Dilemma 2012: Choosing The Best Of The Worst

By Kelly Haugh

Every four years America faces a new choice, and every four years the candidates seem to get worse.  It’s no longer about choosing the best man to lead our country.  This election, it’s not even about picking the lesser of the evils.  We’ve been reduced to picking our poison, knowing every choice will make America sick in some way.

Sadly, the best anyone can say about the four remaining presidential candidates is at least they’re not Obama.  If there’s only one bit of solace to be found in this sad sack of candidates it’s that it would be pretty hard for anyone except Joe Biden to do worse than our current president.

So who will the people choose to go up against the epic fail that is Obama?  Let’s take a look at the so-called “best” the Republican Party has to offer.

Mitt Romney (wikimedia)

First there’s the flip-flopping Mormon Mitt Romney, who graduated from the John Kerry school of taking both sides.  There’s not a damning Youtube clip of him saying he voted for the $87 billion before he voted against it but his lack of decisive beliefs and backbone have been well documented.  Then there’s his religion, which can be another huge stumbling block – just look at the heat John F. Kennedy got for being a Catholic.  Most Americans may not know much about Mormonism but they do know the big deviations that separate them from mainstream Christians.  Is America, and more specifically conservative Christians, really ready for “Sister Wives” in the White House?

Newt Gingrich (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

Option two is Newt Gingrich, who lacks any basic morals.  The man not only cheated on his first two wives, he served his first wife, Jackie Battley, with divorce papers while she was battling uterine cancer in 1980.  He even admits to arguing about the terms of the divorce, which she was contesting, while she was in the hospital recovering from surgery.  If that doesn’t show a total lack of character, nothing does.

Gingrich is the John Edwards of the Republican Party without the youth and charisma.  His long history of being slime should make his campaign promises and political resume irrelevant.  He’s a man without values who simply can’t – and shouldn’t – be trusted with the future and face of our nation.  Do you really want him representing your America?

Rick Santorum (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

The third surprising candidate is ex-Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, who seemed to appear out of total obscurity.  He has experience in both the House and Senate but he’s been out of the political spotlight since he lost his Senate seat to Bob Casey in the 2006 election.  Despite being a relatively unknown latecomer with far less money in his war chest, Santorum has had his share of explosions in popularity and has pulled out several unexpected wins, including a sweep of all three states that held caucuses and primaries Feb. 6.

Santorum is a family man who left the campaign trail before the Florida primary to be with his ailing young daughter, so he easily beats Gingrich in the family values department.  He’s also a confirmed Christian courting – and officially receiving – the religious conservative vote.  Compared to his rivals, Santorum is more of an unknown and his campaign hurdles are more economic than personal.  One of the biggest questions surrounding him is whether he has the right experience to lead America through these tough economic times, but his steady gains in the polls show there are many willing to take a chance on him.  In polling conducted Feb. 8-12 by the Pew Research Center, Santorum ranks in a virtual dead heat with Romney, gaining 30% of Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters compared to Romney’s 28%, with the poll’s margin of error being plus or minus five percentage points.

Any other time, Santorum probably wouldn’t stand a chance, but in this election he’s the most mainstream of the candidates.  For those uncomfortable with Newt’s adultery and non-existant morals and Romney’s liberal leanings and “non-Christian” beliefs, Santorum may be the only viable choice.

Ron Paul (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

Finally, there’s Ron Paul who no one takes seriously, thank God.  Does anyone really know or care what he stands for?  I think not.

It’s hard to believe these are the “best” the Grand Old Party has to offer.  It seems like anyone who would have made a good candidate was smart enough not to run.  Who would want the headache of the presidency when there are so many problems facing America and so much of the population has voiced their displeasure with the government?  Who wants the unenviable task of cleaning up Obama’s mess?

When the field of candidates is this depressing, it’s easy for people to get discouraged and tune all the politics out.  The lack of a “good” candidate to support may make you want to opt for no choice at all by choosing not to exercise your right to vote, which is the absolute worst thing that could happen.

The minute Americans give up and just take whatever our politicians push on us, we lose our constitutionally guaranteed power to change things and surrender our ability to hold the government accountable.

We all will have to live with the choices we make, or don’t make, in April and November for the next four years, which is even more important given the current state of the country and the unrest around the world.  America can’t afford to be apathetic or roped in by some glittery gimmick.  As the last election and the ensuing downhill slide of Obama’s leadership failure have shown us, we can’t vote with the wool pulled over our eyes just because somebody puts on a good show.

Every American needs to vote, but that vote also needs to be an informed one, even if the choices aren’t ideal.  Otherwise we’re right back where we started, stuck in a muddy mess the government made.  Just ask yourself one question: Can America really survive another four years of incompetence?
Can you survive it?

College students are some of the worst offenders when it comes to not bothering to vote and not being engaged in politics, but these choices and issues greatly affect us too.  Will you be able to find a job after graduation?  Will you be able to make enough money to live comfortably, or will you be forced to kill yourself working long hours for little pay?  What about health insurance, or student loans?

Will a president and government in Hollywood’s pocket push through draconian bills, like the recently tabled SOPA and PIPA, that will drastically censor the internet?  Will he drag us or our tax dollars into someone else’s war, like Libya?  Will he bow to foreign pressure or protect American interests?  Maybe most importantly, will the next president restore America to greatness?

No matter which side you’re on these are all things that will in some way effect you, whether you vote or not.  With so much at stake, don’t you want to have a say in your future?

The choices may not be great, but any choice is better than no choice.  So pay attention, get informed and, most importantly, vote in the April 24 primary and November 6 election.

Stay tuned to the Nittany Pride for more political coverage as the primary election nears.  We’ll be wading through the politics and breaking down the candidates and issues to help you make a more informed decision.

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