Saturday, December 11, 2010


Apparently there are advantages to being a potential 2012 Republican presidential candidate who isn't incessantly yammering away on Fox or attracting media attention in other ways:

President Barack Obama's approval ratings have sunk to the lowest level of his presidency, so low that he'd lose the White House to Republican Mitt Romney if the election were held today, according to a new McClatchy-Marist poll.

... A hypothetical 2012 matchup showed him getting the support of 44 percent of registered voters and Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, getting 46 percent.

Obama now is running slightly ahead of Republican former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, drawing 47 percent to Huckabee's 43 percent....

He'd easily defeat Republican former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, however. He'd get 52 percent of registered voters and she'd get 40 percent, if the election were held today....

So I guess it's not a problem that Romney's book is mired at #17,731 at Amazon, which is trying to unload it at a shelf-clearing 60% off. Sales of Palin's book, by contrast, may be (as The Washington Post put it) lackluster, but only by Palin standards: she's at #32 at Amazon, and she and the brood are, of course, all over TV, radio, Facebook, Twitter, and every gossip site and supermarket checkout magazine in America. And yet Obama (who's at 42%/50% approval/disapproval in the poll, with plummeting, sub-70% approval among liberals) cleans her clock by double digits.

Romney beats Obama because he does well among moderates, beating the president 47%/39%. Hmmm ... Romney's not on Fox, Romney does well among moderates -- coincidence?

I actually think Romney could get the nomination by winning the votes of the GOP's center-right remnant while the rest of the contenders try to out-wingnut one another and split the vote. But I think that would just lead to a vote-siphoning purist/teabag third-party challenge, from someone like Tancredo (or --and hold on to your hats for a really preposterous prediction, which I make because it now seems impossible to underestimate this country's craziness -- Christine O'Donnell). So I don't know if the Mittster can really win.

In any case, his absence from the limelight does seem to be making America's heart grow fonder. Maybe it's not the apparent lack of ideological Foxist harangues that are doing this -- maybe America just likes the fact that we never see him at all.

And another thought -- is the new guy who's a blank slate, the guy in whom we see what we want to see, on whom we project our own ideas and beliefs -- is that guy, the new Barack Obama, Mitt Romney? Good grief.


UPDATE: A few hours after writing this, I'm thinking: Was I nuts? Christine O'Donnell?

But truthfully, don't you think she thinks she should be president someday? Is it really so hard to imagine her wanting to run? And don't you think she'd enjoy a presidential campaign -- the interviews, the opportunities to hold forth, the glad-handing and baby-kissing, the possibility of being taken seriously -- more than just about anyone?

Yeah, it's highly unlikely that she'll do this in two years. But if the field boils down to Romney and Obama (along with, inevitably Nader, and perhaps Bloomberg or a Bloomberg sock puppet), don't you think some minor party that's been on the ballot for years but gone all but unnoticed -- some group with a name like the Freedom Party or the Eagle Party or the Constitution Party or whatever -- will find it unusually easy to recruit some semi-major name, some teabag hero or heroine, and that (in this environment) that person could very well pull in 1% or 2% of the vote in November, even if (or perhaps especially if) he or she is completely nuts?

So, OK, not O'Donnell. Joe the Plumber, maybe. Or Joe Miller. Or someone even loopier.

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