all Americans’ status in life by giving them pathways to a successful future.
In a campaign season that has been long on drama and short on solutions Kasich has a 100 day plan of action for Speaker Paul Ryan reminiscent of Reagan’s first 100 days. Tax reform, repatriation of foreign corporate profits, balancing the budget, paying down the deficit, engineering economic growth in the 4 percent range, and rolling back regulations on the economy are all specific proposals that Kasich has shown time and again that he has the ability to deliver and succeed in implementing.
As Cruz squanders his Iowa success with questionable moral judgements and an unbearable personality, and Rubio implodes in an embarrassing and unalterable “emperor has no clothes” moment at the last debate, the people of New Hampshire have the chance to elevate the one candidate the Democrats fear the most as the most electable.
Kasich’s path after New Hampshire is a bright one, if he can capitalize on his showing there. He has staff in South Carolina and Nevada, and will ramp up for super Tuesday and the SEC primary, but his real opportunities to nail down the nomination come in March.
Michigan and Ohio have their primaries on March 8 and 15, and the results are winner take all. If Kasich were to win the Michigan and Ohio primaries, he would have a sizable block of delegates from the most crucial of the industrial states.
He should do extremely well in Pennsylvania on April 26 and Indiana on June 3. Florida and Illinois also have their primaries on March 15. All of these contests are winner take all.
In a torturous campaign that leaves the future of America in the balance, and on a campaign stage that includes the unacceptable bombast of Ted Cruz, the lightweight ramblings of Marco Rubio, and the ratings chasing media circus that is the Donald Trump campaign, John Kasich has the chance in New Hampshire to bring a positive, winning message to the American people. It is a message he has shown time and time again that he can make happen if he is elected.
They say the cream rises to the top, eventually. If Kasich surprises us all in New Hampshire, as he looks like he is about to, the race for President in 2016 may have finally found its most serious candidate, and one who can actually govern this angry, damaged, bitter, divided country.