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"The American people have shown they are hungry for vision"
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"The American people have shown they are hungry for vision"

The race to decide who will challenge US President Barack Obama in November has been dominated by debate over gay marriage and contraception, rather than pressing issues such as healthcare, foreign policy and terrorism, reports Ryan Bachoo, 22, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Trinidad & Tobago.

I sat down this weekend to watch Round II of the Republican candidacy race in New Hampshire with a huge expectation of seeing an intellectual boxing fight. Instead, all I got from the debate was a verbal (and at times obscene) street fight between dogs.

It is the first time I’ve sat down to watch this Republican race, having missed Round I. An American historian, Dr Tim Stanley, who writes on politics for the Daily Telegraph, picked his beef with the debate hosts (ABC being the host broadcaster), who he says is partly at fault for the constant tugging and jostling between the six contenders.

I agree with him, but only as far as the poor quality of some questions go. In comparing both the Democratic and the Republican debates in a matter of four years, the Grand Old Party conveys a message of theoretical politics rather than public relations, of which Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign so epitomized.

I say this not only because each candidate came prepared to bite at each other’s shortcomings, but much like what the Republican party is criticized for, the six men on stage are more focused on what the poll numbers are saying rather than getting a strong and grass-rooted campaign flowing. Only Mitt Romney has succeeded in this aspect.

While the five other candidates have begged attention on stage, Romney stood calm, collective and smiling between Ron Paul and Rick Santorum. It isn’t to say that Romney hasn’t made grave errors, but certainly he’s minimized the embarrassment on his campaign by limiting his responses to only when necessary.

In being the leader of the pack at the moment, Newt Gingrich said that should Romney succeed at being the Republican nomination, he would “struggle to beat Obama,” and he is right. But not only will Romney lose against Obama, but so will all the others. There are major flaws in the policies and campaigns of each individual. From a campaign perspective, in Round I in New Hampshire on Saturday night, Gingrich, Rick Perry, Santorum, Jon Huntsman and Paul all apparently forgot that they needed to attack Romney’s ideas and policies.

On Sunday morning, in Round II, they did not repeat that error, and from all corners, Romney was labeled a “predator”, a “liar”, a “timid moderate”, absenting leadership, flip-flopping and lacking a real plan for the economy. Obama’s campaign team would certainly have been taking notes. And on that same note, whoever wins the nomination right, they will have to significantly boost and alter their current campaign tactics and strategies if they are to even begin seriously competing against the Obama campaign.

But more than just propaganda, the American people have shown that they are hungry for a vision for their country, someone with foresight, irrespective of however poor that person’s background may be. It was the same four years ago, and it is no different in 2012. Obama managed to give the American public not glimpses, but an entire dream of a common purpose for America to move towards.

I fear some of the policies that are being presented by the Republican candidates just don’t fit into the purpose of the majority of American people. Ron Paul’s foreign policy, for example, does not seek to engender the safety the American people so crave. It is all well not to pick fights overseas, but if America does not continue the fight abroad in places like Afghanistan, Syria, Iran and Pakistan, then terrorist organizations will not only strengthen financially and physically, but the threat against America will again increase much like 2001.

Romney’s foreign policy generally aligns with those of the Bush administration. He sees radical Islamists as the most pressing threat to the United States’ safety. He has focused his foreign policy platform on upping defense spending, forging “global networks of intelligence and law enforcement” and supporting “moderate Muslims” throughout the Middle East.

In an ideal world, Ron Paul is the liberalist one would love to run a country; the only problem is we are far from living in an ideal world. As much as Obama wanted and tried to spend American taxpayer dollars on the growth, development and health of the American people, he too quickly realized that it was important to fund world intelligence and continue serving aid to developing countries.

The debate was a fascinating one, and though the policies and ideas of the candidates have flaws, it still showed the great leaders America possesses. I was very disappointed though that gay marriages, contraception and Republican infighting were the subject of discussion for lengthy periods. I’d like to think that terrorism, healthcare and foreign policy would be on the minds of American voters come November, don’t you ABC?

Ryan Bachoo on Twitter: http://twitter.com/RyanBachoo

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About me:

“Hi, I am Ryan Bachoo, a journalist and public relations officer from Princes Town in Trinidad and Tobago. I currently work with the West Indies Cricket Board.

“I am currently working as a broadcast journalist for Cable News Channel 3. I also write on various talking points and current problems facing the world including international politics and the issues of a depleting economy.”

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/

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