GOP options in 2012: Can they beat Obama?


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The President gave his State of the Union address last Tuesday after an incredible eulogy for the victims in Arizona the week before.  

As a Republican, I was extremely frustrated.  Not because of Obama’s speeches in particular, but because he could look so good when all of the political momentum has currently shifted towards the Right.  

The 2010 midterm elections were pivotal for the Republicans and dramatically changed the political climate.  They gained 60 seats in the House of Representatives, lessened the gap in the Senate to only a few and now have 29 governorships.  

All signs are pointing to Republican legislation dominating American politics for some time.    

Despite the momentum against Obama and the Democrats, our President’s popularity is on the rise again.  It’s definitely not his policies that are the cause – they’re actually why the Democrats were in trouble in the first place. It’s his ability to speak in public and influence the audience with his charismatic style.

Midway through his State of the Union address, Obama sarcastically smiled and said, “Now, I’ve heard rumors that a few of you have some concerns about the new health care law.” 

It seemed like Obama was committing political suicide in front of a national audience when he cunningly rubbed his most controversial piece of legislation in the face of the Republicans.  

He should’ve bowed to the Republicans after the historic mid-term elections, in which the American public spoke loudly against current Democratic policies and the President’s agenda.  

But the political climate didn’t bother Obama in his address to Congress as he was able to change the tone of the debate with one single sentence.

Obama is really smooth in public.  He has the ability to use his public presence to dictate the audience and their appeal to him and his Party’s policies  

Republicans don’t have that type of politician.  In 2012 we will need a candidate like Obama so our party can continue the electoral success of 2010 and win the presidency.  

In 1980, the Republicans had their Obama candidate, Ronald Reagan, but also they had a political environment accepting of conservative policies.  

In 2012, we have the accepting public but no Reagan.  Here are three candidates I believe can best fill that void in 2012.  

Many consider Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House, as the chief architect of the 1994 Republican take-over of the House.  He’s extremely intelligent and extremely conservative.  

Gingrich could hold his own in a debate against Obama, and without a teleprompter, Gingrich is smooth enough to charm the crowd and overpower Obama with his conservative rebuttals.  It’s a combination that could be victorious, especially in a right-of-center political climate.  

His public image could use some tinkering (three marriages, extra-marital speculation, and an ethics violation or two during his tenure as Speaker of the House), but that seems almost like child’s play in this day and age.  

Many forget, war hero John McCain also had skeletons in his closet concerning extramarital affairs in 2008 but still forced a very close election against Obama.  The Republican machine will sell a glorified public image and it’ll sell.  Gingrich is my favorite candidate right now.  

 My second candidate is Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey.  He’s the guy many liberals love to hate.  

Christie has had death threats from the powerful teachers union in New Jersey because of his tough political antics.  Listen to him during one of his public addresses.  

He’s like your crazy uncle that says anything at any time, but, more often than not, he makes a great point.  

Christie takes pride in being politically incorrect and brash, which is something we haven’t seen in politics for some time.  He’s gaining popularity and name recognition from his outlandish approach.  

He would be a great match-up against Obama in 2012 because our president addresses the public in a more politically-correct manner.  

 The third and most interesting candidate in 2012 is Marco Rubio, a newly-elected senator from Florida.  Rubio became well known nationally during his come-from-behind victory against the heavily favored Charlie Christ in the 2010 election.

A child of Cuban exiles and fluent in Spanish, he represents a new type of candidate for the GOP.  His speeches during the 2010 elections almost paralleled Obama’s in charisma.  

Rubio also has the benefit of being from Florida, one of the most influential swing states in national politics.  Even though I’m usually against a politician that uses one influential election victory to advance politically, Rubio could emulate the Obama campaign in 2008.  

Americans love the underdog, and Rubio fits that bill in the same way Obama did in 2008.  

We’re tired of the same old candidates from the same old party.  Newt Gingrich, Chris Christie and Marco Rubio offer different qualities against a skilled candidate in a tough election.  

They would better serve the Republicans than the higher profile possibilities of Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee.  Hopefully two of them will run on the same ticket when the general election gets underway.  

 These three candidates could succeed in 2012.  

We know each candidate will tell us over and over how important this election will be, so I thought I’d say it first.  What we need in America is to continue the conservative revolution.  The 2010 midterms was the first step, and winning in the presidency in 2012 will be the second.  


Dave Kleppick is a member of the class of 2011. He can be reached at [email protected]