What’s Left: A Tale Of Two Candidates



Remember a few months back when nationwide polls were conducted and Herman Cain was gaining ground as a possible “frontrunner” for the Republican nomination? Most of America knew these numbers would not hold, and when Cain’s adulterous his­tory was discovered, the man quickly vanished from the national spotlight. What Cain’s involvement in the primary phase of this election began to show the American public was that the GOP has absolutely no idea who can lead them in a general election against Presi­dent Obama. Even as the battle between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich heats up, it is becoming evident that the Republican Party has been unable to find a viable candidate because it was picking from the wrong group of politicians from the very start.

Let’s begin with Newt Gingrich. This is a man who, eons ago, was thought to be the next star of the GOP, thanks to his role in the Congressional power shift in 1994. But after spending a few years as Speaker of the House, Republicans suffered terrible midterm election defeats, and party leadership forced him to resign. To say that Gingrich’s few years leading the Republican Party were a success would be a complete overstatement. During this period, he was marred by countless ethics charges, a near shutdown of the federal government and an effort to remove President Clinton from office in the wake of the Lewinski scandal that was deeply unpopular among voters, all of which led to his forced resignation. Gingrich had been virtually irrelevant in the political world for the past twelve years due to his abrasive, hot-headed nature and because he was viewed as a political liability, not to mention that Gingrich carried on multiple adulterous affairs during parts of his three marriages. There are so many clear-cut questions regarding his fundamental character that it is truly baffling how he polled so well with evangelical Christians and even won in South Carolina.

Mitt Romney, who will ultimately be the Republican nominee, faces his own set of problems in his pursuit of the Presidency. The voting base of the Republican Party be­lieves him to be a “phony” conservative, someone who has compromised on “conservative values” and done anything necessary to gain political office. He has received a ton of flak for his role with Bain Capital, and independent middle and working-class voters cannot be satisfied with the fact that he is paying a 15 percent annual tax rate on the millions of dollars he makes in capital gains, while they pay 25 to 35 percent in income taxes on hard-earned money. He has long been criticized as a “flip flopper,” and this will cer­tainly become more evident when he is forced back toward a more moderate stance after winning the nomination.

Personal deficiencies of these Republican candidates aside, the major miscalculation the GOP has made in the years leading up to this election was the absurd amount of political capital they handed over to fringe groups (à la the Tea Party). What Republican strategists will realize in hindsight is that there is a major disconnect between the aver­age American voter and the radical fringe that is now running their party. There is no doubt that when Mitt Romney wins the Republican nomination, he will immediately be forced back toward the middle of the political spectrum if he is to have any hope of even competing with President Obama.

It will become apparent as the general election approaches that President Obama em­bodies the rational, moderate and optimistic voice the country needs during what is still a very trying economic period in its history. People will recognize that the GOP has become nothing more than a party of, by and for the wealthy…and the Tea Party. The “glue” holding this base together is so much weaker than Republicans would like voters to believe, and there is no way that it will hold long enough to carry Mitt Romney to the White House.

Contact Ryan Martin at [email protected].