But sometimes you just have to go to Pawtucket and bring up the kids, and if this isn’t one of those times, then when is? Is any principled conservative outside Iowa going to argue that Mike Huckabee is the one we’ve been waiting for? A brilliant but baggage-laden retread like Newt Gingrich, whom Obama would defeat in a Reaganesque landslide? Or even the divine Sarah, who would have the diminished but still formidable message might of the MSM arrayed against her?
It’s also true that every time a fresh new face appears on the horizon, our side tends to rush toward him or her like teenagers at a rock star, viz. the “Palin–Brown” boomlet after the upset in Massachusetts last year. Still, that bespeaks a deep uneasiness about the current lineup, no?
The key to defeating Obama in the next election is not seniority or position papers or PACs: It’s an ability and willingness to take the fight to the other side. As I’ve written here before, despite his manufactured reputation for eloquence, Obama is actually a very poor public speaker. He has trouble thinking on his feet or speaking extemporaneously, and has little ability to work with an indifferent or hostile audience. His is not the power of persuasion, but the power of the preacher thrilling the converted in the choir loft. Running for office is the only thing he knows how to do, and while he’s very good at it, he has nothing else to fall back on. Certainly not a record of accomplishment.
In short, Obama is a presidential Potemkin Village, with the media propping up his facade. Outwardly, he appears as formidable as Constantinople at the height of the Byzantine Empire, but in reality he’s more like Gertrude Stein’s Oakland in 1937: there’s no there there. Our Young Turks — Christie, Rubio, Ryan, Cantor, Bachmann, and especially Allen West – through a combination of fearlessness and command of the facts, would make short work of the Punahou Kid in any debates, leaving him thoroughly exposed.
Tactically and strategically, the Republicans would still have to mount an all-out Rovian ground game and do all that other messy electoral stuff that it takes to win elections in the modern era. That’s what competent campaign managers are for.
But it starts at the top, with a will to win. Otherwise, if it’s a proven loser the GOP wants, they might as well just run McCain again, and be done with it. Maybe Lindsey Graham could be his running mate. The media would love them, even if the voters didn’t.