With the neck-in-neck results of the Iowa caucus blanketing the airwaves and a shifting focus to the upcoming primaries in New Hampshire, almost every media outlet has one question on its mind: Who is winning the battle for the Republican nomination? And while it is admittedly easy to get caught up in election fever, what pundits, columnists, and voters alike are failing to realize is that none of the current GOP candidates will lead the country in the right direction. Moreover, as the Republican circus keeps on moving from town to town and state to state, it is only becoming easier for President Obama to be re-elected.
Between downright disgusting Google search results, debate debacles, alleged affairs, and challenges for seven three-hour, one-on-one debates, the Republican candidates have already become a never-ending source of jokes for late-night TV. And that's before even taking a look at their stances on issues. Rick Santorum, who can brag that he lost in the closest caucus or primary in GOP history, maintains the most socially conservative views possible, including the outlawing of abortion in all cases. Mitt Romney, the former-moderate governor of Massachusetts has stepped to the right to appeal to Tea Partiers -- for example, while he once supported a path to citizenship for illegal residents, he now claims that "we cannot give amnesty to those who have come here illegally" -- while Rick Perry, who is known to have boasted of shooting a coyote during a morning run, is an advocate of gun rights and an overall social conservative.
While I do agree that there is a time and place for conservatism, now is not it. The United States is in an incredibly important historical period right now, especially with the changing face of the world around us. With 2011 as a year of worldwide protest (think Arab Spring, Occupy Movement, street protests in Israel, Chile, Spain, and the United Kingdom), now more than ever is the time for change. We must shift our focus towards the future -- a future with equality for all individuals regardless of sexual orientation, a future where every American will be able to see a doctor, a future where the overwhelming majority of Americans will have lower taxes. If anything, both the backwards-looking views and immaturity present in the current Republican field should underscore the current administration's sensibility. Obama is leading the country in the right direction, and as the Republican candidates discuss what they have done, Obama's accomplishments must not be forgotten. Obama was the one that ended military operations in Iraq, ended Don't Ask, Don't Tell, orchestrated the killing of bin Laden and other top terrorists, passed revolutionary healthcare reform, brought the economy back from the brink, and worked to reduce taxes on the middle class. The list goes on and on.
Flowery rhetoric, negative advertisements, and constant attacks are sure to dominate the national political stage in the upcoming months. I intend to follow the Republican nomination process closely and I encourage everyone to do the same. But come November, I know who is getting my vote.