Why don't you consider blogging on this: since once Obama steals the deficit issue from the Republicans (whether or not it is via Stockholm, it will be like Clinton stealing the issues of welfare reform and other things to grab the center and keep the left) there is no chance for a Republican presidential nominee, so why bother to spend the money, alienate the population, fill the air waves, and come up a loser? Is it only because of tradition? Do you have a campaign so that you get money and publicity for Congressional and Senate contests? Do you do it to raise the money? Does it help you impact the state elections? Do those things balance out being a losing party on the national level with perhaps less than 40% of the vote?Since I have been blogging along about how it is going to be hard to beat President Obama in 2012, this seems to be a natural follow-up.
The first thing to remember is that in politics the half-life of a political memory is 90 days and six months is a lifetime. While "The Donald" may be in the news today, who will remember that he was making Presidential noises come Christmas?
There is little doubt that if President Obama were to pull a President Clinton, as Lance suggests, he would have a safe ride back into the White House. On the other hand, President G H W Bush looked to be in good shape going into the 1992 campaign. His son, George W Bush, not so much. We see how those campaigns came out.
Incumbency has its advantages and is usually the way to bet. The Runyonesque answer is that President Obama will be returned to office in 2012. On the other hand, it is worth looking for those little discontinuities that could disrupt that path to re-election. There is the economy. There is the budget and the deficit (and debt). There is Libya. There is the whole Israel, Hamas, Hezbollah, Egypt, Syria thing. There is North Korea. There is the immigration issue. None of them should be a problem, but, each could pose a problem if it got out of control.
While the Republican Party didn't do all that well in 2008, and the McCain/Palin ticket went down in flames (365 to 173 in the electoral college and 53% to 46% in the popular vote), it did provide work for operatives and also experience for the folks just breaking into Republican politics. Building experience for the next election seemed worth while then and it does now. In the 2010 election the Republicans did modestly well. People were elected; a House changed hands; States changed hands. All of this is good stuff.
Yes, the Republicans will spend tens of millions of dollars in 2012 and probably come up empty handed, but to not spend that money, to abandon the field of battle, would be to set the party back quite a bit. And, more important, it would invite others to step forward.
The real question has to do with if the Republican Party has exhausted its ability to provide a meaningful and united view of the future. Put another way, is the Republican Party of today the Whig Party of 1860? I don't think so, but it is worth considering.
So, while I do think the Republicans should mount a campaign for the White House, and I don't mind if they nominate a woman for the job, I am not convinced that 2012 will be a Republican year. However, to abandon the playing field will be to invite some other group to step up and assume the mantel of Loyal Opposition.
Regards — Cliff