GOVERNOR SUNUNU has been an effective and popular leader here at home, and as he takes his show on the road to share New Hampshire’s success story with other states his commonsense approach and upbeat disposition are attracting a fair amount of attention. It’s time to start thinking of Governor Chris Sununu as a serious potential candidate for President of the United States. And it’s okay for Granite Staters to get excited about the idea.

If we were to construct a model of an ideal Republican presidential candidate, that person would undoubtedly be someone outside of the D.C. swamp, a governor in other words. They would be youngish; someone who offers fresh relief from the septuagenarian standoffs that have dominated our national politics for the past decade. They would present a forward-thinking and optimistic vision of the future untethered to the grievance and revenge politics that characterize the national debate in the 21st century. And they would have an unassailable record of accomplishment in service to people from all walks of life, not just their fellow partisans.

Chris Sununu not only fits that description, he is the yardstick by which we could measure any presidential aspirant against these criteria.

“A demeanor like Sununu’s is the remedy for what ails our national politics these days,” I wrote in this column way back in 2020.” Consider Sununu the anti-Trump. Optimistic, gregarious and ebullient, Sununu shows none of the belligerence that toxifies Washington every day. His jovial smile is a welcome break from Donald Trump’s brooding snarl or Joe Biden’s squinty, puzzled visage.”

Speaking as a grumpy right winger, who grows only grumpier as the years go on, I nevertheless long for the days when presidents were actually likeable people. Ronald Reagan, both George Bushes, and Barack Obama were all likeable. Heck, even Bill Clinton knew the value of faking likeability.

Beltway insiders will tell you that Joe Biden was a very popular and convivial U.S. Senator in his time. But he has long since abandoned likeability for cut-and-paste liberal class warfare and over-the-top race baiting. And whatever appeal Donald Trump still enjoys, it is certainly not due to his likeability.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a president who you liked?

I’ll settle for one who won’t screw me over. And I don’t trust someone who cares too much about being liked in today’s political environment, in which any Republican who does anything worthwhile is automatically hated.

But I think he’s a stronger prospect than Larry Hogan. “Larry Hogan was probably the only electable Republican in heavily Democrat Maryland, and did a decent job in a few respects contesting the Democrat-dominated legislature there. But as a prospective presidential candidate (as he is thought to be considering) he’d have been more suited as a running mate for Wendell Willkie or Harold Stassen, because he proves in this short clip from Meet the Press that he’s totally clueless about what is going on in the country right now, and beyond idiotic in thinking Gov. DeSantis attacking wokery is somehow ‘big government.’ He apparently wants Republicans to keep being ‘the stupid party.'”

Well, they certainly will be if they nominate him.