The Troubling Pool of GOP Candidates – an Independent’s View

As an Independent voter, I am watching the Republican debates with a hope that a reasonable candidate emerges from the fray. My lens for measurement is someone who could responsibly and rationally run the country, if elected. As I mentioned in earlier postings, I am less enchanted with the candidates who seem to be posturing toward the extreme right of the GOP. That is unfortunate as that is not what most Americans want from what I see in the polls.

By far, the most reasonable candidate on the dais is Jon Huntsman, a former ambassador under two different Presidents, Governor of Utah and someone who speaks fluent Mandarin. The others would not be as good a candidate, which is extremely unfortunate as Huntsman stands little chance of winning. A couple of points to consider:

– Romney is running away from his greatest success, getting a universal healthcare requirement passed in Massachusetts. While not perfect, it made sense then and makes sense now. Our US healthcare system is the most expensive in the world, but according to the World Health Organization, we are 38th in quality. Plus, we are the most obese country in the world according to the WHO.
– Quoting the columnist Mark Shields, Gingrich has “more skeletons in his closet than the Harvard Medical School.” When I look back at Gingrich’s career, the first word that comes to mind is not collaboration. I see someone with a high sense of self . It will be interesting to see the skeletons come out of the closet over the next eleven months.
– Like the former half-term governor from Alaska, I am very hard pressed to take Bachmann seriously as a candidate. Her command of the issues leaves me wanting for more. The occasional witty sound bite does not make up for this shortcoming.
– Ron Paul has a some good ideas, but he also has too many far-fetched ideas that are scary to me and others. I do like the fact he adds some seriousness of purpose to the debate.
– Someone who knows Rick Perry summed him up well for me – “he is all hat and no cattle.” I believe his debate performance has sealed his fate, but his vehement stance against global warming when his state is seeing its impact via the drought and the encroaching gulf on Galveston is mind-boggling. He can pray all he wants, but God gave us a brain for a purpose.

As an Independent, my view is the President, while far from perfect, has not done as bad a job as the GOP would attest. I don’t know how anyone can be judged fairly in this day and age, when the opposing party must disagree with anything you say and do. We need people to govern and not continually run for office – in other words, we need you to do your job and not worry about keeping your job. When Senator McConnell said his first priority was to “make Obama a one term President” it made me furious. Your first priority is to help lead the country Senator.

Neither party has all of the good ideas, so it is incumbent on them to discuss openly our problems and find the best path forward. to resolve them. We have a deficit problem that can only be solved by raising taxes and cutting expenses – the math will not work otherwise. Global warming is here and we need serious discussion on how to best balance the needs of the environment and business. Our infrastructure is outdated and is crumbling in some places – we did not win the Olympics for Chicago because of this issue, so the rest of the world sees this, but we don’t. We must educate our children – we are now 23rd and 27th in the world in math and science. That will not cut it.

And, we must embrace diversity – that is a key reason for our greatness. When we are less tolerant of others, it shows our weakness – we need to call out the intolerant for what they are and support our rights as citizens. I am a huge believer in the COEXIST movement. When a minister burns a Koran in Florida or people picket a military funeral for our country allowing gays in the military, they deserve criticism for being intolerant. They have a right to their opinion, but I have an equal right to ignore or advocate against them.

That is the end of my soap-box for what it’s worth. Help me promote finding the reasonable and collaborative candidates. We certainly need them.

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4 thoughts on “The Troubling Pool of GOP Candidates – an Independent’s View

  1. Thanks Keith for your thoughtful considerations on the dilemma of the 2012 presidential campaign. I for one think that our time-honored two-party system is becoming less relevant…their focus is only party preservation, not the interests of the American people. I would love to see a truly strong and somewhat centrist third party evolve…they would definitely get my vote. I have had it with the finger pointing and constant bickering….if companies were run that way, they would be out of business fast!

    • I agree Tom. We need a third party and all we got to show for it was a more extreme Tea Party. There was a poll looking for reasonable candidates and Erskine Bowles was at the top of the list. Maybe he and Alan Simpson can run together as a third party ticket.

  2. You are just way too reasonable. Can’t find much to disagree with.

    But here’s a thought: isn’t the real issue why we don’t get better quality candidates from either party? Is this really the best America can do? We are losing our leadership in the world, because the people we elect can’t lead. They cannot come together to solve the simplest problems. Those that bash our government won’t admit that career government employees far outshine the politicians. The keep the country running while the politicians bicker over nonsense and stonewall each other on the big issues. Like you, I blame the Republicans much more than the Democrats but neither party produces the caliber of leaders we need. I guess no person in their right mind would want to subject themselves to these bullshit, circus-show “debates”. I swore them off years ago. If I were political czar, I’d just let Charlie Rose interview each candidate for about 90 minutes. Every American would be required to watch the interviews before they could cast a vote.

    • I like the Charlie Rose idea. I also like how Great Britain does it having a very short campaign over five weeks with several debates. It would be far cheaper and we would hopefully get better candidate discussion. I agree, the better Republican candidates chose not to run. I am hoping the President will be more effective if he has a second term and can actually try to govern more rather than run for office. Yet, to me Hillary Clinton has been a better Secretary of State than Obama has been President.

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