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Obama’s opponents have flaws

The Tuning Fork

With the election year rolling ever closer and Republican primaries scattering about our television networks and into our daily conversation, it is critical to take an unbiased look at the climate for American politics and make decisions regarding for whom each citizen will vote. President Barack Obama is ending his first term in office with low numbers in the poll. Only three candidates from the Republican Party are truly noteworthy in any sense: Mitt Romney, Herman Cain and Rick Perry. Michele Bachmann’s poll numbers are incredibly low, beating only Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman in the polls. Ron Paul has again proven himself nearly unelectable with his absurd social policies and radical economic policies — this is the man who said he would immediately overturn Roe v. Wade if elected. Newt Gingrich, by the way, is a half-ton of clearly partisan politics in a 400-pound bag, who has openly stated that he doesn’t care who wins as long as Obama is out of office. As such, I will focus on Obama and the top three candidates from the Republican Party.

It’s difficult to decide where to start with Rick Perry. It could be easy to look at his transcript, where Perry received two “A’s” in four years at Texas A&M University — they were in “World Military Systems” and “Improv. of Learning.” He  received “D’s” in “Principles of Economics,” “Trigonometry” and “Shakespeare” while scraping by with “C’s” in classes on American history. He stumbles through debates, or that his family leased a hunting ground with an extremely offensive name, or that his flat tax proposal would still hurt the lower classes and require people to check their taxes twice for eligibility. His popularity seems to come from his charisma and southern accent, which reminds me of another former president from Texas. Perry is all style and no substance.

Romney has been a bit of a mixed bag. He’s clearly been the most composed and well-spoken of the candidates, but his historical record proves troublesome. So much so that there is an entire website (mittromneyflipflops.com) which chronicles his contradictions in office. These contradictions are too numerous for the size of this article, so it’ll have to suffice to say he’s flip-flopped on gun control, medicinal marijuana, campaign spending, nationalized health care and the bailout. He has built his campaign on the premise that the United States needs to increase its employment rate and that his successes in “fixing” companies qualifies him as that leader. However, while CEO of Bain Capital, Romney profited while thousands of workers were laid off. Five companies that Romney acquired in his tenure went bankrupt and laid off workers.

Herman Cain. To be honest, I’m not sure what else to say. His campaign has been borderline farcical, especially with his newest commercial and the catchy impracticality of his “9-9-9” plan. Many Republicans claim that liberals are using racism and accusations of sexual harassment as a means of marginalizing him. The author of yesterday’s column in The Daily Targum, “Liberals perpetuate poverty,” would believe that any author slamming Cain is attempting to keep the black vote for liberals. However, the facts speak for themselves. Economists claim that the “9-9-9” plan will essentially double taxes for lower income families, while flat taxes essentially offer tax breaks for those earning the most income. The man has no grasp of foreign affairs. He said in an interview that he has no interest in “Ubeki-beki-stan-stan-stan” (no, that is not a typo) until jobs are created in America. He also said he would sign a pro-life amendment to the Constitution — which is great if you’re a Republican — but the president doesn’t sign amendments. He would be autographing the amendment, which I can only assume would slightly change its value to society. Even discounting the harassment allegations, which took place close to 20 years ago, the man is a joke. With these things in mind, can anyone assume that someone critical of Cain is just racist?

Obama has had many failings in office. The recipients of the stimulus package spent it unwisely, and many banks have continued layoffs and corporate raises for leaders, while some banks have opted for a monthly charge to increase revenue. The Republicans in Congress have ruthlessly vetoed, filibustered and refused to compromise on issues with the Democrats in Congress, who have essentially been spineless and neutered since the loss of Anthony Weiner. Obama’s inability to control Congress has hurt his image. He’s also cracked down on marijuana, closing down many shops for medical marijuana in California. Unemployment is still high, and the administration has ignored almost every single petition signed in his “We the People” campaign online.

At the end of the day, however, Obama has kept the economy from crashing, inherited two wars — soon to be one — and although failingly, attempted to invest in green power alternatives for the future. As one commenter on Reddit noticed, “If a Republican president added 50 percent to the Dow and took out [Osama] bin Laden and [Moammar] Gaddafi, the GOP would already have named an airport for him.” Due to the facts and my avoidance of blatantly generalized absolutisms concerning any political party, like yesterday’s opinion column, I think I’ll be voting for Obama again.

Cody Gorman is a School of Arts and Sciences senior majoring in political science and Middle Eastern studies with a minor in general history. His column, “The Tuning Fork,” runs on alternate Wednesdays.

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