I do not remember a vetting of political candidates as tough as the what have seen. This is a good thing. Romney is like the prom date that was second choice. You dance and smile at him, but secretly glance around to see if someone better is around.
Donald Trump flashed and burned as a poorly thought out one issue guy, and the issue was too easy to defuse. Herman Cain also had a rise due to the force of his personality and self confidence. His demise, in my opinion, was less because of allegations of sexual misconduct than because he showed he was both unable, and more importantly, unwilling to think deeply about important policy issues.
Businessmen often make poor politicians. It is good to have real world experience included in policy decisions, but politics is a very different world than business. Politics requires a form of compromise few business people have experience with. Like any profession politics has its nuances and skill set that is developed over experience in the field. In both Trump’s and Cain’s case I do not think that your first elected office should be the highest in the land. It is one thing to express opinions and perspectives as I do in a blog, and quite another to craft it into a law that accomplishes what you intend.
As to the sexual allegations, if it is serious enough to come forward and derail a career, it should be serious enough to address through the proper legal channels where the charges are aired in a legitimate framework. In the case of Anthony Weiner, while the charges were not addressed in a legal forum it was at least addressed immediately and not drudged up fifteen years after the fact.
A line was crossed some time ago in our political discourse in the use of sexual allegations. Abusers have found that the charges could do the damage sought before the charges could ever be refuted. In the tight time frame of an election that was all that was needed.
Gingrich, Romney, and Perry all at least have political experience, Perry’s rise and fall may have been triggered by his debate freeze leaving Gingrich and Romney. Newt has certainly thought deeply about a wide range of political issues and Romney has certainly shown a level of stability that has distinguished him from the pack.
Those with a real record will have mistakes and changes in positions that will be used against them. We will not have the perfect candidate. We should seek an effective candidate with clear principles we can support. It is wiser to accept a candidate for what he has to offer than to reject him for his lack of perfection.
If it wants to be taken seriously the GOP candidates should marginalize the extreme elements in their party. It is absurd that most of the candidates either cannot or choose not to put discussion about evolution and creationism in its proper place. Evolution is a scientific theory- yes it is a theory- that has stood a century of research and refinement. Creationism is a religious myth, valuable as an allegory, but no substitute for scientific inquiry.
Simplistic solutions for immigration stands only to alienate segments of our population. While we must seek to control our borders, we must see immigrants as not just consumers, but producers. Kudos to Newt for taking such a position in the face of opposition within his party.
Simplistic solutions such as the Balanced Budget Amendment and a return to a gold standard are also poorly thought out. Problems about the Balanced Budget Amendment are well noted here. And while our monetary management has a lot of room for improvement, history is ripe with financial panics and major wars fought when such standards were in place.
Kirby Godsey, retired head of Mercer University in Macon, GA once noted in a talk on leadership that the problem was not having too few principles, but too many. He recommended clearly articulating a few critically important principles and negotiating the rest.
The GOP thus far has done poorly at articulating the critical principles and has thus been whittled away by attacks on its weakest positions. The candidate that succeeds at controlling the proper narrative will win the nomination and hopefully the election.