A lot of political analysts considered this week to be the informal start of the 2012 presidential campaign, and two right-leaning columnists have polar opposite views on Barack Obama's prospects:
- David Brooks: "It doesn’t take a genius to see that Obama is very likely to be re-elected." He "hit the political sweet spot" with this week's budget speech, which was filled with "vague but well-intentioned policies." Brooks' ideal solution involves a combination of the Obama and Paul Ryan plans, but he sees that as politically impossible. Instead, "we’re going to have an election featuring these rival viewpoints, and Obama will win easily." Read his column in full at the New York Times.
- Peggy Noonan: That speech was "intellectually incoherent." Obama "can be taken, and his adversaries haven't even noticed. In fact, he will likely lose in 2012." His only hope is that the GOP nominates "someone strange, extreme, or barely qualified." For Rebublicans, it's time to "be serious," she advises. "If they recruit and support candidates who can speak to the entire country, who have serious experience and accomplishments, who are grounded and credible, then they will win centrist support." The White House will follow. Read her column in full at the Wall Street Journal.