Let me preface this by saying that I am no fan of Barack Obama. I believe that he has largely failed as president and that he was unqualified for such high office in the first place. Despite his Harvard University credentials and charismatic style in speechmaking, he is simply in over his head in the White House.
Having said that, I still think that Obama will easily win re-election in the 2012 presidential race.
This prediction has less to do with Obama’s accomplishments (or lack thereof) and more to do with the poor quality of Republican Presidential candidates.
The GOP field looks like a rogue’s gallery of losers to me. When Newt Gingrich is one of the top prospects, you know the Republicans are in deep trouble.
Although I live in a city (New York) that is heavily Democratic, I have a number of Republican friends and consider myself more of a Republican than Democrat. But none of them (nor I) have any excitement at all for what the GOP is offering in this election.
Mitt Romney seems to inspire either apathy or derision. He is a hedge fund billionaire who seems absolutely desperate to become president – while having no familiarity at all with the day-to-day realities of millions of struggling Americans.
Infamous for his flip-flops of various political issues, Romney seems to have no core ideology whatsoever. The only thing he has going for him (besides a huge treasure chest of cash) is that he “looks” more like a statesman than any of his fellow candidates.
Gingrich carries so much negative baggage that it’s amazing he is even considered a serous candidate. He would appear to be exactly what the right-wing elements of the GOP detest the most -- a multi-decade Washington insider who has a led a less-than-savory personal life.
Newt (whom I understand is quite smart) also has an abrasive personality and is utterly lacking in charm or charisma. His public speeches sound more like tirades and exercise in finger-pointing rather than a call to unite his supporters.
Michelle Bachman (who never had any real shot to get the nomination anyway) seems to be completely unaquainted with history and possesses no intellect whatsoever. The fact that such a woman has come so far in this process is yet another indication of how the GOP has deteriorated.
Rick Perry (who was actually the front-runner at one point) has stumbled so often in the debates and has made so many verbal gaffes that his chances for the presidency appear permanently doomed.
Herman Cain’s candidacy was of course torpedoed by repeated accusations of sexual harassment by various women (not that the Pizza godfather had a realistic chance to get the presidential nod anyway).
Sarah Palin, well, she seems to have vanished into thin air after it was revealed she had a one-night stand with Glen Rice, the former NBA star. (Palin may still have a large core of supporters, but it appears she has nonetheless missed her window of opportunity for seeking the highest office in the land).
Ron Paul (who, admittedly, boasts a rabid and passionate following) is nonetheless more of a professional crackpot than a legitimate presidential candidate. The elderly Texas congressman espouses such extremist (and frankly absurd) policies that he is doomed to the dustbin of history.
Have I left out anyone? Oh, Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman. Yawn.
The lack of a quality candidate reflects a deep cancer within the Republican Party – it is hopelessly fractured and has inspired deep wells of hostility from much of the U.S. public who associate the GOP with protecting corporate excesses and Wall Street (even though Obama and many top Democrats are also deeply in the pockets of big business).
The rise of the Tea Party, for instance, has forced many moderate Republican lawmakers to adopt a more right-wing stance on social issues like abortion and homosexuality. But this is actually nothing new – thirty years ago, the emergence of Evangelical Christians (as exemplified by Reverend Jerry Falwell and others) compelled Ronald Reagan to sound like a Bible-thumper – when he had never shown such religious zeal in his long political career in California.
Indeed, Reagan probably could not have won the 1980 election without the support of Christian Conservatives – and the GOP has been beholden to them ever since.
I know many Republicans who detest the Tea Party as well as the Evangelicals – they believe these groups have “hijacked” the party and will likely make it impossible for the GOP to attract a broad national constituency.
The classic Republican – who espoused low taxes, strong defense and limited government regulations – probably disappeared with Nelson Rockefeller and Barry Goldwater.
The GOP is in dire trouble – they have no one who can attract a large, national base of supporters, nor do they possess a cogent political platform.
As such, the 2012 election will be handed over to Barack Obama on a silver plate. Despite Obama's sinking popularity ratings and the disenchantment many of his supporters feel, these Democrat voters have no other choice but to vote for him. I doubt many of them will switch sides in the election.
The Republicans best hope is to sacrifice 2012 and wait until 2016 when a new generation of GOP luminaries emerge for possible candidacy -- including New Jersey governor Chris Christie and Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal.