Monday, July 18, 2011

A “Generic” Republican Challenger

Several of the conservative newsletters are carrying an article this morning touting a resent poll which shows that a “generic” Republican candidate would handily beat President Obama if the 2012 election were to be held now. Personally I find that argument a sign that they are already getting worried.

When you read that poll it also shows how the main Republican candidates currently in the race would do against el Presidente --and not one of them beats him! The reason is simple. All of the Republicans with the strongest showings, except Mitt Romney, are “very” conservative right wing people and that means very right wing on both fiscal and social issues. They are drawing a major part of their support from various elements of the Tea Party organizations around the country. While the Tea Party is definitely a new political force to be reckoned with, they are still a minority (no more than 20-24% of registered voters identify with the Tea Party). They also represent an ideology which is just too conservative and too far to the right for many Americans.

What we are seeing in the polls is a general dissatisfaction with the current Administration and a sincere desire to see a significant change. When asked if they would vote for Obama or a “generic” Republican candidate, those polled choose the Republican –but when asked if they would vote for a specific Republican many of those same voters find the current batch just too conservative for their tastes (especially on social, not fiscal, issues).

As I have pointed out many time before, the key voting block in America are the independent voters who always, always, swing between candidates who are neither extreme left nor extreme right but are closest to the middle. When Obama swept into office he was seen by this group as being closer to the middle than McCain (who did not appear to represent a significant “change” from George Bush). After getting into office, President Obama and his administration was seen as being very left wing. That resulted in a swing by independent voters back to the Republicans and we saw significant Republican victories in the 2010 mid-term elections.

If the Republicans want to beat Obama in 2012, they will have to field a candidate who can gain the support of the independent voters. It is just that simple. The problem for Republicans is that, in order to secure the nomination of the Republican Party, they will need the support of the Tea Party –and that means taking positions which are too conservative for the independents. This will represent a real dilemma for anyone wanting to present a viable challenge to the President.

It is still early and we have yet to see how the field of challengers to President Obama’s reelection bid will shape up. The one who has the best chance of beating him will be the one who can walk the razors edge and be just acceptable enough to both Tea Partiers and Independents –That means fiscally conservative and socially moderate. The only candidate that comes close to that description so far is Mitt Romney and he has other issues to overcome before he can get the Republican nomination. 

--And just to change the subject and put a smile on, here is a great You Tube clip of a dog biting a shark!

Live Long and Prosper.....

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