ENID — By Cindy Allen
After watching the candidates for the Republican nomination for the 2012 presidential race, I can only conclude the party has a huge identity crisis.
Yes, there is a very large conservative wing of the party, but I hesitate to call that wing the “base.” I think fiscal conservative Republicans have been unfairly lumped in with the social conservative Republicans as forming one “identity.”
However, as it stands now, there are two basic front-runners of the candidates who are left. Mitt Romney is a moderate Republican with a fairly good fiscal background and a socially moderate background.
He has a target on his back because he tried to find a state solution to fixing the health care insurance problem, which is a very real problem. Yet, because the proponents of President Obama’s health care plan based their ideas on Romney’s attempt, Romney is being unfairly attacked because of the unpopularity of the Obama plan.
Then we have Newt Gingrich, who I certainly never thought would rise from the ashes of the political dead after the mid 1990s. Yet, it is obvious in watching the presidential debates that Gingrich is the smartest guy in the room when it comes to being a policy wonk and also being a political wonk.
Yet, Gingrich is so tainted, even lawmakers who worked with him when he was House speaker aren’t running to the front of the line to support him. Gingrich, while smart and very qualified to be president of this country from an experience and policy standpoint, has a major tendency to personally self-destruct.
People don’t seem to like working with him, and that is a major problem for a presidential candidate. As far as being a social conservative, he isn't. Yet, those conservatives who lean more heavily on social issues see him as such.
All this actually spells good news for the Obama re-election machine. As bad as the Obama administration has handled the economy, which is the top issue in voters’ minds, both Gingrich and Romney present problems for Republicans and Independent voters.
There seems to also be a real lack of leadership from the Republican Party in general. The Republican Party seems to have lost control of their own process. There are too many debates and this whole thing about allowing Donald Trump to have his own debate is nonsense. It’s ridiculous. Where has the Republican Party been in actually leading the process to finding the nominee who can defeat Barack Obama and the Democrats in 2012?
As much as the president has going against him as 2012 arrives, he is in pretty good position at this point to win re-election. And that is no one’s fault but the Republicans’.
Cindy Allen is editor of the Enid News & Eagle. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.