Isn't that just like the Democrats? Plagued with doubt. Lacking confidence. Halfway to surrender before the battle has even begun.
And the Republicans? Do you even need to ask? The Republicans are upbeat. Brimming with confidence. They're already booking their hotel rooms for Inauguration Week 2013.
I made that last part up. I don't actually know that they're already booking their hotel rooms for Inauguration Week 2013. On the other hand, it wouldn't surprise me even a little. When the wave comes in, you ride the wave, right? The Republicans are riding the wave.
All they need now is a candidate.
Maybe you caught the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll. (Or maybe you didn't. That's OK -- I did. I'll share.)
"Republicans are overwhelmingly confident about taking back the White House in 2012," says the Post's story.
And on the other side of the Great Divide?
"Democrats are less sure that their guy has another big win in him."
Much less sure, to be precise about it.
"Fully 83 percent of Republicans say the GOP nominee -- whoever he or she may be -- is likely to claim the presidency next year."
"(W)hoever he or she may be."
"Among Democrats," the story continues, "far fewer, 58 percent, say they think Obama will win a second term. A third of Democrats expect a GOP win; just 13 percent of Republicans sense a repeat for Obama."
And then there's the pie chart. It isn't a poll unless there's a pie chart, right?
This particular pie chart puts the prediction question to a broader audience -- not just registered Dems and Republicans, but independents, too:
"Just your best guess," the question goes. "Who do you think will win the presidential election next year?"
Eight percent of those polled had "No opinion." Only 37 percent picked "Obama." And 55 percent picked "The Republican candidate."
Now, if they can just figure out a way to get "The Republican candidate" nominated.
Not any particular Republican candidate, you understand. Not Mitt Romney, or Rick Perry, or Herman Cain, or Rick Santorum or Michele Bachmann or Newt Gingrich or even Chris Christie --
But simply..."The Republican candidate."
"The Republican candidate," you see, is an absolutely terrific candidate -- right on the all the issues, does a great job in the debates, is wonderful with people, raises a ton of money, has no flubs on the videotape, has no skeletons in the closet, excites the party's base while attracting those crucial independents (and even a few disillusioned Democrats), and so on. And so on.
And, of course, the most important quality of all: "Is not Barack Obama."
There has to be some way they can get it to appear like that on the 2012 ballot, don't you think?
/ / Obama
/ / Somebody Else
If those are the choices, the GOP is home free: It's Mr. or Mrs. Generic by a landslide!
It's when that mythical alternative finally gets an actual name, and an actual face -- not to mention actual positions and actual wobbles and flip-flops and flubs and flaws, and actual not-quite-reconciled supporters of not-quite-reconciled former rivals, not to mention whatever other baggage might be rolling around out there somewhere -- that's when it gets at least a little bit harder.
Not that it won't happen anyway. With the economy where it is, and with the mood of the country where it is, it's not exactly a perfect time to be an incumbent. It's a rotten time to be an incumbent.
It's just that -- despite all that Republican confidence, despite all that Democratic despair -- Somebody Else will be something less than perfect, too.
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Rick Horowitz is a syndicated columnist. You can write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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