The top three candidates in the 2012 Republican presidential primaries are Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum. Gingrich and Santorum are both Catholics while Romney is a Mormon, presenting two relatively uncommon faiths among presidential candidates in American history. As of Super Tuesday, Romney is the popular vote leader, with 3,472,365 votes.
Son of George Romney, the former governor of Michigan, Mitt Romney was the governor of Massachusetts for a single term from 2003 to 2007. He has a background in business, as he has an MBA at Harvard and has served as CEO of “Bain & Company”, based in Boston, Massachusetts. He belongs to “The Jesus Christ Church of Latter-Day Saints; also, he has served as a Mormon missionary in France.
Romney’s economic plan is one of his points of pride. While governing Massachusetts, he help to create (on average) 15,000 jobs per year, which is supposedly more effective than Obama’s job creation plan in proportion to the population. However, in his social policy, he is often accused of “flip-flopping” and repeatedly changing sides in heated debates such as in the legality of stem cell research and abortion. Some accuse him of conforming to the most widespread positions instead of declaring his own honest opinions.
Georgian Newt Gingrich worked for four years in the House of Representatives (representing Georgia) from 1995 to 1999. He has spent most of his time working as a political consultant since his resignation, until his nomination by the Republican party for election in 2012. He has identified with three faiths throughout his life: Lutheranism during his upbringing; Southern Baptism for much of his adult life; and Roman Catholicism, to which he converted in 2009.
The majority of Gingrich’s political views, especially his social views, hold true to Republican ideals. For example, he is pro-life; he is against drug law reform, stem cell research, medical marijuana, and same-sex marriage; and he also endorses prayer in our public schools. Also after participating in an advertisement urging Americans to address the evidence of climate change, he called it “the single dumbest thing I’ve done”. Generally, not many of his views are considered innovative or unique in relation to the Republican Party.
Rick Santorum served as a United States Senator in Pennsylvania for twelve consecutive years, from 1994 to 2006. Also, while maintaining loyalty to his party’s ideals, he is most often described as a social conservative. Although enjoying limited success at his campaign’s beginning, he has since gained momentum and is now considered, along with Mitt Romney, to be a front-runner in the race.
Despite this current status, Santorum holds certain views that voters have felt uncomfortable with. For example, in an interview with “This Week”, an ABC program, he stated that he does not believe in the separation of church and state. History can show that, despite their religiosity, even the most faithful of our presidents have believed in keeping church and state separate. He also does not believe in global warming and considers it a conspiracy theory. Many Americans are worried that Santorum’s environmental policies would do little to address climate change and, in turn, could have catastrophic effects.
Fidel Castro was quoted as saying the following, which is re-worded to avoid plagiarism: “The selection of a Republican candidate in 2012 for America’s presidency is the greatest competition of ignorance and idiocy that has ever been.” Clearly, confidence in the 2012 Republican presidential primaries appears to be running low. However, we can only hope that, in November of this year, Americans will make the right choice.