The belief in many quarters is that the Republican presidential contenders constitute a weak field. I don’t share this view; I think the announced GOP candidates, as a group, are solid representatives of their party. But let’s turn the question around: how strong is the Democratic field?
At present, it consists of one man–Barack Obama–and the American people have had about enough of him. Yesterday’s Rasmussen survey found that likely voters prefer a generic Republican over President Obama by 45-43. And that is no fluke; the numbers have been in the same range for some months. Similarly, voters are slightly more likely to call themselves Republicans than Democrats.
It is not unreasonable to expect that a “generic” Republican whom voters do not yet know and who has no skeletons in his closet–Tim Pawlenty, or even Mitt Romney–will be able to improve on those numbers. Whereas it is hard to see just how Obama can better his standing, given that the economy is tanking and Seal Team Six has already made its contribution.
And the Dems have no hope of reinforcements. It may be too late for another candidate to challenge Obama, and, in any event, such challenges tend to be the prelude to a losing campaign. So it seems to me that the Republicans have a field that is likely to yield a strong candidate who already stands even with President Obama, while, if the economy doesn’t improve greatly over the next year, voters are likely to desert Obama’s sinking ship in droves.
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