The GOP race: A classic disconnect

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By Tressa Eckermann, Senior Staff Writer

“We need someone who has lived in the real streets of America,” Presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Thursday night during the South Carolina debates, about fellow candidate Newt Gingrich.

The real streets of America? Was that the purest definition of irony that we’ve ever heard? It was a rough day for both Gingrich and Romney.  Romney found out he hadn’t won the Iowa caucus and also had to figure out a way to side step the fact that he has bank accounts in the Cayman Islands.  Gingrich was scrambling to figure out how to explain an interview given by his second ex-wife to ABC News.

Throughout the debate Romney struggled to find his footing when it came to his finances. Every time Romney spoke about his finances, he stumbled. Maybe it was because he is genuinely confused. How does a billionaire with a summer house in Martha’s Vineyard talk to a nation full of out-of-work people?

That seems to be the big problem (amongst other things) in the current GOP race. This very illogical disconnect. When Romney says that we need someone to run our country who’s ‘lived on the real streets of America,’ I can’t help but think that this isn’t a guy who screams all-American boy. Let’s face it, Romney isn’t and never will be the scrappy underdog.

The four remaining candidates’ biggest problem is always going to be that disconnect. You can almost smell the desperation rolling off them to prove that they’re America’s poster-boy. Romney, for example, has tried since the beginning to be the ‘I’m just like you’ candidate. The problem is, he isn’t. He just might be too dense to realize it. A Cayman Islands bank account and million-dollar summer house isn’t a middle-class lifestyle. Just watching him trying to shrug off releasing his tax returns as a joke, proves this fact.

Romney’s awkward exchanges about how to ‘fix’ healthcare is yet another example. His plan that would allow individuals to be able to take their insurance with them from employer to employer, only shows he has a problem with comprehension. You get the sense when listening to him that he’s essentially saying to us, ‘Well I can afford health care – so can you!’

Romney isn’t the only disconnected candidate, though. Gingrich has that vacuous blowhard bit down pat.  In his opening remarks he lashed out at CNN for starting the debate with a question regarding reports from ABC stating that Gingrich approached his MS-stricken wife about having an open marriage. In those moments he didn’t seem like a presidential candidate, but instead a petulant child trying to get out of a punishment. Instead of facing those questions about his moral character, he snapped back, hoping the voters would set the issue aside. Out of sight, out of mind, right?  Whether he likes it or not, questions about his previous marriages are relevant. I’d like to hear what his ex-wife has to say about his character and family values, especially since that’s the platform he’s running on.

Politics is in an interesting place right now, as is the world. If any of the candidates running in the GOP race want an actual shot at winning, they need to find a way to bridge a gap I’m not sure they understand.

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