Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Kasich Could Land Gop Nomination

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Kasich Could Land Gop Nomination

Article excerpt

Pity the fellow who was working at the Blockbuster store when John Kasich spotted a cassette of "Fargo." The people who distribute Academy Award nominations like that movie but the U.S. representative from Columbus, Ohio, emphatically does not. The Blockbuster fellow tried a Nuremberg defense - "I'm just the store manager" - but Kasich would have none of it, telling him that at least the movie should be labeled for gratuitous violence.

There, in a nutshell, is why the effervescent Republican is attracting interest as a presidential candidate. He is not interested in running in 1998 for the Senate seat to be vacated by John Glenn. Time is too short for such middling steps. "There just aren't," Kasich laments, "enough hours left in my life that I can get everything done that I want to get done." This man staring at the blank face of Eternity is 44 years old.

He is (oxymoronically, some would say) a spontaneous politician and (another oxymoron) a soulful Republican. He likes the rock music of Counting Crows and deplores the condition of the culture. He has been in politics since he graduated from Ohio State and joined the staff of a state legislator. He is in his eighth term in the U.S. House. Being chairman of the Budget Committee is not chopped liver, but he is restless. And like a lot of true believers, he believes that anyone he can talk to, he can convince of anything he believes. With his arms extended in a come-to-Jesus embrace of the world, and then with his hands hacking at his desktop, he says government must become smaller - for example, the Education Department should be abolished. Do his constituents believe that? No, but, "if I could sit down with 500,000 people . . ." He's just the man to try. But he can't do it. However, a president can, sort of. The presidency has come to be considered a primarily rhetorical office, a bully pulpit. And speaking of pulpits . . . The most important player in Republican nominating politics is the Christian Coalition. It believes that in 1996 it was too reactive, with the result that it did not have influence commensurate with its weight. …

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