American Idol: White House edition


By Shawn Dobbs, Contributor

When we live in a society where more people would rather vote for the “American Idol” than the American President, we should expect to be given just that choice.

Pundits and politicians will give you a dozen reasons Romney is going to win the Republican nomination.  They’ll say it’s because he has more funding, more backers, more donors.  They’ll say it’s because he has stronger ideas, because he’s the “most electable” or the “most likely to beat Obama.”  They’ll say it’s because of his business experience.  They’ll say it’s because Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum split the party so badly that neither of them could get enough votes to compete with Romney.  They’ll say it’s because he nailed all the talking points, or that it’s because he can speak succinctly without a teleprompter.

These are all the things that people are supposed to say.  We’re supposed to say that Mitt Romney and Barack Obama will face off in the general election because they are the two most qualified candidates representing their respective parties.  We’re supposed to play it off like this race has been about the issues the whole time, when in reality we haven’t elected a President based on competency of issues since Eisenhower.  Since then, only on rare occasions has anything stirred the American public enough to elect a President based on his positions- we elected Nixon to get us out of Vietnam, for instance.

But in the 21st century especially, sex appeal has been the driving force of our economy.  It is evident in how the most interesting things the media could think to report about George W. Bush were his speech gaffes.  The question of McCain’s age in the 2008 race was touted as a prominent “issue.”

So I’ll be the first one to say it: Romney is going to be the Republican nominee because the news networks and both political parties want to see Romney and Obama on stage together.  It’s great entertainment, and the Republicans haven’t had a sexy candidate since Reagan.  Mitt Romney is the Republican equivalent of Barack Obama.  He looks good, speaks well and comes across as the kind of guy your mother would want you to date.  To have these two men on stage together is a broadcaster’s dream.It stopped being about the issues back in South Carolina.  This race stopped being about the issues when Herman Cain dropped out of the race, not because he knows nothing about American foreign policy, war strategy or history, but because of an alleged almost-sex scandal.  This race stopped being about the issues when the question “who is most qualified to be President” was replaced with “who is most likely to beat Barack Obama?”  And since Obama won based on sex appeal in 2008, the Republicans needed a figurehead as well.  They picked the best-looking man and gave him a list of the correct talking points.

Regardless of who wins this year, don’t expect much to change.  Barack Obama is putty in the Democratic party’s hands, Mitt Romney is Play-Doh for the Republicans, and both parties are bound hand and foot by special interests and lobbyists for various industries. It’s American Idol: White House Edition in 2012, and the only real question is who has enough money to buy out the Presidency?


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