Take Us To Our Leader

A very interesting piece in the National Journal today by Bill Schneider starts off with this bold statement:

Republicans don’t have a 2010 problem. They have a 2012 problem.

He couldn’t be more right.

2010 is shaping up to be a great year for the GOP. But as I wrote the other day, Republicans must not fall into the trap of having this year’s election results make us feel like Sally Field at the Oscars (“You like us, you really like us!”). Further, we must not be fooled into thinking that potentially big gains this fall will automatically translate into victory in 2012. As Schneider points out, Republicans managed to temper the enthusiasm of 1994 by nominating Bob Dole for President in 1996.

Michael Steele is the titular head of the Party. John McCain remains one of the most popular and respected Republicans. Every poll for 2012 has some combination of Romney, Palin and Huckabee at or near the top. But are any of these individuals going to be the ones to lead our Party back to victory and restore the voters’ confidence in our ability to govern? I think it is doubtful.

While I’m not sure that finding “a conservative version of Obama,” as Schneider puts it, is the right solution, Republicans are going to have to be forward-looking in their search for our Party’s next standard-bearer. Unfortunately, it is wishful thinking in this era of 24-hour news to believe we could avoid talking about this topic until after the November 2010 Elections. Still, I think it is entirely possible that the person who is best equipped to lead our Party in 2012 might be someone with whom the majority of Republicans are not yet familiar.

We shall see if that problem can find a solution.

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