John McCain’s Vice President should come from one of the three keystone states, in the central arch of this year’s 270 electoral votes: Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. He should have a downtown, factory, Walmart’s touch, and ketchup-and-meatloaf credibility. He should be a proven budget hawk. He ought to be feisty and combative. He ought to have finely honed television skills. He should call to mind Republican public leadership at its best — in the exhilarating 1994 revolution. He should despise Republican big spenders as much as Democrat big spenders. He should look and sound like a Reagan Democrat.
He should be a flag-in-the-lapel patriot, a “Buster-Don’t-you-ever-say-that-again” patriot, a guy who wants to be worthy of heroes, warriors, and men and women of honor. Like most of them, he is a religious and moral man.
He should be smart, witty, tough, and a just plain no-nonsense presence. You’ve all seen him a lot on television in the last few years. He was born in Pennsylvania, has grown up in Ohio (which he represented in Congress for his allotted terms), and would be just as perfectly credible in Detroit as in the beautiful rolling hills of rural Michigan. He is the perfect Ohio-Michigan-Pennsylvania candidate, John Kasich.
I am not the first to recommend Mr. Kasich, even on NRO. But I do so with calm confidence in his superior qualities and common touch — and his zest for down-to-earth political argument. The kind of guy — we used to say where I grew up in Pennsylvania — you could trust, back-to-back, in a barroom brawl.