Republicans look for a fresh face

 With every passing day, the question of who the Republican Party will select for their presidential candidate for 2012 becomes all the more elusive. At the present moment, there has been no official selection; all that one can claim to know at this point are merely hearsay and rumors.

Mitt Romney, the Governor of Massachusetts, by all intents and purposes seemed an extremely viable candidate, but with his close associations to President Obama's healthcare policies through healthcare reforms he enacted in the state of Massachusetts, the dreaded phrase "Romneycare" has decidedly begun to uncomfortably stick to him, and republicans are beginning to doubt the efficacy of this once hoped for candidate.

Sarah Palin, who ran for vice president in 2008 alongside John McCain, has kept quiet about any plans to run in 2012. It wouldn't be any surprise, however, if she did end up deciding to run. The fact of the matter is a great deal of conservatives admires her and would vote for her again given the opportunity to do so.

Curious to see what students on our campus think of this issue, I took to the quad and started asking questions.

I asked a student named Amir Motamedi who he thought would run for president on the conservative ticket, and why. "Probably Mitt Romney," he said, "because he probably has a more economical view of things. I think we need a president who can handle some fiscal issues better."

Beyond fiscal issues, Motamedi expressed some concern for Romney's social stances. "I wouldn't say his social outlook is the best," he said, "but out of all the republican candidates, he's probably the most honest."

Moments later I met Timothy Ooley, 29 years old and a former Marine who served for two years in Iraq and six months in Afghanistan. A member of the Veterans Club on campus, he told me that for the last presidential election he voted for McCain, and usually votes for conservative candidates. "But right now," he told me, "I don't see a lot of candidates I would want to vote for."

Asked what kind of candidate he'd like to see, Ooley said "I'm looking for someone like a Reagan conservative.           

The issues facing an upcoming republican candidate are clearly some of the most contentious social problems our country has seen in decades. Whoever decides, or is selected to run for the GOP, will have to find a way to convince the American public that they possess the know-how and political finesse to deal with the biggest federal deficits in our country's history, how to finally turn the page on the most economically costly wars in our country's history, what to do about education, massive unemployment, and so on.

Beating an incumbent president has never been easy to accomplish either, and though President Obama's once nearly universal admiration amongst democrats has suffered as a result of just some of the vast problems we face, there is little doubt that he'll have any trouble winning the vote of the country's democrats once again.

If the GOP wishes to have any semblance of a fighting chance in the next presidential election, they're going to need to select a candidate who is not just a new face, but someone who can speak to the American public without alienating those who lean left. If we face the facts, the country is in a very conservative mindset. Last years elections confirm that, with the republicans winning a landslide victory in the congressional elections.

But the lynchpin here is the crisis the country faces over balancing the federal deficit. If a deal cannot be struck and a federal shut down happens, the republicans could face a massive defeat to their public image, even more so than what has already occurred with the massive blow to against the unions in Madison, WI.

The democrats will want to exploit the perceived stiff-necked nature of their republican congressional counterparts. But that could be a double-dged sword, in which a republican candidate can possibly convince America that their democratic leaders are on a mission to spend the nation's wealth into oblivion.