GOP race not down to Romney and Perry

GOP presidential candidates debate on September 7. Roland Martin notes there are many more than two candidates.

Story highlights

  • Roland Martin says journalists falsely narrow the GOP field
  • Perry, Romney aren't the only candidates in the running, Martin says
  • Voters should be allowed to decide the winner, not the pundits, he says
There are times when even I want to round up as many members of the media as I can, put them in a Noah-type ark, set them off to sail and hope to never see them again.
Watching, listening and reading all the media reports about the GOP nomination essentially being a two-man race between former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry is the reason my blood is boiling.
Here we sit four months before the first ballot is cast, and already my comrades in the media have thrown everyone else overboard and declared that the race is really between these two.
Rep. Michele Bachmann's win in the Ames Straw Poll, which is really a bought and paid for contest, seems like it took place three years ago, rather than less than a month ago.
The conventional wisdom says that Romney has been the front-runner since he got into the race, has an economics background and can raise a lot of money. Then guess who comes with a Texas-size swagger? Gov. Perry. He comes from a big state, has access to big bucks, has movie star looks and talks a big game.
Uh, oh! That's it! We now have our perfect matchup.
Really?
Look, I get the polls. And yes, it could come down to those two. But our actions are utterly shameful when we choose to negate every other candidate solely because we have determined that they can't be elected.
Bachmann? Too crazy. Rep. Ron Paul? A space cadet. Newt Gingrich? A retread. Jon Huntsman? Too moderate. Rick Santorum? Too preachy.
The problems with these predetermined winners and losers is that our coverage is slanted toward those who we think stand the best chance at winning, thereby depriving any other candidate the opportunity to put their message forward.
The danger we have today is that there are so many more sources covering politics that the echo chamber gets so loud the folks who really matter -- the voters -- get drowned out by the all-knowing sages in Washington.
A lot can happen in four months. All the candidates will be put through the wringer, and it's the voters' choice to sift through the madness and make an informed decision.
I just don't believe we are helping this process by narrowing the field with our own actions and then continuing this ridiculous game of hype to try to draft others into the race.
Seriously, why do we even bother asking former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani if he's going to run? Folks, the man ran one of the worst campaigns in eons in 2008. If it wasn't for former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson, Giuliani would have earned the worst of the worst.
We continue to chase Sarah Palin around the country, even if she's just stopping by a museum. Our actions have become atrocious.
Too many in the media want to make their status more important than it is. And it is clear that this decision to narrow the GOP field fits our agenda, not that of the people.
If one thing 2008 told us with the election of President Barack Obama, it is to throw conventional wisdom out the window. Maybe the only way we do that is throw out all these professional Washington political reporters and commentators who make it more about them than the American voter.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Roland Martin.