By: Erik Barzdukas
The GOP has to swallow the pill
The Republican base seems to be allergic to Mitt Romney. Being the most moderate candidate has hurt Romney’s image. Much more conservative candidates, such as Governor Rick Perry, Michelle Bachman and Herman Cain, have all had surges in the polls. Mitt Romney, on the other hand, has failed to pull ahead. The whittling down of the G.O.P. presidential contenders seems to be a search for the “anti-Romney,” but the Republican base will be forced to swallow a bitter truth. If they truly want a shot at beating President Obama, the fire-brand crazy of the Tea Party and Ayn Rand thumpers will have to give way to a more centrist and serious candidate.
Rick Perry’s unimpressive debate record pandering to the far right will make him uncompetitive against the current President. He has kept afloat most of his candidacy by just barely outdoing Romney in conservative policy (Romney wants to limit government debt to 25% of the GDP while Perry suggests a more austere 20%). Governor Perry’s comments about doing away with Social Security also make him uncompetitive. Perry’s underwhelming debate performances have been a plague on his campaign, and his slip up at the CNBC debate Wednesday could be the final nail in the coffin. With the first primaries coming up early next year, many political commentators are calling this the end of Perry’s campaign.
Herman Cain champions his business experience and has become famous for his unorthodox flat tax plan, but his campaign hints at more of a publicity stunt than that of a serious presidential contender. He has proven that he does not know how amendments are ratified. His “9-9-9” tax system has been lambasted for its absurdity by many. His comments about preventing China from developing nuclear weapons technology are evidence that he has given little to no thought to foreign policy, as China has had nuclear capabilities for forty years. There are five women now who have accused Herman Cain of sexual harassment, and this has resulted in a loss of support from women voters. Many other voters say that they will be less likely to vote for him because of the allegations.
All of the other potential anti-Romneys are just plain weird. Michelle Bachman refuses to entertain the idea of global climate change and has also come out harshly against homosexuality. Newt Gingrich is just a passing fad as voters swim away from the sinking Cain ship. Rick Santorum gets hardly any attention. The most rational of all, John Huntsman, does not speak in sound bites so no one will listen.
If the Republicans are serious about beating Obama in the 2012 elections, they will rally behind Mitt Romney. On the bright side, he has waffled on almost every single political issue so voters can easily imagine he will change his mind and vote their way. Everyone from the militias in Idaho to the bible thumpers in Texas can imagine him as their guy.
In the end, the difference between crazy-on-steroids Bachman and a serious candidate like Romney will be the difference between throwing the ball underhand or a slow and straight fastball to Obama. With the decision deciding who leads one of the most powerful nations in the world, I hope that the Republicans have the sense to at least throw a solid pitch.