In the run-up to the 2012 presidential elections, the Republican Party’s candidates seem to be engaged in an exercise in self-immolation as one after another they commit public gaffes exposing what appears to be a lack of coherent strategy or rational vision for where they want the country to go. It looks at times like the GOP is heading for a meltdown.
Business executive Herman Cain, leading in the polls for a while, is facing increasing difficulties with accusations of sexual harassment being leveled against him by women who have suddenly come out of the woodwork. The unproven allegations, however, are not Cain’s only problems. According to the political truth barometer Web site, FactCheck.org, Cain also contradicted himself on his position on abortion, and on his views on taxing lower income workers.
Utah Governor Jon Huntsman reportedly claimed that the current administration’s proposed regulations to cut pollution from coal-fired plants are likely to cause blackouts during the summer months. Unfortunately for Huntsman, his claim is contradicted by a report of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission which his own campaign has previously cited.
Rick Perry, the Texas governor who shot up in the polls early, suffered from foot in mouth disease and bad associations just as quickly. The first problem came when it was announced that the Perry family vacationed at a Texas facility with a racially derogatory name. Then, the candidate suffered a memory lapse in a recent speech when he promised to defund three federal agencies, but couldn’t remember but one of them.
Minnesota Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachman, who looked set to replace Sarah Palin as the GOP poster ‘person,’ hit a new low in a Washington appearance when she said that the recent earthquake and hurricane that hit the east coast were God’s punishment for bad government economic policy, or something in that vein. Her campaign later said her remarks were in jest, but it didn’t strike many who heard it as all that funny – or tasteful.
The GOP’s problem with connecting with the American public has not been confined to public speaking gaffes or personal scandal either. On November 8, Mississippi voters rejected a proposed ballot initiative that would have defined ‘life’ as beginning at conception. The proposal, pushed by an Ohio anti-abortion group, Personhood USA, would have made abortion all but illegal in the state. In Ohio, voters by margin of 60 percent shot down the state’s new collective bargaining law which severely limited the abilities of the state’s workers to bargain. Ohio’s Republican governor John Kasich was sent a clear message by the voters in his state that they’re not yet ready to jettison basic workers’ rights or human decency; a message that probably won’t be lost on other republicans around the country.
Coming so close to the first primary event, these have to be worrying signs for Republicans who seek to unseat Barrack Obama and blunt the so-called Democratic agenda in the United States. While the GOP and its candidates have been going full throttle in their efforts, the party is not looking so ‘grand,’ just ‘old’ and out of touch with the American people.