March 4th, 2009 15:05 EST
Will The Real Leader Of The GOP Please Stand Up
President Barack Obama is the undisputed leader of the Democratic Party. His approval ratings are through the roof, and the only Democrat with the name recognition and the organization to challenge him in 2012 (Hillary Clinton) is safely ensconced in his administration. Obama can depend on the members of his party to follow his lead. We can expect Obama to work like a dervish in the next couple of years, he wants to sign as many bills into law while the Democrats still solidly control both houses of Congress.
But the Republicans don`t have a single person they can look to for leadership and guidance, that`s why they are always invoking the name of Ronald Reagan.
John McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee was soundly defeated by Obama, and at 72 he`s too old to run again for president. McCain will be lucky to win reelection to the Senate, even the citizens of Arizona have turned against him.
Sarah Palin is frequently mentioned as a 2012 presidential hopeful, but her appeal is limited to the far right of the Republican party. Most mainstream GOP members don`t consider her as one of the leaders of their party.
Mike Huckabee is intelligent and charismatic, but you can`t win a national election when your base is limited to the South. The GOP needs a leader who has a national appeal, and Huckabee needs to work to extend his support beyond the evangelicals.
Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisiana, is one of the rising stars of the opposition party, but his disastrous rebuttal to Obama`s address dimmed his star power. In that speech Jindal accomplished the seemingly impossible, he made Sarah Palin look like an intellectual. Republicans are too embarrassed to refer to Jindal as their leader.
Rudolph Giuliani may be "America`s Mayor", but he will never be the GOP`s leader, let alone President of the United States of America. His 9/11 glory has faded, and he is way too liberal for the GOP to regard him as one of their leaders.
The nominal head of the Republican Party is Michael Steele, the chairman of the Republican National Committee. Steele is responsible for overseeing the party`s campaigning and fundraising operations, and he will probably excel as a behind-the-scenes organizer. But Steele has all the charisma of a burned out light bulb, and he will fail miserably if he attempts to portray himself as the real leader of the GOP.
The Republicans are in a real quandary, they are in a desperate search for a statesman who can bring together the disparate factions of their party. The Democrats aren`t doing them a favor when they argue that Rush Limbaugh is the genuine boss of the GOP. The Dems would love to see the big fat blowhard regarded as the kingpin of the Republican Party, the more Rushbo bloviates the more reasoned and intelligent he makes Obama look.
The Republicans are in such a sad state of affairs, that a case can be made that Limbaugh really is their top dog. Limbaugh`s army of dittoheads are ready at a moment`s notice to do their master`s bidding. If Rushbo orders them to send emails to Congress to protest a specific piece of legislation, in minutes senators and congressmen will be flooded with email.
Limbaugh is so powerful that few Republicans dare chastise him for his divisive and hateful speech. Recently Michael Steel described Limbaugh as "an entertainer" with an "incendiary" and "ugly style." Limbaugh responded by suggesting that Steele was "off to a shaky start" at the RNC. "I hope the RNC chairman will realize he`s not a talking head pundit, that he is supposed to be working on the grassroots and rebuilding it," Limbaugh said. Within hours of Limbaugh`s rebuke, Steel was on bended knee publicly apologizing to the rotund radio talk show host. Steele isn`t the only GOP coward who has criticized Limbaugh, and then promptly apologized.
Limbaugh has too many skeletons in his closet to ever run for president, but he`s the real power in the GOP. The Republicans don`t have a prayer of mounting a serious challenge to Obama in 2012 if they can`t coalesce behind a leader who isn`t afraid of Limbaugh, and who can unite all sections of their party.
The Republicans need to forget about the halcyon days under Ronald Reagan, and hope that a Romney or a Crist will rise to the occasion. Even stalwart liberals should agree that it`s best for our democracy if one party doesn`t dominate the political process.