Note to the GOP candidates
One of you will probably get your party’s nomination, but while you’re busy doing hatchet jobs on each other, I for one am getting thoroughly sick of you. At the rate you are shredding each other, the survivor will be in no condition to run a credible general campaign.
I suppose that’s fine with people who have known all along they will vote for Obama in November. But as far as I was concerned a year ago, any half-decent, half-viable Republican candidate had a good shot at getting my vote. That was then; this is now.
It was obvious from the beginning that your umpteen televised “debates” were nothing more than photo ops for you and publicity-grabbing events for the networks. (Did you catch CNN’s absurdly dramatic intro to last night’s debate?) One-liners, gotchas, sound bites, self-inflicted wounds, and audience participation. It’s entertainment, reality TV, not a serious race for the world’s most powerful office. Personally, I’m tired of it. I was tired of it months ago. I’m not listening, or at least I’m trying not to.
Mitt Romney, you ooze smarm. And I don’t know what your positions will be from one day to the next. You are indeed a weathervane; you shift to align with the slightest breeze. Furthermore, you went out of your way to hide/withhold personal financial information that you knew from Day One you’d have to release sooner or later. Admittedly I’d have been nervous too if I had both a Swiss bank account and tax-sheltered investments in the Cayman Islands; the public perception of such things is negative regardless of their legality. So zero points for reluctant disclosure. But what really gets me (after your condescending “Corporations are people, my friend”), what really tells me exactly what kind of person you are is your putting your dog in a crate on top of your car for a 12-hour drive. You have all the empathy, concern, and good sense of a fence post.
Newt Gingrich, your candidacy is a joke, right? You really think I’ve forgotten about your years as Speaker of the House, what happened then, and how it all ended? You really think your marriages and infidelities won’t influence my opinion of you? (Doesn’t matter whether that information should be public or not. It is. You can’t unring that bell.) I know you’re an intelligent man, a college professor and all, but you come across as pompous and insufferably arrogant. You need to learn the difference between knowing and being a know-it-all. And you need to learn some humility. It doesn’t matter if God has forgiven you; it’s the voters you have to convince.
Rick Santorum, I had almost started thinking you’re a nice guy — not voteworthy, mind you, but nice. Then came the day you explained your well-known right-to-life position by saying a pregnant rape victim should just “make the best out of a bad situation” because the rapist’s fetus is “a gift” from God. No way such a lack of compassion and reason gets my vote. I don’t want that kind of thinking in the White House. Not now; not ever. So just go home, resume your private life, and stow your religious beliefs in your own pew.
Ron Paul, you seem like a well-intentioned man and I agree with some of your positions, particularly your foreign policy. But at least I recognize that I’m getting older and my ideas aren’t always realistic and practical in today’s world. I don’t think you do.
President Obama, despite my frustration with what the GOP is offering, don’t consider my vote a slam dunk. I’m not at all happy with some of the things you’ve done and some of the things you’ve not done. A health care reform bill that requires people to buy health insurance but doesn’t provide an affordable public option seems fatally flawed to me and destined to cost far more than it saves. I also happen to think its mandate is unconstitutional. But you were determined to have your signature legislation and spent more than a year focusing on it while the nation’s economy was circling the drain. Sure, getting bin Laden was great. So was ending Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. But what about Gitmo still being open (and that new law you signed that lets you toss American citizens in there without a trial)? What about illegal immigration? You’ve got a lot of convincing to do to get my vote.
One more cautionary note to all of you: save your empty promises about what you’ll do if elected. Presidents don’t write the laws; Congress does. And Congress is a whole ‘nother problem.
It appears I’ll probably be voting for one of you five this year, and I’m not happy about it. But don’t jump to any conclusions. There were, after all, 16 presidential candidates on Colorado’s 2008 ballot.