How You Can Start and Operate a Soup Kitchen

Mission Possible: How You Can Start and Operate a Soup Kitchen

John Kasich's pathway to the presidency

It is really hard to keep the plethora of Republican candidates for president straight. The 16 aspirants' first hurdle is coming up on Aug. 6 on Fox News with the first of the 12 2015-16 Presidential Debates. According to the rules established by the Republican National Committee, the top ten candidates on the most recent five national polls will be invited to the respective debates.

While cracking the top 10 on Aug. 6 is not a litmus test for the Republican nomination, it is important and all of the announced candidates will between now and then try and get their national numbers up. A failure by one of the acknowledged frontrunners to crack the top 10 would, at this point, be a setback for their candidacy. Similarly, if a candidate not currently considered in the top tier were to make to the top 10 it would be a boost to their candidacy.

At this juncture, if I were going to pick a long-shot to win the Republican nomination it would be two-term Ohio Governor John Kasich who announced his candidacy on July 21 at his alma mater, Ohio State University. Kasich is 63 years old and was recently re-elected by a 30-point margin winning 86 of Ohio's 88 counties, including heavily Democratic Cuyahoga County which includes Cleveland. Kasich served in the House of Representatives from 1983-2001.

Kasich should get a bump from his announcement, because the media will be attenuating the importance of Ohio in presidential politics. They will point out that Ohio is a swing state with the seventh most electoral votes and that history has shown that no Republican has ever been elected to the White House without Ohio. Without Ohio's 20 electoral votes in 2004, President George W. Bush would have fallen short for a second term. Without Ohio in 2000, he wouldn't have been elected president in the first place. Ohio is a true "bellwether" state having not voted for the loser in the presidential election since 1960.

Kasich will stress his ability to effectively manage the finances of a big state with 11.6 million residents and a $72 million budget. He will emphasize his tax-cutting prowess and his proven record of reducing the size of government. From an ideological perspective, I think he will shy away form taking extreme positions on a variety of hot-button issues. He will attempt to thread the needle between the crowded very conservative field and Jeb Bush.

Having accepted Obamacare's expansion of Medicare, Kasich will not be calling for the abolition of the Supreme Court for their ruling on Obamacare. Likewise, he will probably not be attacking public employees. During his first term in office he created a firestorm when he spearheaded and signed a measure to end collective bargaining for public employees, including police and fire. He was forced to back off when Ohio voters by a wide margin overturned the measure in a ballot referendum.

Having embraced the Common Core State Standards Initiative, voted for an assault-weapons ban while in Congress and expressed an openness to consider legalizing undocumented immigrants, these red-meat issues will probably not be centerpieces of his campaign.

Unfortunately, John Kasich has some Chris Christie in him. According to a long article about him in the April issue of The Atlantic titled "The Unpleasant Charisma of John Kasich" he can be "kind of a jerk," "rude," "nasty," and "an ass-kicker."

Like our Governor Christie at times he can come across as a "loose cannon." The article described Kasich as "a sort of heartland Chris Christie – brash, decisive, authentic – without all the baggage."

In addition to not having the Bridgegate baggage, Kasich's record on the economy is exemplary when compared to our Governor's dismal performance (the three major credit rating agencies lowered New Jersey's general obligation bond rating on eight different occasions during his term of office and our unemployment rates continue to lag behind most of the nation).

Kasich began his term with an $8 billion deficit and now the state has a $2 billion surplus. According to The Atlantic, "In his first two years in office, the state's unemployment rate fell from 9 percent, one of the nation's highest, to 7 percent, below the national average, and it has continued to decline. In December, Ohio's unemployment rate was 5.1 percent, half a point below the overall U.S. rate of 5.6 percent. Last month Kasich held a press conference to celebrate the creation of 352,000 jobs on his watch, surpassing the 351,000 lost during his predecessor's administration."

John Kasich chances of winning the Republican presidential nomination are slim because of the exaggerated role Republican paleo-conservative play in the vetting process and their unwillingness to accept someone who disagrees with them on too many issues. If, however, John Kasich is somehow able to chart a moderate pathway to victory, the Republicans could have a candidate who could win a national election by appealing to independents, which is not the case for the vast majority of ultra-conservative Republicans seeking the presidency.