This year’s Presidential election is going to be a major one. Republicans are still in the midst of choosing between the seven contenders which one will be our nominee. Campaigning began very early this time around– many candidates began announcing their intentions to run in May of 2011, a year and a half before the general election. Since then, five candidates (excluding the first one) have had their turns in the spotlight– Donald Trump, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich. Ron Paul got close to the top for a short period of time, but is now beginning to slip a bit. The public became enchanted with each of these candidates for a few weeks, then decided they wanted to get acquainted with a different candidate. Rick Santorum is now the candidate who is enjoying his time near the top, having run a traditional campaign in Iowa for the past few months. He is now receiving the reward for his hard-work. By visiting all ninety-nine counties in Iowa and holding more than three hundred sixty townhall meetings with its citizens, it seems that Santorum has successfully showcased his conservative credentials to Iowans. His hard work translated into votes and gave him a very close second-place finish. He is now trying to replicate that great performance in New Hampshire and the rest of the early states.
Where does this leave Mitt Romney? Well, at the moment he is enjoying a very slim lead over Rick Santorum. He is at the top nationally and, according to polls, has the best chance in the Republican field of defeating President Obama. However, based on how unpredictable this race has been so far, I don’t think we can accurately predict the outcome of the November elections this early. Maybe Mitt Romney does have the best chance to defeat the President; but his record is not proven to be consistently conservative, nor has he been able to make his mind up about, really, any issue you can come up with. We need someone who has a proven record, or there is no point in spending so much time on defeating President Obama. If our candidate is no better than he is, what are we running based on?
Rick Santorum’s record will begin to come out this week– there is no doubt about that. However, his is truly a conservative record that, I believe, could withstand the media frenzy that will surround him this week. The real test will be whether his monetary and organizational areas can rise to the level he is appearing to rise to: that of, however temporarily, a top-tier candidate.
Why has the voting public fallen in and out of love with so many of the candidates? I think it exposes a discontent with the current field. Too many people are looking to Sarah Palin, Haley Barbour, Paul Ryan, and Marco Rubio, among others, and wondering why all our truly conservative potential-candidates sat this race out. While I do agree that many of our best conservatives sat this race out, I also believe that we need to choose the best candidate in our current field and rally behind that person if we really want to defeat Barack Obama in 2012. This race has gone up and down because people have thought they found the right candidate, then started looking around again and changed their minds. We are running out of options. We have left many conservative candidates by the wayside with the up-and-down of this election season. One of those candidates could be the one we’ve been looking for; and I’m inclined to believe that one of them really is. If this wishy-washy behavior does not stop soon, we will be left with another four years under President Obama. If that happens, our country could be in a hole so deep, not even those truly conservative candidates could get us out.