Published April 25, 2011
The most recent New York Times/CBS News poll finds that the current crop of Republican presidential hopefuls is suffering from an identity crisis.
This was a national poll and was conducted with a total pool of 1,116 registered voters and 525 registered Republicans and has a error rate of plus or minus 4 percentage points with regard to questions geared toward Republicans. The poll finds that up to 90% of GOP voters did not know enough about many of the candidates to offer either a positive or negative opinion.
For instance, they could not offer opinions on former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour on former Utah governor and U.S. ambassador to China Jon Huntsman.
The most troubling though is that 57 percent of Republicans participating could not name a single possible challenger to Obama that would make them enthusiastic and motivated to not only vote but to work in behalf on a candidate.
When asked which potential Republican candidate for president they like best, only 9 percent selected former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney while former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee received a mere 8 percent.
Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was clearly the most well-known of the field of GOP hopefuls however she was viewed the least favorable by a broader field of likely voters. Among Republicans polled however, 50 percent view her favorably compared with 26 percent who view her unfavorably.
The current field of Republican presidential hopefuls suggests that no one has captured the imagination or enthusiasm of the GOP at large.
The GOP has allowed the Tea Party and misfits like Donald Trump to hijack the party.
The fact is that there is no Tea Party. There is no nationwide organization, no centralized leadership, no determined "leader" and no Tea Party candidates. The Republican Party has let the Tea Party divide them and in the long term will do lasting damage to the party if they allow this divisiveness to continue.
A lack of leadership and serious candidates has led to people like Donald Trump to make the Republican Party look like a sideshow. Donald Trump is not serious candidate for president of the United States. He is a media master and public relations machine. He would have never received the wall-to-wall non-stop media attention if there were serious candidates out there who were officially announced Republican candidates and not on still working on "exploratory" exercises.
The Republican Party has allowed itself to get bogged down on non-issues like Obama's birth certificate and Republican lawmakers who seem to have more of an affinity for the non-Party Tea Party than the Party to which they were elected.
As it stands today, it is clear that Republicans lack national leadership, direction and serious and exciting candidates for 2012.
There is no doubt that Obama is just about as vulnerable as any incumbent president could ever be. It is likely, according to the president's own experts that unemployment is likely to exceed eight percent nationally at the time of the re-elect in November of 2012. Gas prices are soaring, housing foreclosures continue at alarming rates, our annual spending is out of control as is our deficit.
Inflation is now a factor in our economic recovery, as we see foodstuffs, and other commodities rise. We are fighting 3 wars with an unclear strategy as to what the short and long-term future is for our involvement and commitment. Our non-discretionary spending and obligations to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security demands presidential leadership and resolve.
And it is likely that the Supreme Court will overturn ObamaCare as being unconstitutional. How is it possible then that Republicans would not want to unite their party and seek out the best possible contender to Obama sooner rather than later?
The longer fringe and divisive "Republican" candidates are out there defining the party the more likely than not that Obama will get re-elected
If Obama were to win it would clearly be by default and not because of the outstanding job he has done to deserve a second term.
The CBS News/New York Times poll should be a wake up call to Republican candidates, the Party, and its members. The party needs to unite and excite its base. Now is the time for real and effective leaders to not merely dip their toe in the pool but take a high dive into it. They need to create a splash that will get everyone wet and let the party and the nation know there is a serious leader who can take on the president and win.
The longer the Party flounders the worse it will get. While the president is traveling the country raising what he hopes will ultimately be over $1 billion dollars in election funds, Republicans do not have one single candidate who has officially announced his or her intention to run for the presidency. The Party is letting people with no chance in winning get all the copy.
At this crucial moment in our history Republicans need a star like Ronald Reagan not a dud like Jane or John Doe.
Bradley A. Blakeman served as deputy assistant to President George W. Bush from 2001-04. He is currently a professor of Politics and Public Policy at Georgetown University and often writes for Fox News Opinion.