December 23, 2008
Bill O'Reilly's show on Fox News is usually pretty good, and he almost always tries to engage his guests in a fair-minded dialogue, but just as often as not his pugnacious style starts to grate on me. I suppose many other people who are not partisan ideologues have the same reaction to him. That's why I was relieved to see that former Ohio Congressman John Kasich is filling in for the acerbic O'Reilly during the Christmas holidays. ("O Glad Tidings of Comfort and Joy"...) Back when I was a "young Republican" in the late 1990s, Kasich was one my my heroes carrying the torch of New Gingrich's Republican Revolution. Kasich is very smart, with an encyclopedic knowledge of budgetary matters, and he speaks clearly and effectively about the issues that are near and dear to the heart of fiscal conservatives. He is also as clean as a whistle, ethically speaking, and kind of looks like an aging Boy Scout.
When Kasich announced that he would be leaving the House of Representatives in 2000, I was very disappointed. I can imagine how frustrated he must have felt, having come so close to making major reforms in welfare and budget policies, being thwarted by the Clintonistas time and again. It seemed to me that the "best and the brightest" of new Republican leaders in the House were falling by the wayside, such as Susan Molinari (NY) and J.C. Watts (OK). At a time when the GOP "brand name" is in tatters, it's very encouraging to see a smart mainstream conservative like John Kasich adopt a more prominent public profile again.
It was just over a year ago that rock crooner Neil Diamond revealed that the inspiration for his 1969 song "Sweet Caroline" was none other than Caroline Kennedy, daughter of JFK. (See People.com.) She truly exudes the charisma for which the Kennedy clan is known, unlike certain other family members, and I have no doubt that she is sincere, honest, and intelligent. Does she have the necessary horse-trading skills and steel nerves that would be necessary to effectively serve New Yorkers in the United States Senate? Almost certainly not. I hope for her sake that she withdraws from consideration soon, before somebody with greater ambition and wherewithal eats her alive.