I was the only pundit that I know of who named Ohio Governor John Kasich as one of the winners in this past week's Republican Presidential debate. Emails and replies to my Forbes post questioned my sanity and folks I met in both Washington and my home in Upstate New York not only refused to see it, they even argued that Mr. Kasich was a big loser. I heard words like "goofy", "desperate", "angry", and "too nervous" to describe him. In short, in the eyes of most, Mr. Kasich was a big loser in the debate and his candidacy makes no sense.

I couldn't help but recall the old television commercials for Star-Kist Tuna. Remember the lead character, "Charley the Tuna"? He wore shades, was slick-talking, mastered (or so he thought) just enough information to be deemed interesting, savvy, a connoisseur of all that was hip and artsy. He was always auditioning to be the one selected by Star-Kist as one of their tunas for canning and sale. But, in the end, the tag line made it very clear: "Sorry, Charley. Star Kist doesn't want tuna with good taste. It wants tuna that tastes good.

Back to the Ohio Governor. The people that I ran into made it clear to me that Mr. Kasich did not have zippy one-liners, was too task oriented, ignored the questions, and instead only focused on one thing - his record as a Congressman, a Committee Chairman, a Governor of a battleground state. "Enough already", one fellow told me at a great Utica Italian restaurant on Thursday night. "He didn't answer the questions he was asked. All he kept on saying was that he negotiated with a Democratic President and fellow Congressional representatives the last balanced budget on the federal level. Who cares if he cuts taxes and the debt in Ohio, grew jobs at a faster level in his state than the nation as a whole, and has expanded Medicaid in his state to cover the uninsured?"

"Why does he keep on saying that over and over when the moderators are looking for him to attack the other candidates or describe his major weaknesses in a job interview?"

Call me old-fashioned but I think candidates should run on their records, especially if they show leadership skills, the ability to bring opposing sides together to achieve good public policy. I also think that they should remain focused, especially when they have a large national audience - and not get sidetracked by debate moderators who want to be seen as tenacious and other candidates who might want to steal the limelight with gratuitous and vacuous one-liners.

I also think that sophisticated GOP viewers should be asking themselves questions like "Which candidate could win Ohio, a must-win state for a Republican nominee"? "Who can neutralize a Democratic nominee by saying, "I worked with your husband to pass the last balanced budget in American history"? "Who can appeal both to conservative voters (pro-life, compassionate conservatism, a record of a real alternative conservative governance model"?) and legislators in the opposition. And who, in the Presidential game of chess can provide a win in Ohio and run with a young, dynamic, eloquent Latino who could help win Florida, too? That would be 47 electoral votes, right there.

But I suppose that neither the GOP nor the media that run these debates abide by the old Star-Kist Principle. They seem to be enabling the path to selecting Charley, the tuna with good taste -the one-liners, trash-talking, applause-line seeking "debate winners". But, who knows, in the end perhaps those who actually turn out to vote might say, "Sorry, Charley". We want a tuna that tastes good.