09 March 2012

The Presidential Morass

While admittedly I have been a busy man (and why I've not posted in more than six months--ouch!), the whole race for the Presidency is still on everyone's mind. Personally, I am quite dissatisfied with the selection that stands to be available in 2012.

As we all know, President Obama is running for re-election. Honestly, I don't think he's done a lot with the economy--at least given the parts that he is directly able to influence. The unemployment rate remains stubbornly high, and now other countries *cough cough* China *cough* have not-so-subtly told us to "clean up our mess." Then there's his healthcare-reform plan, which admittedly I am still not sold on.

Some are invariably going to ask: "And what about the GOP field?"  I say: what about it?

Think about the four major candidates that are in the hunt for delegates (and ultimately the Republican nomination):

a.) The Plutocrat. (Mitt Romney)
b.) The Batshit-Crazy Fundie. (Rick Santorum)
c.) The Serial Adulterer. (Newt Gingrich)
d.) The Grandpa. (Ron Paul)

Romney is a moderate, and realistically speaking is probably the Republicans' best shot of toppling Obama. Why? Being a moderate, he might be able to draw in enough independent and third-party voters who aren't happy with Obama. He's a former governor of Massachusetts, which is of On the other hand, Romney does have a serious problem with connecting with the lower-classes and with independents in general. The more "solid" conservatives aren't exactly happy with him either, as it was during Romney's tenure in Massachusetts that a form of universal health-care got set up (which allegedly is the basis for the Obama administration's plans).

Next, we have Rick Santorum, the former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania. Aside from the controversy regarding his surname (and the evolution of the popular sexual-slang term "santorum").  He is the darling of many religious conservatives for his views on abortion, contraception, and separation of church and state--and the fact that he's the strongest "not Romney" in the primaries even though he is devoutly Catholic. However, Republicans would be wise to consider that his views on those issues do not sit well with much of the general population, and thus a Santorum nomination may be ultimately deleterious to Republican initiatives to regain full-control of Congress as well as the White House.

Following him is Newt Gingrich, former Congressman from Georgia who was also Speaker of the House of Representatives during much of the Clinton Presidency (think Contract to America and the Clinton impeachment). Gingrich has a lot of baggage stemming from what seems to be a habitual pattern of marrying and cheating; he's been married and divorced at least a couple of times now. Also, the fact that Sarah Palin is backing him might not sit well, given that Palin is arguably one of the most polarising figures in current American politics.

Finally, there's Ron Paul. A longtime Congressman from Texas and himself a former Presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party, he is no stranger to politics. He has a small but very loyal band of supporters who've taken to social media and other current technologies to press his views on several issues (e.g. abolishing the Federal Reserve, and bringing most of our scattered-around-the-world troops home by not playing "world cop" so much). However, the problem with Paul is that while he has quite a few good ideas that just seem like common-sense, he hasn't always been the best at reaching out to the Republican base--needless to say, if one would like to carry the party's standard, they're going to have to connect with the base.

So, what's an independent to do? 

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