Guest Commentary: Republican Field a Complete Sideshow

Written by admin   // October 27, 2011   // 0 Comments

by Michael H. Cottman,

Even though President Barack Obama’s poll numbers are wavering and his much-touted jobs plan is essentially dead in the water, Obama has six secret weapons that could secure his re-election in 2012: The Republican presidential candidates.

Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, Herman Cain, Michelle Bachmann, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich – the traveling sideshow that pretends to offer national leadership – could rival Ringling Brothers for slap-stick entertainment.

The banner should read “Road to the White House with The Six Stooges.”

Perry and Romney engaged in an embarrassing verbal slugfest during this week’s Republican debate in Las Vegas, followed by Cain’s recent announcement that if elected president, he’d like his Secret Service codename to be “Cornbread.”


What other black stereotypes will Cain offer before the end of next week? One thing is certain: More nonsense from the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza is heading our way.

Cain, the only African-American among the GOP candidates for the White House, is a likable gentleman who entertains crowds of rural white voters with gospel hymns and talks of electrocuting illegal immigrants.

Apparently whites are so comfortable with Cain that Perry, during this week’s debate, affectionately referred to Cain twice as “brother,” as if they are close friends, or perhaps Perry was just trying to use an African-American colloquialism.

“Herman, I love you, brother,” Perry told Cain at one point during the debate. It’s really unclear what Perry was going for; we’ll probably never know for sure.

Buffoonery and confusion seems to run rampant among Republicans, and the race, at least for now, has turned decidedly nasty. What ever happened to civility? And dignity? And taking the high road?

During this week’s debate, Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, pulled no punches when Texas Gov. Rick Perry mentioned a 2007 controversy stemming from Romney hiring a lawn company that employed illegal immigrants.

At one point, Romney shouted at Perry: “Are you just going to keep talking, or are you going to let me finish what I have to say?”

“The idea that you stand here before us and talk about that you’re strong on immigration, is on its face the height of hypocrisy,” Perry said to Romney.

“You stood here in front of the American people and did not tell the truth that you had illegals working on your property,” Perry said. “The idea that you can sit here and talk about any of us having an immigration issue is beyond me.”

None of these GOP candidates can be taken seriously, and, in fact, their offerings resemble television comedy routines that will no doubt provide a wealth of material for “Saturday Night Live” well into next year.

Americans need serious leadership, not mud-raking, low blows, attacks and counter-attacks. It seems that none of these Republican candidates have taken this old adage to heart: When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.

For his part, Obama has problems, too, and his re-election is no guarantee. A majority of Americans for the first time now blame Obama for the nation’s economic problems, according to a new poll.

A majority – 53 percent – said Obama deserved “a great deal” or a “moderate amount” of the blame for the economic problems that the United States currently faces, the USA Today/Gallup poll shows. This figure has jumped from 32 percent in July 2009, after Obama had only been in office for six months.

Even though Senate Republicans blocked Obama’s jobs bill last week, which effectively kills the plan for now, the president embarked on a three-day campaign-style bus trip to North Carolina and Virginia this week where he discussed jobs, the economy – and African-Americans.

Obama said with unemployment among African-Americans unacceptably over 16 percent and 1.4 million African-Americans out of work for six months or longer, “inaction is not an option.”

“We need Congress to act now and pass a bill that has clear benefits to put America back to work and support those hardest hit by the economy, especially African-Americans,” Obama said.

The White House said Obama’s plan to expand unemployment insurance will benefit 1.4 million African-Americans and their families. Obama’s senior advisors also said his tax cuts will help over 100,000 black-owned small businesses, while also expediting payment for government contracts.

Earlier this week, Melody Barnes, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, told me that the White House released “Creating Pathways to Opportunity,” a new government report that underscores the work the Obama administration has done to help Americans ascend to the middle class.

Barnes said that many of Obama’s economic policies are already in place, impacting African-Americans in positive ways – “changing lives,” she said – but maintained that many Americans, and blacks in particular, are not aware of the administration’s achievements.

Perhaps Barnes is right that black folks are not familiar with the administration’s initiatives.

But with a 16.7 percent black unemployment rate, it’s also possible that some of these programs are not reaching the multitude of unemployed people fast enough, and now, the frustration among African-Americans is intensifying.

Meanwhile, the GOP’s Six Stooges are too busy arguing about illegal immigration and shouting at each other on national television to talk about the needs of black Americans – and poor people in particular.

So, for now, Obama should thank the Republican Party for fielding such a bumbling group of presidential candidates and work it to his advantage.

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