Opinion: GOP losing touch with reality

Bryan Staul

Bryan Staul

Bryan Staul is a junior political science major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].

It’s been only a few months since my last column here at the Daily Kent Stater, and a lot has happened. Washington D.C. was overwhelmed by the debt ceiling battle highlighting just how broken our political process has become. Of course the America’s pristine AAA credit rating was downgraded for the first time. The space shuttle program was canceled. We Are Ohio managed to gather an incredible 1.3 million signatures to repeal Senate Bill 5. The NFL lockout was ended just in the nick of time. Riots broke out in England, and an earthquake shook Washington D.C.

However, out of all the newsworthy events so far there is one that I have chosen to opine on for my first column of the year. This is of course the 2012 Republican Party presidential contenders, and I have decided to call the “WTF Factor.” To explain the “WTF Factor” I’ll start by quoting some of the candidates.

First, is Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. Nothing proves my point more than this little gem: “Not all cultures are equal.” Or this one from 2004: “It’s part of Satan I think to say that this is ‘gay.’ It’s anything but gay.” Or, how about this one: “If you’re involved in the gay and lesbian lifestyle, its bondage. It is personal bondage, personal despair and personal enslavement.” But Bachmann is just the tip of the iceberg.

Let’s look at Herman Cain who isn’t exactly a frontrunner but is still polling at in the middle of the field. He was on the record saying that communities had the right to “ban mosques.” But his statements get even more troubling. When asked if Cain would appoint Muslims to his cabinet if elected he said “No, I will not and here’s why. There is this creeping attempt, there’s this attempt to gradually ease Sharia law and the Muslim faith into our government. It does not belong in our government.”

It doesn’t end with Cain. Texas Gov. Rick Perry is the new darling of the Republican establishment. Perry once said, “We’ve got a great union. There’s absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know who knows what might come out of that.”

Then there is Rick Santorum, the former senator from my home state of Pennsylvania. Santorum is known for being a bit frothy on the issues if you get my drift. For example, Santorum said while defending sodomy laws that the right to privacy “doesn’t exist in my opinion in the United States Constitution.” It even goes beyond the candidates.

The GOP-controlled House of Representatives also had one of the year’s biggest WTF moments when they denied deal after deal to raise America’s debt ceiling even with many of the deals overwhelmingly favoring the GOP’s ideology.

Now, I consider myself a fair guy, so it wouldn’t be right to characterize the entire field of GOP candidates as out-of-touch nuts. There are several reasonable candidates that come to mind. Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman and recent dropout Tim Pawlenty have all expressed reasonable views while maintaining their republican identities.

However, if the WTF factor continues to stay strong, I fear the Grand Old Party might be stuck in the fringes of American politics.