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My Turn: Kasich is best hope for a better future

For the Monitor
Last modified: 2/7/2016 12:57:08 AM
Another New Hampshire primary election season nears its end.

Granite Staters have been treated (some would say subjected) to a race on the Republican side that is unique in my lifetime. Campaign styles have run the gamut from conventional to so over the top that it seemed we were watching one of those reality TV shows.

Frankly, it’s been demoralizing. At this critical juncture in our national life, would-be presidents behave more like they’re contestants in Wrestlemania. And glib newbies to national politics talk pretty, but have no achievement to back up their words.

Except for one. John Kasich, whom I have supported since he entered the race, is a serious candidate who’s run a serious campaign.

He has avoided insults, he is focused like a laser on real solutions to our problems, and he is the only candidate in the race we can be certain knows how to solve our problems, because he’s done it before.

Most importantly to us, he has paid deep respect to New Hampshire, making himself available at more than 100 town meetings to take any question that came his way.

So the comparison between John Kasich and the others raises very important questions.

There is no question that the exhibition put on by Trump, Rubio, Cruz and others has been entertaining, and in a way, grimly fascinating. There’s something at least temporarily satisfying about hearing candidates voice anger that we are feeling.

It’s a guilty pleasure watching them, sort of like binging on chocolate ice cream after a bad day at work.

But we all have known since childhood that you don’t make big decisions out of anger. You wait until the cold light of dawn to think hard about how best to fix what’s wrong in our lives. We subordinate anger to rational thought, and then make the best decision for our futures.

We don’t want to be the fish that snaps at a lure that has disturbed its space and pays the price by ending up in a frying pan.

Let’s look at a rational checklist for the job of president:

Is the candidate a problem solver or a talker?

Does the candidate have a long and deep record of improving government and making it work for his constituents?

Has the candidate held consistent, principled views over the years, or has he vacillated depending on the latest polls?

Does he conduct himself with the wisdom and dignity we want in a president?

And, importantly to the times we’re in, is he a peacemaker like Ronald Reagan with the skills and experience to bring our country together (It’s fine to tell off the other side, but our nation’s problems are so profound it will take all of us, not just some of us, working together to solve them).

I’d add one more:

Would you trust your children, your aging parents, and your special needs family members with him, because that is literally what we’re doing when we decide our future this coming fall.

Now look at Kasich. Problem solver? Check. Record of success fixing government? Check. Consistent views? Check. Presidential dignity and demeanor? Check. Peacemaker? Check. (Remember, Kasich balanced the federal budget when Bill Clinton was in power, something nobody thought possible).

Lastly, I’d trust him with my family’s future. He believes the debt we have heaped on coming generations is immoral, and he believes in principles of personal responsibility and self-sufficiency for people who are able.

I feel so strongly about this because this is an election we have to get right. If we go with anger, we’re also going to get more divisive governing and line-in-the-sand foreign policy that isn’t going to make us safer.

Deeply experienced but totally his own man, principled but not dogmatic, optimistic and determined, John Kasich is our best assurance of the future we want for ourselves and our families.

(John E. Sununu served in the U.S. Senate from 2003-2009 and serves as New Hampshire chairman for John Kasich.)


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