Choices We Make: Are We Too Conservative?

One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree.
Which road do I take? she asked. Where do you want to go? was his response.
I don't know, Alice answered.
Then, said the cat, it doesn't matter.

In the last few days the attacks on the Republican candidates by the media have been unbearable to watch or listen. An accidental gaffe in a debate or in a forum has turned Republican candidates into late night jokes and fodder to those bloggers who scorn on anything Republican. It has been this relentless attack and obsession by the media on Republican candidates that has caused us to shift our focus from real issues into the spectacle of candidates arguing over “who is more conservative?”, as if there was such thing? The media-made frenzy has made the Republican Party be ripe material for stage jokes and our Republican Candidates appear unprepared, disunified, and unfit to go against the Obama Administration in 2012.

The debates are supposed to talk about the issues and the ideas for solutions on these issues. They are supposed to show the strength of the United Republican Party in preparation for the General Campaign in 2012. But instead, the media is obsessed in portraying Republicans candidates as egotistical characters who only care about their own moral “litmus tests” and this is truly hurting the Republican Party. Sadly, what was supposed to be a series of informative debates on real issues, has become a yardstick to measure personal marital character, financial pasts, religious beliefs; and it has been displayed as a measure of egos absent competency in leading the country.

One the one hand, Newt Gingrich has offered solutions, but these have been overlooked because the media is more interested in talking about his lack of commitment as Speaker and his previous marriages. Regardless, of how often he states that he has changed or that he has asked God for forgiveness, these past behaviors seemingly take control over the more important issues. Additionally, the media questions Newt Gingrich because he mentioned a historical and factual statement about the Palestinian people. Now, the media challenges his comments as being politically incorrect. What he stated was historically true, but people question on whether he was defending Israel or causing them harm in the Middle East. He was doing neither. As a historian, he stated a historically accurate fact, and the manner in which it was stated was not a calling of war but a statement of Truth.

Furthermore, harsh criticism against Gingrich may suggest that we do not desire a strong leader, but rather one that has been as pure as snow in conservative life while in politics and in their private life, which is an illusion. We now do not care if any competency is in our candidates, but only if they can walk that tight wire on conservative correctness. We are not so interested in taking back the White House, or winning against the current President during the general election. Rather, our concern seems to be whether he has committed ANY type of malfeasance that does not meet with our preconceived notion of being CONSERVATIVE enough. Really? When President Reagan was running for President, we looked at the measure of his talent, his ability, his assurance to lead us out of a dismal situation. Certainly we had standards, but they were not so abhorrently disrespectful in comparison to what is being said about our candidates. If they lack a sufficient background, they are stiff and boring, i.e. John Huntsman, Mitt Romney, or Rick Santorum. If they are too common, they are not strong enough and make infinite mistakes in public speaking, i.e. Rick Perry (never mind that he is the only contender who has managed to keep a healthy economy in Texas during the financial disaster in the U.S.). Likewise, if the candidate speaks with intelligence and facts, he/she is too pompous and has marital issues. At some point, we should stand back and consider are they the problem, or is our standard too particular because we are inconsistently HIGH MAINTENANCE and insecure about making a bad choice?

To make matters worse the candidates play into the media and the desire to create friction. The last debate had Mitt Romney waging a bet of $10,000 to Governor Rick Perry for a comment allegedly made in a book. While this might not appear to be such a faux paux, who would make such a bet when many in the U.S. are in line of losing their job and homes because of a souring economy?

This media frenzy with wanting to measure “who is more conservative” has now forced candidates to use religion as the litmus of a man’s character, or Republican values. For instance, we question Rick Perry’s strong religious adherences and Gingrich’s conversion to Catholicism. But who are we to judge other fellow Republicans' faith? More importantly, why do we feel the need to measure their faith? Faith is their own religion and it should not be our job to decide whether they are conservative enough because of their faith. The belief in God and repentance for mistakes is not sufficient and so the many unsatisfied populace hovers over until there is a misstatement or mistake on an issue to again point the finger as if to say. “I told you so.” An apology is not sufficient it seems. In the meantime, the Democrats sit atop a tree like the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland asking, do we know which path to take. And the Republican Party, too confused, too divided to have even the slightest idea which path to pick, instead battles within the party, instead of where it is needed the most, defeating President Obama.

President Obama appearing On Sixty Minutes, looked beaten, sullen, almost depressed during his interview. He is a man in a desperate attempt to lead a country that does not wish to follow him. Yet, the Republican Party seeks to defeat itself while the opportunity for victory slips away. Governor Perry stated it correctly when he said that it should not make any difference on what Newt Gingrich said, rather the problem is President Obama and defeating him should be what we concentrate on. Yet it appears that no one heard this or took that remark to heart. What is at stake in this election is: Our Country. Let’s not forget the fight and what we are up against.


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