Editorial: Three endorsements for the upcoming presidential election (Part 3 of 3: John Kasich)

We strive to present editorials that reflect the consensus of our editorial board, but from time to time, we disagree. Today is one of those times. Several of our staffers do not have strong opinions or do not like any of the candidates, while others have strong preferences. Consequently, over a three day period, we are sharing the views of three of our staffers. Friday, Aaron Davies shared why Bernie Sanders is the only pro-democracy candidate. Yesterday, Pierson Castor took the pen in support of Ted Cruz's conservative principles. Today, editor-in-chief Benjamin Pontz rants in support of Governor John Kasich (R-OH).

Ben Pontz: Kasich is the only candidate who should even be considered

I have great respect for the authors of our first two endorsements today, but reading the pieces makes my skin crawl. Both are emblematic of the vitriol and disingenuousness that pervades our political system. In fairness, they are written in support of candidates who are emblematic of the same. I can only say I am glad I did not find anyone willing to write in support of Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, as I am sure I would have descended into disgusted apoplexy.

The only candidate remaining in the field that espouses values and principles that befit the office for which he or she is running is Ohio Governor John Kasich.

With all due respect to Senator Sanders, although he raises some important issues such as campaign finance reform and climate change, his refusal to leverage his momentum to prosecute the Clinton record demonstrates his acquiescence to the inevitability of her nomination. If the Democratic National Committee would not have simply christened Clinton as the nominee, perhaps a serious challenge would have sprung forth and perhaps that serious challenge would have encompassed the issues that Sanders has raised, but alas: the Democrats now get to play in the sandbox they built, admittedly not by subverting the will of their voters, but by preventing them from having options.

At least my reasons for not supporting Sanders have nothing to do with his personality, just his policies; economically, his initiatives would quash ambition to succeed -- of course we need some reforms, but taxing small business owners above 50% strikes me as monumentally unfair, which is not to say that the system in which Wall Street rakes in billions is fair, but I guess I would rather see a candidate willing to attack root causes with enlightened proposals that would work rather than swat branch effects with rhetoric that appeals to emotion.

The nuance ends here; each of the other three candidates requires far less explanation.

Secretary Clinton embodies an irresponsible, politically expedient attitude that should completely disqualify her from consideration to be President. The most recent and egregious -- but certainly not the only -- manifestation of her "above the law" mindset would be the email scandal that would probably send any low-level agent to prison or at the very least remove his or her security clearance, but that we should all ignore as political posturing from wily, woman-hating Republicans. 

Like most politicians, Mrs. Clinton has flip-flopped positions when she determines it would win a vote (or a donation), and she is completely duplicitous when she takes donations from Wall Street investment banks and then promises to rein them in. Okay, whatever you say. The Secretary is clearly a bright individual and a second Clinton presidency probably would not be a disaster, but the fact that she is the best Democrats have to offer saddens me.

Of course, I have yet to scratch the surface of the Republicans.

A Donald Trump presidency would be a triumph for plainspoken ignorance, incendiary lunacy, and disingenuous vitriol. Of course there are Americans who are angry, but Trump's approach is to stoke the fire with statements that are unequivocally false, blame the media (who either unknowingly or uncaringly plays into his hand), and then castigate anyone who dares question his intelligence. He refuses to offer policy specifics other than "we have to make better deals" and "we are going to make America great again" probably because he could not be bothered to learn how the government works. This video says it all. Somebody ship him an eighth grade civics textbook; never mind, he would not bother to read it.

That brings me to Senator Cruz. One line in yesterday's editorial made me cringe: "We do not need a candidate who is supported by the establishment and who will play politics." I am sorry; I guess reading Green Eggs and Ham on the Senate floor is part of a "proven record" of conservatism, not political grandstanding. Considering that conservatism has become synonymous with intransigence, I suppose you could say that being an uncompromising obstructionist makes you a hero … just not mine. The Presidency must be an office of pragmatic service to a higher cause than one's own ego.

That's why the only candidate who is even remotely qualified is Governor Kasich. I cannot say that I agree with all of the governor's policies, but I would respect him as a leader because he stands for the courage of his convictions in a pragmatic, humble way. Time and again, he is told the only way to make noise in the media is to attack his opponents, but he always smiles and says, "I will not take the low road to the highest office in the land." As governor, he expanded Medicaid coverage because he thought that it was more likely God would wonder what he did to help the poor rather than what he did to shrink the size of government, a novel concept. Kasich should be a hero to the "Christian right"; the fact that instead, that bloc supports a demagogue who says he does not confess his sins or an obstructionist who believes that failing to repeal Obamacare analogizes to appeasing Nazi Germany calls into question what Deity they believe in. I have to wonder whether it is the One I do, One who calls us to serve the "least among us", to "live peaceably with all", and to "love our neighbors as ourselves." The fact that they say it is makes me feel physically ill at His degradation.

Overall, John Kasich espouses a refreshingly positive, pragmatic, moderate mantra. In a recent debate, he acknowledged climate change not out of tree-hugging guilt, but by stating that clean energy can be good economic policy. He also suggested that although he does not believe in gay marriage, praying for gay people is a better approach than refusing to do business with them, loving others is more important than condemning them, and that, if you're gay and a business doesn't want to photograph your wedding, for example, just find another photographer and move on without hard feelings on either side … no lawsuits needed.

A Kasich presidency would challenge Americans to live up to the ideals our Founders envisioned not to descend to the ones most politicians demonstrate, place someone with relevant experience in the nation's highest office, and put America on the right track for decades to come. For those reasons, I offer him my wholehearted -- and probably ineffectual -- endorsement.

This piece represents the final of the opinions of three staffers, but does not reflect the opinions of the Lampeter-Strasburg School District, the LSNews.org editorial board, nor the advisor of LSNews.org. Questions or concerns can be directed to lspioneernews@gmail.com.


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