Is the Republican Party struggling to find a viable candidate for the 2012 presidential election? I do believe that this might be the case. According to Ross Douthat, a New York Times Op-Ed writer, “the Republican Party has been unable to find a candidate for the White House in 2012 who inspires anything but weary resignation from its voters.” I was actually thinking about this since of the beginning of the Republican Presidential primary campaigning. Is it a coincidence that, despite the multiple economic challenges that Americans are facing, the Democratic Party seems to be in good shape? And has Republican instability bolstered the president’s confidence? Affirmation might be found in Maureen Dowd‘s New York Times article “Showtime at the Apollo”. Dowd writes: “for eight seconds, we saw the president we had craved for three years: cool, joyous, funny, and connected.”
Barack Obama’s happiest and funniest appearance, at a fund-raiser at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, included an imitation of Al Green singing “I, I’m so in love with you.” After all the Republican opposition the President has faced during his three years in office, the President can only be happy to see the Republican presidential contenders attacking each other as they compete for their party’s nomination.
According to Thomas Friedman’s Op-Ed, “American Voters: Still Up for Grabs”, “the Washington Post-ABC News poll released on Friday found that two-thirds of Americans would consider voting for a third-party presidential candidate, while 48 percent definitely wanted a third party in the race.” Friedman continues, Christina Romer, the former chairwoman of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, told the New York Times on Dec. 31, 2011, who she would like to vote for and why. Romer described her personal four-part agenda for a great candidate. One part of the four, she said, is “I want to vote for a candidate who is committed to reforming taxes, and cutting spending, in a fair way. The rich must pay more, but everyone has to pay something. We are all in this together.” According to Romer, any candidate who is focused on her four-part agenda will win. I do like what Romer pointed out. In fact, Romer’s four-part agenda reflects Candidate Obama’s focus very well. Can we expect he might act upon this agenda more effectively, if elected to a second term?
At this point, the Republican Party does not have a chance of meeting Romer’s criteria and President Obama is still in great shape, based on polls. That might be the reason why he is happy and funny, after three very difficult years in office. However, victory for Obama is not a given. Dowd summarizes Obama’s biggest challenge in her Op-Ed: “The man who came to Washington on a wave of euphoria has had a presidency with all the joy of a root canal, dragged down by W.’s recklessness and his own inability to read America’s panic and its thirst for a strong leader.”