On "The O'Reilly Factor" last night guest Dick Morris somehow found a way to disagree with an obvious observation capably posed by the show's host: Doesn't the GOP need a messenger? No, Morris implausibly argued back, it was simply enough to oppose Obama. Seriously?
O'Reilly is obviously right, there is no way the Republicans with their current support rate of 21% are ever going to defeat Obama, good economy or bad, unless they have a candidate of impeccable credentials. He or she must be smart, telegenic, as conservative as Obama is liberal, and someone who can unite all of the various factions of the party. So, let's run down the list:
Mitt Romney: He looks the part, knows economics, is conservative enough to mollify the right wing. If he were a Baptist he'd be president. Sadly for him and the country however, the Mormon thing will not go away and millions of devout Christians simply can't deal with the fact that prayers offered to "heavenly Father" in a moment of crisis may not be reaching the right deity. He'd have a better chance if he were Jewish. It may be the last acceptable prejudice, but it's not going away.
Sarah Palin: She'll be a formidable candidate....in 2016 or 2020. But not now. Not Yet.
Mike Huckabee: At a moment when GOP primary voters were giving him a second look, a devastating Youtube video of Huck offering multiple ways to raise taxes before the Arkansas legislature wiped him out for good. Besides, he's got a great talk show so why spoil a good thing?
Jeb Bush: A shoe-in if his last name were Jones or Smith or Williams or.....
Bobby Jindal: See Sarah Palin answer
Newt Gingrich: There's no doubt he's a smart guy, but he's had two divorces too many for GOP primary voters for whom the circumstances of a divorce are as important if not more important than the divorce itself.
John Huntsman: See Mitt Romney answer
Fred Thompson: Maybe. But he's having too much fun doing radio and has no plans to run again.
Rudy Giuliani: Pro-Choice doesn't work at the top of the ticket in the post-Reagan era.
O'Reilly is right that revolutions, or in this case, counter-revolutions are not led by committees but rather by men (or women) and at the moment the Republicans don't seem to have anybody who can measure up to Barack Obama--except for one person.
South Dakota Senator John Thune is known as "the giant-killer" for defeating former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, but he's also Barack Obama's bizarro twin: they are both tall and lanky, the same age, were elected to the Senate the same year and had, respectively, the most liberal and most conservative voting records in the chamber. With his impeccable conservative credentials already established, Thune won't need to waste precious time the way McCain did "securing his base," but instead he can focus all of his energies on doing two things: explaining conservativism to the the rest of the country and making a play for centrists, independents and minority voters who generally are among the most conservative citizens in the country on social issues.
An Obama-Thune race would be a thriller for political junkies like me: the chance to see an evenly matched race between a smart, attractive, winsome liberal and an articulate, upbeat, charismatic conservative, and the country would benefit because with the two men evenly matched in packaging, the race would be decided on the where the two candidates stand on the issues and where they want to lead the country.
Mark Joseph is a film producer and marketing expert who has worked on the development and marketing of 25 films. His most recent book is The Lion, The Professor & The Movies: Narnia's Journey To The Big Screen.