When it comes to the 2012 presidential election, Republicans are “depressed,” says one integral GOP member. Lobbyists tell Politico that instead of asking, “Who do you like?” they ask each other, “Who do we back?” Top Republicans, in fact, believe President Obama will be reelected if no stronger candidates emerge, leading some to plead with Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels to enter the race. (Notes Mike Allen on Politico: “It’s a sign of the GOP’s straits that the party is depending on the bland, wonkish Daniels for an adrenaline boost.”)
Republicans are concerned Mitt Romney will have too many problems debating Obama on health reform, Tim Pawlenty isn’t exciting enough, Jon Huntsman is too moderate, and Newt Gingrich is too polarizing. Meanwhile, desirable possibilities like Jeb Bush and Paul Ryan likely will not run this time around. But if Daniels should enter, as many party elites are begging him to do, it will be easy for him to get his campaign together. Says one longtime GOP consultant, “We have members of both the Bush and McCain teams who have been waiting to see who all’s going to get in.” Click to read why Ruth Marcus also wishes Daniels would run.