Why are so many Republicans hesitant to jump into the Presidential race? The answer is simple. They know that President Barack Obama will get re-elect. This election’s Republican nominee will be a “sacrificial lamb” for 2012. The real favorites and heavy hitters will not come out until 2016. Then is when we will see the likes of Governors Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal and, possibly, Jeb Bush. By that time, hopefully the economy will be doing better, the momentum of the Tea Party will have slowed and they will not have to contend with going head to head with an incumbent.
Now, understand that this is not because President Obama is viewed so favorably. He should be very vulnerable but he isn’t and won’t be, because he has governed more like a moderate Republican than a moderate or liberal Democrat. To be to the right of Obama, at this point, is a blatant catering to a far right wing agenda which the independent voter will not go for. He will not get any challenges from the left even though he has not shown himself to be a progressive or liberal. This, to a certain extent, handicaps the general election in his favor.
In addition, the Republican candidate will have to navigate through a treacherous strait. He or she will be caught between negotiating the proverbial “rock”, which is the Tea Party faction, in the primaries and then, afterwards, be able to appeal to the figurative “hard place”, which is the independent voter, in the general election.
None of the potential candidates have presented realistic plans on getting the economy back on track. We have yet to hear a viable and factually believable plan for job creation. That is the real reason why we are hearing so much about the deficit, which both parties are equally responsible for creating and exacerbating. It is because there is no plan to put people back to work.
However, high soaring rhetoric abounds on how they seek to reduce the size of government. Do they not realize that when we trim the size of government, we cut jobs? These jobs do not magically and instantaneously become private sector jobs. So, in effect, it is being advertised that the unemployment rate will spike after all of the so called “deep and painful” cuts to government spending.
What will they have to talk about . . . lowering taxes? Despite the spin on cable news, federal taxes over the course of the last three years, relative to the GDP, have been at historic lows! However, tax receipts has also taken a sharp dip; down roughly 13% this year compared to 2008 receipts.
Will they talk about expanding oil exploration? President Obama has already worked to take the wind out of those sails. So therefore, it is back to the old faithful hot button issues. Look for such topics as family values, abortion, immigration, gay rights and, possibly, gun control to be at the forefront of the debate to stoke emotions and shore up the evangelical voting bloc.
In 2012, the excitement will be in the House and Senate races. There will not be a whole lot of excitement in the Presidential race. The House and Senate races will be exciting because it will be up to the Democrats to show and distinguish themselves not as Republican light but Democrats. They will need to show their base that they have a plan and a spine; and are not a party of capitulators and surrenderists. The Republicans, on the other hand, will be looking to solidify the notion that they have lived up to the proclaimed “mandate” that brought them to power in the House. To the extent of how these two narratives play out will be the crux of the excitement in the 2012 elections.