Republicans, we’ve got a problem. Or better said, boy, do we have an opportunity!
All our putative frontrunners (ever narrowing) are either retreads, dull, old, polarizing, odd, not trustworthy, not ready, or not telegenic. They have excess baggage, brain deficits, name recognition challenges, peculiar wives, policy mistakes, even less experience than Obama had in 2008, and/or shortages of charisma. Even so, many people — if not all Republicans and the majority of independents — gladly would vote for these candidates over the unpopular Obama any day of the week; yet, despite the fact that this current president is eminently beatable, no new, exciting face has yet stepped forward to claim the crown, or to electrify the crowd.
And why ever not? Two recent polls show Obama to be nearly dead in the water. The numbers from these polls, for an incumbent, are devastatingly ominous. The Hill newspaper’s recent poll shows that nearly half of American voters (46 percent) say they feel worse off than they did a year ago. And then the Fox News poll revealed that enormous numbers of Republicans (82 percent) and independents (71 percent) think the country is now weaker than it was five years ago.
What opposition candidate would not want to jump into this slam dunk? America is crying out for a candidate to bring true (as my friend Ruth King says)…change and hope.
Republicans are disappointed too. A pollster said recently that 75% of the GOP base is unhappy with its candidate selection for 2012. But what should Republicans do? First, we’ll have to get over our pesky habit of choosing the “next guy in line,” journeymen who masquerade as stars. Folks like lukewarm Bob Dole in 1996 and lukecold John McCain in 2008, who naturally enough went down to defeat to electoral steamrollers like Bubba the Philanderer and The Stranger With No Background — candidates who, in their own right, would otherwise have been truly lousy choices. We can’t afford to repeat this senseless pattern.