The Falling 'Stars' of the GOP

While Republicans across the country are still awaiting the emergence of their ideal candidate for president, it is high time that we take a look at the GOP “stars” that are prevalent on the national political stage, or lack thereof.

Fellow PolicyMic pundit Jermey Los recently published an article discussing the future of the Republican Party, featuring a  list of politicians that included the likes of Gov. Bobby Jindal (R- La.) and Gov. Nikki Haley (R- S.C.). But are these really the future leaders of the GOP? The false development of these so called “stars” in recent years would say no. The problem with these falling stars is that they energize the Republican base and then cower away from the national stage. Leaders such as Jindal and Sarah Palin have failed to take up their position as the flagpole of the party. 

With President Barack Obama’s victory over Senator John McCain (R- Ariz.) in 2008, some would say the Republican Party was reduced to shambles. Since then, the GOP has struggled and failed to find their own "Obama." Names such as Jindal and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin have floated around but have since all but disappeared. Either there is something about them that prohibits them from running or they couldn’t be bothered to. With their disappearance, though, their presence is missed on the national stage and their criticism of the current state of the union is missing.

Jindal began as a member of the Louisiana House, and was reelected with a remarkable 88% in 2006, an election which provoked talk of his national potential. With his election to the governor's mansion in 2007, Jindal has proven to be an effective governor. However his political capital took a hit when he delivered a lackluster GOP response to Obama’s first State of the Union in 2009. This capital was restored, however, with his responsiveness and effective leadership during the disastrous BP oil spill.

Jindal has been named as a potential 2012 candidate, but with his concentration on his reelection in 2011, a candidacy for the presidency is out of the picture, and so is perhaps Jindal’s prevalence as a national figure. Similar to those before him, Jindal is a man just taking a walk. He has failed to capitalize on his national potential and has failed to emerge as a leader of the GOP.

Another flop within the GOP is Palin. With her election to governor in 2006, she instantly became a rising figure within the GOP as the youngest and first female governor of the Last Frontier. As the VP addition to McCain's ticket in 2008, it seemed Palin was starting out on a prosperous career in national politics. However, things have since changed. During the 2010 midterms, Palin alienated herself from the GOP establishment and has flanked to the Tea Party.

Although Palin has painted herself as a typical soccer mom through her own TLC show “Sarah Palin’s Alaska,” her own autobiography Going Rogue raises some doubts about her qualities. Within the book she reveals her near-abortion of her son Trig, born with down's syndrome – a thought process which typical Republicans would not undertake considering their fervent defense of the Right to Life. Perhaps one of the reasons Palin has allowed herself to fall off the national stage and avoid a potential campaign is the strenuous nomination process for 2012. But, according to a ABC News/Washington Post poll conducted in March 2011, Palin’s favorability rating increased to 37%, highest among all potential candidates.

Both Jindal and Palin had previously been tapped as the future of the GOP party but have failed to meet those expectations. One has to wonder if Rep. Michele Bachmann (R- Minn.) will succeed in her leadership quest, and whether up-and-comers like Haley, and Tea Party Senators Marco Rubio (R- Fla.) and Rand Paul (R- Ky.) will be able to live up to their expectations in the future. Will they mimic Jindal and Palin and begin a dangerous trend of falling stars within the party.

With flop politicians such as Jindal and Palin, it is clear that the GOP is still searching for a national, unifying leader of their party – one which may not solidify their stature before 2012. Until they do find that unifying leader, there is no doubt that they will continue to see stars fall just as quickly as they rose to the limelight.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Samir Kassam

Samir is currently pursuing a Bachelors of Public Affairs and Policy Management at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada. Concentrating in International Studies, special focus and attention has been given to research on Iran and its relations with the global community.

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