SO in my last post I expressed some concern that Obama is behaving so much like W that he will not attract independents, and will not mobilize younger voters like he did in the last election. I stand by those thoughts, but I think the Republicans could be in as much trouble as Obama.
The problem the Republicans face is, simply put, the Tea Party. The TP, in any given state primary, is going to vote for the candidate that most closely reflects their rather extreme views. I think that means that Ron Paul is probably unacceptable to them, although they might accept a Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann or Herman Cain (ironically two women and an African American). If the Republicans do end up nominating someone who is deemed moderate enough to appeal to a large number of independents (i.e. more likely to beat Obama), then I suspect the Tea Party may well nominate their own candidate.
So the Republicans may face two rather unpleasant choices: either the Tea Party forcing them to nominate an extreme candidate who has little chance to win, or they may see large numbers of party conservatives desert the party to vote for a third party Tea Party candidate in the general. Either of these scenarios might be enough to save Obama in 2012. These possibilities might explain why both Mitch Daniels and Mike Huckabee decided not to run this time.