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Republicans Are Wrong to Fear Obama in 2012

By April 4, 2011

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Surprising no one, President Obama announced today his intention to run for reelection in 2012, making him the first formally declared 2012 presidential candidate. No viable Democratic opponent is expected to run against the President.

Only one Republican, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, has formed a 2012 presidential exploratory committee. Politicos presume that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will also be a candidate for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, as will be Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Widespread perception is that Republicans are fearful of running against Barack Obama... that "Obama will be hard to beat." Republican strategist Karl "Bush's Brain" Rove recently wrote, "Republicans underestimate President Obama at their own peril."

But Republicans are wrong to fear Obama in 2012. I honestly have little idea why Republicans are afraid of the President's prospects in 2012. Sure, he has formidable political skills, and can deliver a terrific speech. But...

  • the first two years of Obama's administration have left a huge portion of his supporters deeply disillusioned;
  • the dithering economy remains dismal for Americans who are not wealthy, and
  • the country is now mired in not two, but three international conflicts or occupations.

Mind you, I'm voting for Obama, barring unimaginable developments. For me, having a Democrat in the White House is vastly preferable to having any Tea Party-fearing Republican occupying the Oval Office.

But I strongly believe that Obama is beatable in 2012. The President must mend fences with certain crucial constituencies, or he'll surely lose the election:

Even if he successfully re-woos Latinos and college students back into his fawning fold, President Obama must motivate two other vital groups to flock to the polls in droves and vote for him: liberals who feel letdown by Obama's long string of broken 2008 promises, and Independents who are appalled by Tea Party Republican extremism.

I believe Obama will have an easier time in 2012 attracting support from Independents than he will from disenchanted Democrats. For many liberals, not being the worst alternative on the ballot isn't good enough reason to vote for Obama.

I fear that many Democrats could stay home in 2012. President Mitt Romney would be thrilled and grateful to them.

Comments

April 5, 2011 at 3:42 pm
(1) RealTime53 says:

Hi Deborah –

“Widespread perception is that Republicans are fearful of running against Barack Obama… that “Obama will be hard to beat.” ”

Let’s see. The last unbeatable candidate was George H.W. Bush, fresh from a GW1 victory. A good man, I’ve always faintly regretted not voting for him.

This begs the question, who then would be this political season’s Republican Bill Clinton? Your implication is Mitt Romney. Not a bad bet. In normal times, he might be considered ‘the next guy in line’ — the nominal Republican standard bearer. Like Clinton, he is plastic beyond belief, easily bending to the will of the constituents. He is a moderate and the most likely Republican Presidential candidate to win a general election.

However, Mitt has issues with the Christianist base of his party, who consider his Mormonism not even Christian. He would have to run fast from his RomneyCare record, passed while Governor of Massachusetts. Finally, as a moderate, former Democrat, and plastic to his hair — he would have to convince a large portion of Republican primary voters that he isn’t a RINO. A daunting task, at best.

Questions abound. Romney is the only non-FOXNews contributer amongst the top five. Who does FOXNews endorse? Surely one of their own. I’ve read that the White House believes that Mike Huckabee will be the candidate. What does Sarah, Queen of the Tundra do? If she runs, she could logically be called ‘the next guy in line’. She has strong, enthusiastic support. She could win the nomination. If she doesn’t run, her endorsement could be key to garnering the nomination for a lesser candidate.

FWIW, I don’t believe that there will be an enthusiasm gap this political season. The reason? One word. Wisconsin.

April 5, 2011 at 8:57 pm
(2) Nelda Mohr says:

Any liberal who feels lukewarm about working to reelect President Obama should remember 1980. President Carter disappointed liberals. He even faced a primary challenge from Ted Kennedy. And what was the result of liberal disinterest in the election? Ronald Reagan and a thirty year Republican attack on the foundations of a just society. Why is our national debt so enormous? Because we did not elect a Democrat in 1980. Why are our schools underfunded? Because we did not elect a Democrat in 1980. Why don’t we have a single payer health system today? Because we did not elect a Democrat in 1980. Why aren’t the super wealthy paying their fair share of taxes? You know the answer. Work to reelect Obama and throw the Republicans out of Congress.

April 12, 2011 at 8:35 pm
(3) nina says:

I like Obama, but if you really want the Dems to win:

“Hillary Clinton / Bill Richardson (vp)” in 2012 (the womens vote & the hispanic vote!!)

Pass-the-word!

April 15, 2011 at 11:08 pm
(4) UVA2010 says:

Anybody that wants more taxes before we cut the gross wasted money and failed programs is not a friend of mine!!

I’m really against government employees and all the regulations and fees my employees have to pay. Irrigation systems have to be inspected every year in VA! What a crock!

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