Viewpoint: Republican primary race leaves muddied field

By Tyler Alley
Sports Editor

Shouldn’t some of the Republican presidential nominees have dropped out by now?

Herman Cain made headlines this week with sexual harassment allegations and his temper with some reporters.

A few weeks ago, Rick Perry caught heat for his ranch known for having a racial slur in the name.

Yet with both of these scandals, both Cain and Perry are not only still in the race — they are still competing in the top tier. How can this be?

Is it just me, or is there no rock star candidate among the nominees this primary season? Nobody really jumps out like Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and Rudy Giuliani did in the 2008 primaries.

This is why Perry and Cain are still in it; there is no “sexy” choice worthy of knocking them out.

Mitt Romney has been the most consistent, hanging around 17 to 27 percent in polling since May. Romney, however, does not grab people’s attention. He has been in the top tier from the get-go because he looks good next to the other candidates. The big issue for some Republicans is his Mormonism; for those of us who seek a non-religious reason, it’s his flip-flop on issues like abortion and health care. I like Mitt; I don’t love him.

When Perry first broke in, it seemed like he and Romney were going to be the only choices. Then Perry opened his mouth, and one poor debate performance after another has dragged him down in the polls.

If Perry wants to get back in this race, he needs to focus on the issues and policy more than blasting Romney so he can spend less time with his foot in his mouth.

Cain’s numbers surged recently with his strong showing at the Florida straw poll. People seem to ignore the fact Cain has no political experience due to the economy and jobs being the big issues. A successful CEO seems a good choice for that.

Then people examined his 9-9-9 plan, and many realized he might have no idea what he is talking about. He also plays up the “non-politician” angle though he ran for Senate and failed in 2004.

Now with the sex scandal, Cain is in damage-control mode and will not gain ground in the polls.

For some reason, Michele Bachmann once had quite a following, especially among tea party voters. I really do not understand why. Her big résumé piece is that she introduced a bill about the freedom to choose your light bulbs. Light bulbs? Really?

She has also made some ridiculous statements, including meeting a mother whose daughter became mentally retarded after having the HPV. Every other speech she makes is about being a mother and meeting mothers. We get it, Michele; you’re a woman.

There’s Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, but neither one of them really warrants more than a sentence. As Saturday Night Live put it, Gingrich does not really want to be president, and Santorum belongs in Salem, Mass., in 1692 with his views on social issues.

Jon Huntsman is Mitt Romney in many senses, with a better record in the private sector and as governor. The biggest issue people have with Huntsman is he served as ambassador to China under Obama. In a time where people needs jobs, people dislike that he took a job?

Then there’s Ron Paul. Paul has stuck to his guns as a libertarian for years. The current tea party movement calling for less government is the view Paul has been espousing for two decades. He is the most consistent in his views, never changing for the popular topic of the day.

The issue with Paul is that the media blacks him out. Even Fox News will deliberately ignore him.

Why talk about all the people? One of them could be our next president, and our generation will have a big factor in who. If you care at all about what your government does, research these candidates and Obama, and make an informed decision rather than following the crowd.

Personally, I like Huntsman and Paul, but like most Republicans, I’m willing to settle for Romney.

Tyler Alley is a senior journalism news-editorial major from Houston and is the Lariat’s sports editor.