GOP backs poor candidates
With the recent presidential announcements of Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich and Donald Trump, it's quite possible that the Republican Party is quickly approaching the threshold for ridiculous. While it is true that these three have only "unofficially declared" their intentions to run, it seems they have all intention of putting together serious campaigns. Some more "serious" candidates in contention — Tim Pawlenty, former governor of Minnesota, and Fred Karger, a gay activist from California — have already announced they will run for the candidacy in the primaries. By all means, Pawlenty is a serious-seeming candidate with a shot of winning the candidacy. Karger is a qualified political consultant and would also, if he were to win the candidacy, be the first openly gay presidential candidate. Ironically he would be running on the ticket for the political party that has worked almost tirelessly to suppress other gays' rights to marriage in recent memory. That's a topic for a different day, though.
The fact that Bachmann, Gingrich and Trump could even be considered as presidential candidates is laughable. To start, Trump is a candidate with almost no political experience. He's acted as a contributor in the past to both Democratic and Republican campaigns, maintaining his status as an "independent." He has many liberal qualities that separate him from average right-wing Republicans: he's pro-life, pro-universal health care and against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, he maintains stances of fiscal conservatives in his opposition to gun control and his lobbying against foreign aid. The scary thing is, Trump may have the soundest logic of all the possible Republican nominees. His policies are socially liberal, but fiscally conservative, which puts him at odds with other serious candidates. Trump's lack of political experience, however, is a huge red flag that forces most to question whether he would ever pan out as a candidate.
Gingrich is a tried-and-true conservative on paper: against social welfare, a right-wing Christian and recent convert to Catholicism. Politics aside, Gingrich has some awful personal details following him. Despite being against gay marriage on the grounds of it destroying "family values," Gingrich himself has been married three times. His most recent marriage budded from an affair in his second marriage. His second marriage budded from an affair in his first marriage. Newt went over the divorce with his wife while she was in the hospital. Could that get worse? Yes. He visited her with the divorce papers while she was recovering from cancer surgery. Recently in an address to a church, Gingrich warned that he foresaw an America being overrun by secular atheists and radical Islamists who have "no understanding what it once meant to be an American." His classless past and close-minded banter betray what a terrible president he would make.
Finally, Bachmann is unofficially announcing her candidacy on the Republican ticket while being founder of the House Tea Party Caucus. In her tenure as a Congresswoman, Bachmann has called for more troops in Iraq, less funding for higher education, the removal of fluorescent light bulbs in favor of more polluting incandescent light bulbs, called global warming a hoax, opposed minimum wage increase, supported the teaching of intelligent design, lobbied against same-sex marriage and testified on the "Death Panel" hearings on Obamacare that even Sarah Palin said was "Orwellian" in nature. That last fact is extremely telling — when a dyed-in-the-wool conservative like Palin who has probably never even read Orwell can call a fellow Republican's testament on something as such, it's hard to define exactly how right on the right-left spectrum that testament is.
These three potential candidates in particular are a frightening sight for anyone who takes the American democratic system seriously. Rather than appeal to rationalism and change in the United States, the Republican Party has seemingly been reduced to conservative talking heads that sensationalize debates to absolutes while living at odds with their public values. Has the two-party system failed this miserably at promoting a dialogue and progress?
President Barack Obama has made bad moves. Many of them are due to the Republican majority in Congress and his attempts to compromise across the aisle when no one truly wants to on the other side. However, he is still accountable. Obama just appointed the CEO of General Electric to the counsel on Jobs and Competitiveness after the CEO oversaw a company that paid no taxes and fired workers to offer jobs overseas. He also opened fire on Libya, and in one strike fired more missiles than all other Nobel Peace Prize winners combined. However, if the Republican Party can only manage to prop up a joke candidates, I will be casting my vote on the Democrat's side without a moment of hesitation.
Cody Gorman is a School of Arts and Sciences junior majoring in political science with a minor in history.