By Ellis Goodman
What is going on? The GOP are in the throes of selecting a candidate to run for President of the United States. I think this is pretty serious business, and so should the American people. But watching the events of the past few weeks, the current GOP campaign appears more like “Realty TV” than presidential politics.
We have had weeks of Herman Cain, who despite a complete lack of experience in the political world and a limited business career (I don’t consider being the CEO of Godfather Pizza as an impressive American industrial management experience), has made his living as a motivational speaker and an author of way-out ill-considered and unresearched economic ideas. I don’t believe that he has been a serious candidate, but someone who realized that considerable media attention would enhance his speaking and writing career objectives. What is frightening is that somehow he shot to the top of the polls and received considerable support from potential Republican voters. What were they thinking?
Then we had Rick Perry, an early contender in the “anyone but Mitt Romney” campaign. The Governor of Texas with the looks, southern drawl and political experience to be a serious contender for the Presidency. In the so-called Republican debates, which are no more than a prepared question and answer session with softball questions from a moderator, Perry quickly revealed himself to be totally inept and ignorant. Even last week he was blithely ignorant of the date of the election next year and the adult voting age. We are still suffering from the administration of a former ignorant and arrogant Texas governor, who drove this country to the edge of bankruptcy. After soaring in the polls it seems at the present time, that despite hundreds of millions of dollars of financial backing, Governor Perry has burned his boat.
So now the new front runner is none other than Newt Gingrich. How could this possibly be? A man who, as Speaker of the House, led the Republican Party to close down the government during the Clinton Administration. A man who George Will, an ardent and committed Republican commentator, said “Newt epitomizes the politician for hire.” Apart from being found guilty of numerous ethics violations during his time in the House, and his divorces and philandering, he had previously supported climate change endeavors, but he’s now against them, took nearly $2 million in fees from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, but now he continually slams them, and has reversed his positions on everything from immigration to education.
In addition, he is considered volatile, undisciplined, a poor administrator, and very few members of the House, who served with him, would consider him a legitimate and serious candidate for the President of the United States. But of course in this day and age, none of this counts as much as running off to visit with none other than Donald Trump, considered by many to be “the ugly face of Capitalism” in this country. Trump has never had political office, but every four years, threatens to run for President. A self-promoting businessman of dubious repute and many financial scandals has somehow been chosen to moderate a presidential primary debate next Saturday. How low can our presidential politics go?
This charade, coupled with the $450 million sitting on the sidelines to be launched as negative TV advertising by the numerous conservative groups, including the Karl Rove founded American Crossroads, the Republican Governors Association, the American Action Network, and Americans for Prosperity – which is backed by the billionaire Koch brothers – are an embarrassment to our political campaign system which is clearly broken.
Clearly, Republican voters have reservations about Mitt Romney and his commitment to conservative causes. And since the Tea Party and extreme right wing of the GOP seems to be in control, one can understand those reservations. But the circus that has developed around the selection of a primary winner does not do justice to our country and is making a mockery of our democracy, and is once again making the United States the laughing stock of the developed Democratic world.
What do you think? Your comments would be welcome.
Ellis M. Goodman, author of Bear Any Burden: www.bearanyburden.com