The struggle to find the next Republican presidential candidate limps on today as ten states vote for their man on this Super Tuesday. Watching from across the waters, one of the big issues, it seems to me, is about identity. Who are they, really?
A key issue for Mitt Romney, the wealthy frontrunner, is that some of his statements on policy do not reflect what he has said in the past and the fading star Newt Gingrich too has been accused of hypocrisy and double standards. One of the reasons, perhaps, why Rick Santorum and Ron Paul are still in the race is because they have clearly defined, uncompromising views which appeal to the strong conservative and libertarian views of many in the US. Additionally, they stand apart from their rivals because they have a maverick approach in their approach, appearance, and independence. They are not politician clones, and this appeals to Americans tired of spin and self-service.
While conveying a message is important, the question of who these men are, really, is proving an interesting issue both for the Republican selection now and the presidential election in November. When President Obama was voted into office, the Americans who voted for him thought they knew their new President, but he has disappointed many as his rhetoric failed to deliver what was, directly or indirectly, promised, however unreasonable pragmatists would describe these expectations.
As an onlooker, I see a desire for inspirational leadership in a person that can be trusted to be true to his word, someone who will keep them safe. They want to know, this time, what and who they are getting when they vote. It will be fascinating, this Super Tuesday, to see how far a well-funded campaign and calculated arguments win over an approach of comparative simplicity and directness but the key question is still, who are they, really?