First, a disclaimer. Put me in the camp of those who believe that John McCain already has chosen Tim Pawlenty as his running mate. As I have written before, I have soured seriously on Pawlenty, in large part because of his statement two years ago that “the era of small government is over” and that government should be more “proactive” and “aggressive.” (Yeah, Governor: and if you believe that, please go play in the sand with Barbara Boxer.) That said, I note several things. First, I continue to believe that Chris Cox, if planning were right, would be the best choice for the long term. And I know that the McCain camp considered him. But he isn’t “out there” making the case for himself. Second (and sorry for the delayed lede, but this IS a blog entry, not a column), the main point of all this is to say that in terms of the “outside game,” i.e. not necessarily within the McCain inner circle but in terms of “buzz,” the person who is making the biggest news right now is John Kasich — who was always in my top five, and who more than a month ago moved up to my co-top choice with Cox, and who several weeks ago I installed as my choice #1 (with Cox stepping not back but to the side as #1A). So… What’s the buzz? (Tell me what’s a-happenin’? — that’s a line from JC Superstar, by the way.) Well, a couple of days ago, none other than Newt Gingrich listed him as one of his top two choices (Gingrich had been a Bobby Jindal booster earlier); yesterday the Wall Street Journal did its own internal survey of what it considered good possibilities (it included Fred Thompson, by the way, and made a decent case for him) — and the survey ended with it, well, not endorsing Kasich, but making a very strong case for him while also saying good things about some others. But the editorial was constructed in sort of an ascending order, giving the impression that the last name mentioned was the one the editorial board felt best about — and that last one was indeed Kasich. I note also — and this is disturbing — that a good source tells me Kasich apparently hasn’t even been contacted by the McCain people. If that is true, then the McCain folks just aren’t doing their homework. I hope it’s not true. Anyway, in addition to the discussions here taht have mentioned Kasich, and some continuing buzz are NRO’s The Corner about him (boosted by our friend the great Michael Novak), the fact is that if you Google Kasich’s name you all of a sudden see a lot more Veep references in connection with him. Frankly, I see no real downside. He thrills most economic conservatives; he satisfies Evangelicals (he’s pro-life and attends an Evangelical church); he’s acceptable on defense; he has a decently high profile; he was the guy who balanced the budget while cutting taxes (or so the tale from 12 years ago can be simplified); he has a blue collar persona; he is from the Ohio/Pennsylvania heartland; and my wife, who isn’t tremendously political, watched him on TV the other night and said “I like that guy.” So there. Kasich for Veep. Sen. McCain, are you listening?