Seemingly lost in the all the "Donaldfoolery" of late is that a real candidate announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for President: Governor John Kasich of Ohio. Mr. Kasich brings a singular level of experience to this race as both a legislator and executive, significant business success, four decades of winning elections, and impressive (even historic) accomplishments in public policy. He is what Governors Scott Walker and Chris Christie can, at this point in their tenures, only aspire to be. He has more experience than both former Governor Jeb Bush and Senator Marco Rubio combined. And he has won the kind of blue collar support needed in a GOP must-win state.

Let's examine the real advantages he represents.

  1. The Resume - Mr. Kasich has been a state Senator, was elected to nine terms as a member of Congress, chairman of the House Budget Committee, and has twice elected Governor of Ohio. His grandparents were immigrants from Eastern Europe and he was born into a working class family in western Pennsylvania.
  2. Policy Success -- Kasich was the chief architect and major negotiator of the 1997 balanced budget during the Clinton administration, an agreement that brought the first balanced federal budget since 1969 and led eventually to a federal budget surplus. Kasich also chaired the congressional conference committee that adopted major welfare reform, requiring new work/training requirements into the system. He also played a major part in House passage of the Goldwater-Nichols Act, the first real restructuring and streamlining of the military command structure since the creation of the Department of Defense in 1947. Under his tenure as Governor, Ohio's unemployment rate has been nearly halved from 9.4% to about 5%, the state's surplus has more than tripled, and he has cut taxes by $3 billion and consolidated and streamlined the state's economic development efforts
  3. He is a Winner - in addition to his state and Congressional district victories, he defeated an incumbent Democrat, Governor Ted Strickland in 2010, and then won re-election with 64% of the vote in 2014. He has received significantly more support from both Latino and African American voters than Republicans can usually expect.
  4. Across the Aisle - while this may not be popular with hardliners in the GOP, Kasich is a moderate conservative. He favors smaller government and tax reform, but he has worked successfully with Democrats to pass both important legislation and to be an early adopter of Medicaid expansion in Ohio under the provisions of the Affordable Care Act. At the same time, he has not shied away from battling teachers unions on the issues of both pension reform and Common Core Curriculum. He seems to govern practically, not ideologically.
  5. Mr. Kasich also appears to have a strong independent streak. He is not appreciated by unions but workers love him. He is hated by the National Rifle Association but gun owners support him.

Now he does like to talk a lot, to drone on before a microphone - but so did that young Clinton fellow from Arkansas.

History may be on Mr. Kasich's side. Republicans have a history of nominating the most moderate candidate in the field. (The one exception since 1968 was Ronald Reagan, but he had the good fortune to be both the heir apparent - another GOP tradition - and the beneficiary of a split among moderate opponents). He will have to catch on in the primaries, but he can because he doesn't have anywhere near the baggage that most of his opponents have out there. And he can cause some real fear among Democrats who could be blindsided by a possible Kasich-Rubio, Kasich-Fiorini, or a Kasich-Haley ticket.

John Kasich's announcement deserved a whole lot more attention than it got.