On June 16, I posted a piece about how the GOP presidential candidates reminded me of high schoolers making campaign promises unhinged from what is actually possible. A few days later, a much more respected and reputable source, made the same point. Fareed Zakaria posted this blog piece about how Republicans have become comfortable with unrealistic and impractical expectations and promises.
Regardless of what you think about these candidates or the GOP platform overall, there is a disconnect between what is realistic for a first term president in the midst of a economic recession and what is currently being promoted at the early GOP debates. Understanding that candidates must win the base to win primaries, I get what Pawlenty, Romney and Huntsman are doing. On the other hand, it fosters articles like one Zakaria wrote and weakens the eventual GOP nominee in the general election.
I’m not sure what the solution is but I would agree it requires these candidates to be more true to their past record as (moderate) governors (Pawlenty, Romney, and the somewhat more conservative former Utah Gov. Huntsman) and not totally bow to the extreme Right. In fact, voters seem to prefer straight-forward, honest approaches. What was McCain’s big mistake in 2008? Palin. My Tea Party friends might disagree but voters could tell that Sarah Palin was a political trick to attempt to win the media momentum away from Barack Obama’s campaign and was not true to his previous record. In small ways, both Romney and Pawlenty are making the same mistake already. It’s unfortunate because both have the potential to drive this election toward an honest discussion of what Americans want from our tax, fiscal and economic policies in the future. Instead, they appear to be pandering. Whether they are or not, does not matter as much as what people perceive to be happening. And when someone like Fareed Zakaria is asking questions about the practicality and common sense of a party historically premised on those two virtues – it’s not a good sign. And I’d just like to say, the Pickle was first to this story by 3 days. Count it.