Republican field has candidates who can beat Obama

PHOENIX - MAY 15:  Former Massachusetts Gov. M...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
Jay Costs:

The conventional wisdom is that the emerging Republican field for 2012 is a very weak one. However, like so much else in the topsy-turvy age of Obama, the conventional wisdom on this one is completely upside down. The idea of a weak GOP field is almost as ridiculous as a debate about a fifty-year-old birth certificate just as the economic recovery comes grinding to a halt. Almost.

In fact, Obama and the Democrats have good reason to worry about the emerging Republican field. Here are four big reasons why.

(For background, check out this analysis I wrote a few weeks ago about why we should ignore the early polls on the GOP nomination battle, as well as this one on why it’s normal not to have a “perfect” candidate in the field.)

1. The GOP has several serious candidates. At the moment, most of the oxygen in the nomination battle is being sucked up by less-than-viable candidates, above all Donald Trump. However, there are at least four serious contenders either in the field or looking likely to enter it: Mitch Daniels, Jon Huntsman, Tim Pawlenty, and Mitt Romney all bring a few qualities to the table that would serve them well in the general election. For starters, they’re all governors, meaning their résumés involve running state governments rather than getting bogged down in the ideological divisiveness of Congress. Daniels, Pawlenty, and Romney have all demonstrated crossover appeal – with Pawlenty and Romney winning in historically Democratic states, and Daniels winning reelection in 2008 in Indiana even as Obama carried the state. As for Huntsman’s appeal, Obama was worried enough about it to ship him off to China in 2009.

There is more.

There have been a lot of distractions, but most of the issues favor Republicans who can run against Obama's failed energy policies that have driven up the cost of transportation.  Then there is his reckless spending and the health care law that half the country despises.  Obama has a lot he has to defend and so his efforts look more like demagoguery that reasoned argument.  That may appeal to liberals, but they are only about 20 percent of the population.
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