Newt Gingrich wants a colony on the moon by 2020. When Rick Perry was in the race, he managed to forget his plans for the Environmental Protection Agency in front of a national audience. And don’t even get me started on Rick Santorum.
Over the last couple of months, the Republican nominees have made American politics seem like a joke, pushing the Republican Party so far right that they’ve alienated most moderate voters.
They’ve done such a great job at being terrible, in fact, that I’ve come up with a theory: The Republican nominees are secretly Saturday Night Live cast members planning their most elaborate sketch to date.
Think about it. SNL has been making fun of politicians since the show first went on air, and in the 2008 election, Tina Fey’s performance as former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin made for one of the most memorable performances to date.
How could SNL ever top that? By actually running cast members in the primaries.
Improbable as my theory is, it does raise an important question: What has happened to American politics?
The Republican Party has made such an absurd effort to be the opposite of President Barack Obama administration that it has thrown reason out the window.
The party’s stubborn refusal to consider tax hikes — Romney, for example, takes pride in the fact that he cut taxes 19 times as the governor of Massachusetts — points to an impractically narrow political platform.
Whether or not you see tax increases as the best option, our country is more than $15 trillion in debt. Tax increases should at least be one option.
In an effort to further discredit the president, the Republican Party has even blamed President Barack Obama for problems outside his control. For example, while Romney campaigned in Wisconsin, he claimed that Obama “gets full … blame for what’s happened to this economy and what’s happened to gasoline prices under his watch.”
What Romney doesn’t acknowledge is that a world market for oil sets gas prices. Rising gas prices in America are in no way indicative of Obama’s performance.
Some of the nominees, lacking valid platforms on economic issues, have chosen to focus on social concerns in an effort to frame Obama as immoral.
Santorum has called for a return to “traditional American values.” When I think of traditional American values, I think of hard work and personal accountability. For Santorum, however, these “values” are predominately focused on shunning gay marriage and promoting religion.
It’s almost as if the Republican nominees are in a race to be the most stereotypical, by-the-book conservatives to gain the support of voters unsatisfied with Obama’s progress.
Given the irrelevant nature of the Republican Party’s attacks, Obama’s frustration is understandable. In response to a recent republican budget plan passed in the house, Obama claimed that the Republican Party has become so narrow-minded and radical that even Ronald Reagan would be unable to win a Republican Primary today.
Hopefully, the Republican nominees will move closer to the middle and flesh out their agendas to make the upcoming election more engaging. If they fail to do this and Obama wins, at least they might have backup careers as comedians.
Burke Gibson is a freshman majoring in economics.