Ooooh boy! Election 2012 is here! I don't watch sports, but my male need to analyze a contest of some kind is fulfilled by any election season. But this one is already more than I can handle, it has been SO much fun. The first voting of the year kicks off on Tuesday in Iowa. But we have been treated to a pre-game show that has been unprecedented. The Republican debates were the best live television any of us have seen in years.
I am not likely to vote for a Republican for President. But that has not made the playoffs on the Republican side to be any less fascinating to me. Most interesting, has been the lack of interest most Republicans, especially in Iowa, have had for the more-than-likely-nominee Mitt Romney. It seems that they mostly don't like him because he agrees with everything they agree with. He must be up to something.
Romney's primary contest poll numbers have not gone above 25%, almost anywhere in the country. A skeptical and wary electorate has cycled through "front- runner" after "front-runner." Herman Cain, Michelle Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, even the undeclared Donald Trump enjoyed temporarily inflated poll numbers, only to be inspected and discarded by a fickle Republican base.
President Obama is vulnerable. His unemployment numbers alone point to a likely single term. Yet the Republican debates have been focused on hot button issues like: The dismantling of Social Security, the need to deregulate the financial service sector (really?), and the end to government agencies like, um...education? I think? The focus has seemed to be on things like gay marriage, abortion, prayer in schools and other issues important to a minority of Americans (there, I said it, the majority of Americans are socially liberal, even if they are fiscally conservative). No matter how much Mitt Romney pleads that he agrees with them on these issues, conservatives just won't give him their love. He wasn't born a social conservative, even though he was born a Republican into a prominent Republican family. His Michigan/Massachusetts moderate beginnings will never be fully forgiven.
While I will be rooting against Romney should he become the nominee, I feel bad for my friends who are rooting for him. A small, vocal, and powerful immoderate minority is driving the conversation away from the most important issues we face. We would like jobs, thank you very much. We would like our homes to start gaining in value again. We would like bank robberies to go back to being committed by strange men in Nixon masks, and not by the bankers themselves.
Democrats used to regularly harpoon their best candidate and then injure their second-best candidate right up to the convention, demanding all kinds of ridiculous liberal dogma be obeyed before giving over their full support. Now Republicans are doing the same thing to their candidates for the second time in a row. I don't really think anyone really loved John McCain in 2008; not even Sarah Palin loved John McCain. And Republicans obviously didn't love Mitt Romney in 2008.
Romney will probably win in Iowa. Or at least place high enough to seem like he won. He will win in New Hampshire next week. He will probably win the nomination. And then Republicans will have to hope he really is the moderate they fear he is, because then he would win the general election and become our next president.