Vincent Ferrer/The Mirror

As President Obama delivered his 2012 State of the Union Address, the effort to bring attention to his administration’s accomplishments grew in momentum in preparation for November. He repeated his willingness to “work with anyone” to build on the “momentum” America’s economy has supposedly gathered since his policies came into effect. Naturally, statistics were used to emphasize accomplishments to the greatest degree possible, with the online “enhanced” version showing images of growth or decline (when necessary).

The most obvious example of accomplishments highlighted is probably a moment in which the President was talking about stopping illegal immigration where he claimed that his administration had “put more boots on the border than ever before”. The truth is that the vast majority of border patrol increases occurred during the Bush administration (the online version compared the number of border patrol agents in 2004 (10,000) to that of 2011 (21,444)). The irony is that while Obama has emphasized his toughness against illegal immigration, the most recent Republican Presidential debate witnessed a vicious argument between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich over who was more “pro-immigrant.”

Romney has been posed questions during debates by the media that begin with a mention of the fact that his father immigrated to the US from Mexico. The fact that the Romney family originally fled to Mexico because of anti-polygamy laws, generally does not receive much attention.

The most recent debate also featured a question concerning how the candidates’ religious beliefs would impact their decisions. Santorum talked about how rights are granted by God rather than by governments.

Both Gingrich and Romney spoke about appealing to Providence in order to help make difficult decisions. Paul’s answer was the shortest, answering simply that his faith only affected his character, not his decisions as President. Seeing as the current President’s emphasis on religion (or more accurately, Christianity) seems to be at the bare minimum, this question as well as other social questions will not make the difference.

Ron Paul’s major points about the economy; that government must become drastically smaller, that the United States should have a sound monetary policy with free markets and zero income tax, conflict with his beliefs on foreign policy. Even if he follows the Constitution most firmly, Republicans will not nominate someone with a foreign policy that many consider to be “dangerous”. Rick Santorum’s numbers are better than Paul’s, but likely not high enough. The race has become a fight between Gingrich and Romney—the former boasting about his experience as speaker, the latter about his experience in the private sector.

The problem with these candidates is that they will each have critical weaknesses against President Obama come election time. Gingrich has furiously attacked Democrats for his entire career, claiming that it is inevitable that either liberalism or conservatism emerge as America’s culture.

It seems unlikely that Democrats will support him. Romney, on the other hand (as pointed out repeatedly by Santorum), supported public health care while he was governor of Massachusetts. But the race is far from over, and

despite Obama’s efforts in weakening al-Qaida, supporting American businesses, combating illegal immigration, and leveling the economic playing field,Democrats are so disenchanted with him that a strong decision-maker from the right just might be able to seize victory in November. We then find ourselves with another question…what kind of lunatic would want to be president?

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