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Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Columns

Struggling GOP candidates should stop acting, start embracing their pasts


If all the world’s a stage,then Washington D.C., is Broadway. Like actors, politicians play a constant game of tug-of-war between who they are, who they’re supposed to be and who they believe they can become. But few obtain triple threat status.

Whether chosen for their accolades or their stage personas, some of the GOP presidential candidates who are less likely to get the nomination more accurately represent the various factions of our nation. But the job of these political actors is to make you forget this common background. The political sytem would like to see them morph into Conservative caricatures.

Michele Bachmann, who, after a promising start is now trailing in the polls, describes herself as a full-time mother, creationist and global warming skeptic. Mentioned more for infamy than contention, Bachmann can be disagreeable, but her verbal seizures aren’t reason enough to disregard her — she’s a classy lady. A Tea Party enthusiast, she’s said time and time again that Americans deserve all of the facts when it comes to the government’s decisions. This might stem from her roots as a family woman, or possibly even her heavy affiliations with the church, but in the end, Bachmann leaves few outlets open to question. Unless, of course, they conflict with her own.

After all is said and done, can these performers be blamed for dancing on the stages built for them? After all, when the ballot arrives, the facts as they exist are hardly as important as the ones you actually know.”

When Newt Gingrich was 19, he married his 26-year-old geography teacher, only to divorce her later over an affair with a woman 23 years his junior, whom he would later divorce following yet another affair. Gingrich has obviously had his share of excitement preceding the primary.

What separates him from his contemporaries is a heavily varied experience and an appreciation for history that borders on the obsessive.

But what’s wrong with that? The man once cited his personal adventures as being driven by his passion for the country. If this is true, the American public could expect his full attention in office — at least until something else comes along.

As the technocrat of the group, Jon Huntsman appears most at ease out of the limelight. He’s Mormon, with an Episcopalian wife and an adopted Indian daughter; among his Republican counterparts, it’s arguable he’s the most progressive.

Before he had any political ambitions, Huntsman manned keyboards for “Wizard,” an underground rock band. The mentality stuck, as he was spotted amidst the pro-democracy demonstrations in China this past year, dressed as casually as the rioters on his left and right. Still, his demeanor was as unassuming in the streets as it had been on the stage. His response: “I’m just here to watch.”

Who we are can be miles away from who we intend to be, but the only person who can cover the distance is ourselves. It’s a discrepancy most politicos are aware of, and they combat it with the only means available to them: discretion in some areas, condolences in others and indecision everywhere else. Even with the most heartfelt attempts in this area, success isn’t likely for these political candidates. But shouldn’t these politicians just embrace their backgrounds?

Whittled photos will surface as the race progresses, forgotten acquaintances will impart wisdom on the media and religious doctrines will evolve from private concerns to public disclosure.

Can these performers be blamed for dancing on the stages built for them? After all, when the ballot arrives, the facts as they exist are hardly as important as the ones you actually know.

Bryan Washington is a sociology freshman and may be reached at [email protected]

 


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