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A few good men

Adam Newman | Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Democrats and Republicans do not agree on much nowadays, but my guess is most can agree on two things: 1) America faces many complex and pressing issues and 2) America needs a President to lead on solutions for these issues. So as the 2012 election nears, there is no doubt that America needs the best candidates that the Democrats and Republicans can produce.

The Democrats already have their strongest candidate: Barack Obama. Obama has already won the presidency and shown that he can effectively govern.

While many on the left are unhappy with some of his policies, that should not lead them to support a primary opponent. A primary opponent, even someone as popular as Hillary Clinton, would weaken Obama and their party at a time when it can only win united. Anyone who thinks otherwise is a few sandwiches short of a picnic.

Then there are the Republicans, whose primary for the Presidential nominee is similar to an episode of “The Jersey Shore:” entertaining but for all the wrong reasons. The Republican field, consisting of Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, Jon Huntsman, Rick Santorum and Herman Cain is embarrassingly weak. (Note: Cain, Bachmann, Huntsman and Perry have dropped out of the race.) Many of the extreme candidates, who in any other election would have received little to no support, have briefly held the front-runner position or a close second.

First, there was Bachmann, whose chronic use of inaccurate facts and figures (look at her politifact.com profile) during debates caught up with her when she suggested that a certain vaccine leads to mental retardation. Next, there was Perry, who after making his debate performances hard for everyone to watch ended his chance when he was unable to name the third cabinet position that he would eliminate as President. After Perry was Cain, a man with no governing experience who was unable to respond when asked a question about Libya.

After Cain was Gingrich, a man who could fill a 747 with his personal baggage, whether it be his three wives (two of which were mistresses), his insensitive and incendiary remarks, or his many, many, many bad ideas. Finally, Santorum, someone who lost his re-election bid for Senate in 2006 by 18%, had a surge after conservatives could flock to no one else. All the while the moderate (and normal) candidates like Romney and Huntsman have been by the rank and file.

Political parties rarely put forward all of their best potential candidates, but usually many are in the field. This is not so for the Republican primary. The ideal Republican candidates are: John Thune, Senator from South Dakota, Paul Ryan, Representative from Wisconsin (and a runner up for Time’s 2011 person of the year), Chris Christie, Governor of New Jersey, Mitch Daniels, Governor of Indiana, Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York City, Jeb Bush, (yes, another Bush) former Governor of Florida, in addition to Romney and Huntsman.

It is no secret that I want Obama to win in 2012. And the easiest way for this to happen would be for one of the weaker candidates (i.e. Gingrich) to face Obama in the general election. It would be much harder for the President to win against Romney or Huntsman, so my inner political hack says I should root for Gingrich to win the nomination.

But then the inner American takes over. I did not name the Republicans above because I agree with them. On the contrary, I disagree with these men on most issues. But as America faces many pressing issues, it deserves the best candidates that each party can provide. While a win against Gingrich would be a win nevertheless, it will not give Obama the electoral mandate he needs to move forward with his agenda that a win against Romney, Huntsman or one of the above Republicans would.

As the Republican convention nears, it looks more and more like Romney will be the nominee, but most Republicans support him only grudgingly. This intolerance against moderates has made them fail to realize that Romney is the only candidate that can win both the Republican primary and general election, and Huntsman is the only person that could deliver a decisive win against Obama in a general election. What a tragic mistake.

In the most recent Batman movie, “The Dark Knight”, a comparison is drawn between the “hero that Gotham needs and the hero that it deserves”. The context is that Gotham, a city seized by corruption, needs a hero with the power and moral ability to save it. But since Gotham has sunk so low, it does not deserve a hero of this stature.

The same can be said about the Republicans: Huntsman and Romney are the heroes that the Republicans need, but Bachmann, Paul, Perry, Cain, Gingrich and Santorum are the politicians that they deserve.

Adam Newman is a junior finance major. He can be reached at

[email protected]

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not

necessarily those of The Observer.