GOP race lacking presidential potential

By Mary Whitfill
Features Editor

The Republican Presidential Primaries are shaping up to be more entertaining than most MTV reality TV shows. The debates have become so popular that, according to The New York Times, news outlets are scrambling to add even more.

Not counting the Herman Cain and New Gingich sit-downs or the individualized radio and TV interviews with each candidate, we have been through 10 debates – with 10 more scheduled.

Republican presidential candidates during introductions prior to the GOP Debate in which the eight candidates spoke at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, on Wednesday, November 9, 2011. (Jarrad Henderson/Detroit Free Press/MCT)

So far, the debates have produced surprisingly large audiences, fun news cycles and democracy as reality TV. The first GOP debate, hosted by Fox News drew the largest audience. Over 6.2 million people tuned in to watch the candidates battle it out for the voters’ hearts.

These debates have been successful for a few key reasons. For one, no matter the political persuasion of the viewer, the debates make great television. Someone goes off script and the audience breaks out in either jeers or applause, turning democracy into a great outlet of reality TV.

Furthermore, the Republican candidates have upped their game. They have gone from simple, one-dimensional attacks against each other to serious, intelligent thinking. The GOP is getting smarter and, consequently, more entertaining.

Finally, the split in the Republican Party is absolutely compelling. With the moderates vs. the Tea Party and the cultural vs. economic purists, the debates are riveting and embedded with genuine passion. In addition, the differences between the Republicans and the Democrats are broader than ever.

But even after the debates became entertainment gold, there is still one huge problem facing the Republican Party. The problem is that we are 50 days away from the Iowa Caucuses and 57 from the New Hampshire Primaries and no candidate is breaking away from the pack.

By all accounts, Mitt Romney is the front-runner for the Republican Nomination, yet it is difficult to find an excited Romney supporter. In short, the front-runner is someone that most of the party doesn’t want to elect and the party favorite (Newt Gingrich) is someone they can’t elect. Sounds promising, doesn’t it?

Barack Obama is not invincible. Barack Obama is vulnerable, but is facing almost no threat. Without an opponent that the GOP unites behind whole heartedly, Obama will win in 2012 by default. He may just prove to be the luckiest politician in America.

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