Richard Adams (The UK Guardian): …. Compared with the same stage in 2007, when the presidential primary season was running at full steam, 2011 is a flat tire. But it’s not just the lack of activity – the Republican candidates being touted are a collection of has-beens, nobodies and deadbeats, several of them barely household names in their own households. And those are the most electable ones.
Which is strange because the Republican party has just enjoyed an election triumph in the 2010 midterm elections that would suggest a party surging towards the 2012 contest. Instead, it’s more like the Simpsons parody of the football world cup finals: “This match will determine once and for all which nation is the greatest on earth – Mexico or Portugal!”
So far, the 2012 primaries will determine once and for all who is the greatest Republican presidential candidate: Tim Pawlenty or Mitch Daniels?
Mitch who? Exactly. This Republican crop of candidates is a veritable “Who’s that?” of American politics.
Despite all that, talking to intelligent Republicans finds them brimming with enthusiasm for their party’s candidates. It’s a fantastic field, they insist – for 2016. Yes, they are very excited about the 2016 presidential elections, and reel off a list of top-notch candidates: Marco Rubio, Rick Perry, Scott Walker, David Petraeus, Chris Christie, even Jeb Bush. Ask them about the 2012 candidates and they go quiet or start sighing….
…There’s the 2008 retreads, Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee. One has money, tons of baggage and zero charisma. The other has zero money, tons of baggage and folksy charm. There’s the retreaded retread, Newt Gingrich. There’s the no-hopers, Rick Santorum (defeated senator, swivel-eyed) and Michele Bachman (like Sarah Palin but without the gravitas). Ron Paul, anyone? And it’s not worth mentioning Donald Trump…..
NY Daily News: Nineteen months is a millennium in politics, but today’s smart money says Barack Obama will be tough to beat in 2012 – if the economy continues to mend …it’s amazing how many Republican mandarins privately brood about their chances of unseating Obama only five months after voters decisively repudiated him in the November midterms. “We have a far better chance of taking back the Senate than taking back the White House,” a gloomy party strategist told the Daily News.
Last month, GOP bigwigs in town for the annual Gridiron Club media dinner reached a sobering consensus: The slate of Republican contenders for 2012 is unusually lame. The best of the least, ex-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, is suspect with the Republican base. One prominent party thinker believes only ex-Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty has any chance of beating Obama – and rates Pawlenty’s prospects as weak. The pros know Tea Party darlings like Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann have Obama aides salivating.
…”Every lesson that needed to be learned from last November has been learned,” a top Obama counselor said.
Strategically, Democratic and GOP strategists alike calculate that African-American and Latino voters will stick with Obama regardless. Given the Hispanic population growth surge, that means millions more voters Obama didn’t have last time. A key Republican analyst also predicts the youth vote, which enthusiastically backed Obama in 2008 but stayed home last fall, will return in 2012. “He can’t win without kids, and he’ll bring them back out this time,” he said.
…”It’s advantage Obama,” said Southern Methodist University political scientist Cal Jillson. “Unless the economy gets worse and the Republicans put up a stronger person, he’s in pretty good shape.”