As we head into the presidential primaries in Arizona and Michigan, I sense many voters’ heads are spinning over what the candidates believe are vote-getting discussions.
Rick Santorum says President Obama is a “snob” for wanting all American kids to have a chance at college and that he “almost threw up” when he read a 1960 speech given by John F. Kennedy — our only Catholic president to date– about the constitutional separation of church and state.
Mitt Romney’s been swooning over the height of the trees in Michigan. Somehow I don’t think that’s going to help him in Saguaro-filled Arizona. And his newly-acknowledged friendships with NASCAR team owners probably won’t win him a lot of support among economically strapped Michigan NASCAR fans who want a candidate who understands their financial worries.
Newt Gingrich is taking a page from the Sarah Palin playbook, claiming he’ll magically make gas prices come down if he’s elected. I’m not sure how that’s going to happen unless the cost of oil is somehow tied to the amount he spends at Tiffany.
And Ron Paul is angling to be the savior at the GOP convention. As a candidate who is particularly focused on his message, it’s hard to count him out. A recent analysis of his truthfulness compared to his Republican opponents shows he’s ahead of the pack, although President Obama is still, as Stephen Colbert might say, “truthier” than any of the GOP contenders.
Put all of that into a political pot, throw in some threats to get rid of birth control and add a dash of a little Bush family mischief — former Florida Governor Jeb Bush says he’s not sure he can call himself a conservative anymore because of the 2012 GOP fear-mongering — and who knows whether voters in the Great Lakes State can say “yes” to any of them or whether Grand Canyon State residents who voted by early ballot might be wishing they could change their minds.
There are so many 2012 campaign incidents that seem strange that I’m thinking if all four current GOP candidates survive, that a political buddies on the road movie could be in the making. 2012 Hangover, anyone?
So what’s up with all the crazy things the candidates seem to be saying? Is it just campaign fatigue? Perceived inevitability? Delusions of grandeur? It’s hard to figure out why most of the Presidential wannabes have a hard time focusing on what Americans say they really want to hear about — jobs and the economy. While it’s been proven that going on the attack helps win elections, it’s never a good thing for anyone who wants an elected position to ignore what the voters are most concerned about.
In 2008, Barack Obama became president with a message of hope and change. So can Republicans really think they can take back the White House with Darth Vader-like scare tactics and 1950′s era social commentary? If I was advising any of the GOP campaigns, I’d tell them it’s time for a major course correction that would garner the blessing of the Bush dynasty and that would acknowledge that voters are more worried about what opportunities their children have in the future rather than the fear and loathing narrative we’re getting.
Originally posted at iVillage iVote, where I’m heading up the 2012 election coverage as iVillage’s Election Editor and contributor.