The commercials are relentless. A larger, almost sickening amount of money is spent each election cycle. When the big day finally arrives and we all stand in line to express the most fundamental right of our democracy, your only prayer is that it ends quickly, painlessly, and with your side victorious. Yes, it is that magical time of year again when politicians shed their souls for campaign dollars. The time when previous actions and statements are denied or walked back. The time when illicit scandals are unearthed. The time when the gaffes are endless and the pundits salivate while they wait in the shadows looking to pounce on their prospective presidential prey. So far, the 2012 GOP Presidential Primary contest has not disappointed.
Month after month, a new face has sat atop the polls only to be quickly unseated either by past actions, gaffes on the campaign trail, or a combination of both. The race began with a strong lead for Michelle Bachmann who had such a strong showing early in Iowa that Tim Pawlenty bowed out of the race. Bachmann proved unfit for the national stage, however, after making multiple ludicrous claims, including the infamous accusation that the HPV vaccine causes mental retardation. With her credibility in doubt, Bachmann saw her numbers plummet in the polls.
With the far-right, Tea Party candidate Bachmann being relegated to near leper status, the fringe needed another nut bag candidate. Who came running to the call? Texas Governor Rick Perry, of course. Perry surged to the head of the pack upon his entrance to the race. Many compared Rick Perry to George Bush Jr. and Perry seemed to channel Bush Jr.’s spirit during his debates, as he became embarrassingly tongue tied in almost every debate. Rick Perry’s capacity to intelligently and capably serve the nation as President were soon questioned and he has gone the way of Michelle Bachmann to the bottom of the polls. The question then became who else can we get to jump in to this already crowded race?
Herman Cain, a former restaurant lobbyist and Godfather’s Pizza CEO, crawled out from beneath a rock, put on his ridiculous hat, and instantly he was the flavor of the month. Cain appeared to have assembled something of a campaign staff, yet his campaign has lacked authenticity since its beginning. Mr. Cain seems to have picked up on a popular marketing strategy that is trending in politics these days. Simply act like you are running a real campaign, collect donations, and promote yourself and your book as much as possible. Regardless, Herman Cain’s strategy is irrelevant due to the fact that he was accused by several women of sexual harassment, two of which he was found to have settled a lawsuit with. Then another woman, Ginger White, emerged and exposed an alleged affair of 13 years between herself and Cain. Needless to say, in less than a month, Cain has gone from frontrunner to out of the top 3 in the polls and then today suspending his campaign. Ironically, the man to take his place has been involved in more than one infidelity scandal.
Newt Gingrich somehow has vaulted to the lead despite sharing the same ethical dilemma as Cain. While pursuing the allegations against then-President Bill Clinton, Gingrich also was carrying on an affair. Hypocrisy and lack of morality aside, Gingrich will soon go the way of the past frontrunners. Newt tends to have diarrhea of the mouth and speaks before thinking. With the Occupy Movement sweeping the nation, Newt proceeded to tell them all to take a bath and get a job. While some might agree, the fact remains that that was an uneducated and uncalculated move that will have consequences. The same can be said for his remarks on poor children taking the jobs of unionized janitors so that they can gain work ethic firsthand. Gingrich will fall from grace swiftly, as he should.
Should Gingrich lose his position, I believe the only viable candidate left that hasn’t yet held the lead is Jon Huntsman, since both Ron Paul and Rick Santorum are unelectable on a national stage. The problem with Huntsman so far has been that he and Mitt Romney have many similarities, and it appears that Mitt Romney is being regarded as cancerous to the party by many. There are plenty of differences between the two, however, as Huntsman tends to be a little more liberal. His views on immigration and abortion do not exactly mesh with the current far-right stranglehold on the GOP. Huntsman will never see the nomination for these reasons, though he may see a short lived stop at the top before Mitt “Corporations are people, my friend” Romney knocks him out once the actual primary voting begins.
Mitt Romney has been stuck in the polls, hovering around 25% for months now. With the chaos fueled by the other candidates, Romney has yet to be challenged fully. All eyes will be on him since a majority of the field has been scrutinized. Conservative voters have already lambasted Romney over his health care law in Massachusetts, which is quite similar to the Affordable Care Act signed into law by Barack Obama. Romney has also been chastised by the media and publicly in a debate by Rick Perry for his flip-flopping on positions such as abortion. Voters are tired of being patronized and pandered to, which seems to be the bread and butter of Mitt’s campaign.
Despite the GOP’s desperate attempt to nominate anyone but Mitt, the truth is that seeing Romney square off against Barack Obama in the general election is almost inevitable. This is not a result of Romney’s character or past actions, but rather a result of the lack of electability of the other candidates. It appears for now that Mitt Romney is indeed the de facto nominee lest a miracle occurs.