Republican leaders are now convinced that without a stronger candidate, President Obama will easily cruise to reelection in 2012.
A Politico story on Mitch Daniels today began with this sentence, “Top Republicans are increasingly convinced that President Barack Obama will be easily reelected if stronger GOP contenders do not emerge.”
I suspect that Republicans are begging Mitch Daniels to get in the race for no other reason than to at least give Mitt Romney a credible challenger. Daniels is as interesting and exciting as watching paint dry, but his candidacy would represent a serious upgrade to the current 2012 GOP field. The truth is that the dull Daniels won’t beat Obama, but at least he won’t embarrass the party.
Hurting the entire party is exactly what the GOP leadership is dreading with any of these current Republican candidates. Top Republicans are coming to the realization that the prospect of enticing a top tier candidate into the race is looking grim, so they are trying to find a candidate who can at least hold the base and not cost them anything more than the presidency.
None of the current candidates motivates the base, and Mitt Romney could actually depress Republican turnout if he wins the nomination. The only potential candidate who could fire up the base in a race against Obama is Sarah Palin, but she is reviled to such a degree outside of the GOP that her name atop the ticket would boost turnout among Democrats and Independents who despise her. Palin would be an unmitigated disaster for Republicans at all levels in every race.
Palin’s own employer, Fox News, has dismissed her as a potential candidate by labeling her the queen kingmaker of 2012. Sarah Palin’s standing is so poor that new PPP survey found that she would lose a general election match up to Dennis Kucinich, 43%-36%. Sarah Palin is the one Republican with national stature to motivate the base and raise money. She would also hand her party a debilitating defeat in 2012.
If the GOP couldn’t beat Obama with McCain at the top of the ticket in 2008, they know they have no chance with Mitt Romney or any of the other Not Ready for Prime Time Players guiding the ship in 2012.
Unless they can convince someone exciting to enter the race for their nomination by the end of the summer, it looks like Republicans are going to shift their resources to congressional races, throw in the towel early and concede the reelection of Barack Obama.
Republicans were probably never going to beat Obama in 2012, but who would have guessed that they might not even try.