In New York and Los Angeles, the two places I spend most of my time, there is a familiar dinner party conversation that goes something like this...
"I just don't know about Obama"
"I agree, he hasn't done everything he promised he would do."
"I don't know if I'm going to support him."
I've heard variations of this dozens of times. A strange by-product of the Republican party primary is the ability for Democrats to imagine a non-existent Republican candidate -- a Bloomberg, or a Huntsman before he began his right-wing pandering -- who they just possibly might like more than President Obama .
Well guess what... that candidate isn't coming.
Slowly but surely Mitt Romney has evolved as the Republican front-runner and likely nominee -- not because the right wing likes him, but because Herman Cain and Rick Perry have self-destructed in a spectacular way.
Romney's ever-evolving positions have grown increasing radical as he tries to convince Republican voters that he is more qualified than former Burger King and Godfather's Pizza executive Herman Cain. In just one example, this week he seemed to call for an attack on Iran , a dangerous position that would almost surely through the entire region in to nuclear chaos, creating a brand new war at a time when we are trying to end two wars.
A new report suggests that he is the single most radical Republican candidate on immigration, calling for mass deportations which would create economic chaos here at home, crippling the agriculture sector and many others which rely on immigrant labor.
Romney's positions have changed so many times that it's almost impossible to know what he actually believes.
Perhaps it's his uncanny ability to change his beliefs that leaves so many moderates wondering whether he might just surprise them.
But it's perfectly clear that Romney has aligned himself with the tea party, and the most radical right-wing policies he can come up with to survive the Republican primary. His currently stated positions paint a very scary picture of America if he were President.
He has gone so far to the right he can never come back to the center.
Most thinking people understand that being President in the best of circumstances is almost impossibly hard. President Obama came into office with a world in crisis and country in recession, and though he hasn't accomplished everything everyone would have liked, there is no question that he is a man who will fight for progressive values, while at the same time supporting economic growth.
Democrats and moderates need to stop pretending that there is any Republican that offers any real alternative to President Obama.
It's time to stop complaining and start campaigning.