Politics tends to have a way of being predictable. Rarely are the most well-connected people in D.C. surprised by anything that goes on.
Part of the reason is because most things are brokered in some form or fashion. Everything is poll-tested and pre-determined.
So when someone as smart, connected and seasoned as Peggy Noonan comes up with little in the way of answers for the GOP race, you know the state of affairs has to be confounding.
Depending on whether you believe Politico or Gallup, Mitt Romney is either 10 points behind or in a dead heat with President Obama.
Things are even stranger for Rick Santorum, who is either 11 points behind or 3 points up on President Obama.
I think either could win the nomination just as either could beat President Obama.
Following primaries, parties tend to get behind candidates and the real nitty-gritty of the election cycle gets going. For now, President Obama can cherry pick the issues he wants to address because he’s not campaigning against anyone yet.
He can call out the idiotic comments made by one candidate and paint the entire GOP field with its ignorant strokes.
We’ll know much more following Super Tuesday, but Newt Gingrich looks finished. Ron Paul has actually gained some footing and will likely run third party, while Santorum has weathered the storm as the “conservative non-Romney” candidate, something his predecessors in that category couldn’t do.
The President’s approval ratings are climbing as economic indicators rise as well. Unfortunately for the American consumers and for Obama, the recovery isn’t here in full, as many believe this is only a temporary respite from another serious dip.
Gas prices are rising to historic marks, the threat of unconscionably massive tax increases on businesses are set to hit in 2013 (You’ll hear more about this in the coming weeks), and unemployment still won’t be below 8% come election time.
In other words, any kind of GOP candidate should be able to beat Obama. It’s just that at this point, most people thought we’d have a candidate by now. Either Mitt Romney would have been able to put some distance between him and his opponents, or another conservative would have gotten into the race to energize the base.
Neither has happened and the Republican party is left with one of the most contested primaries in recent memory.
Hardening a candidate to face the political race against Obama is one thing, but muddying the water by throwing uppercuts one candidate to the other candidate isn’t helping the Republican image.
Some, including Rush Limbaugh, have insisted the race is good for the candidates. The truth is, nobody knows.
Unlike the usual political game, this one remains very much in doubt.