Clearly, the former Congressman from Ohio wasn't quite ready for prime time when he briefly ran for president in 2000, but since then his FOX gigs have dramatically increased his stature.
Here are a few thoughts about Kasich:
The Bad: Interestingly, Kasich was reported to have been considered as a running mate for Bob Dole in 1996. Few people remember this, so it probably won't hurt his chances with McCain. There have also been past rumors of personal peccadillos, but they seem to have faded away.
The Good: Kasich -- who has been positioning himself to run for governor of Ohio -- is not among the obvious choices for McCain, and he has not been frequently mentioned (he wasn't included in my "Conservative Guide to VP Picks"), but this could be a good thing if McCain is looking for the kind of buzz that might be generated by a "surprise" pick.
... What is more, he's in his mid-50s. In my estimation, this is the perfect age for a McCain running mate. Kasich is young enough to be hip -- but not so young that he looks like he's out with his grandfather. McCain doesn't need a young running mate to remind people of his age, but he does need a "youngish" running mate.
... Both philosophically and stylistically, Kasich seems to be a pretty good match for McCain, as well. A Kasich pick won't offend independent swing voters, nor will it offend conservatives.
The Mix: Obviously, it helps that Kasich hails from "THE" swing-state of Ohio. But it is not clear that he could "guarantee" the state -- a common problem among most of the potential "veep" picks for McCain. Still, considering the recent GOP scandals in Ohio, Kasich might be the only Republican who could immediately guarantee that Ohio is at least "in play" in 2008 -- and that's worth something ...
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