President Barack Obama has nothing to fear but fear itself, heading into the 2012 election. But he better not get cocky every time the stock market improves or the jobless numbers take a bright turn. And he better not gloat whenever a despot is swept from office.
He better not get carried away every time the Cubs or the Chisox win a game, either — though there isn't much of a chance of that happening in 2012, as far as I can tell now.
The point is that the POTUS can only hurt himself. The Republicans seem to be incapable of presenting a serious candidate who can defeat him. The GOP is too busy engaging in silly name-calling exercises to remember that Obama is their foe.
It's comical, really. The Republican Party has had three years to get it together after Sen. John McCain's meltdown in 2008. McCain was simply a bad candidate, in 20/20 hindsight. He failed to inspire undecided voters and he unleashed Sarah Palin on an unsuspecting world to boot.
You would think that the Republicans would have spent the past couple of years learning form their mistakes and coming out swinging this time around. But they have not done so.
They have effectively allowed the POTUS to learn on the job and not suffer any repercussions. If the GOP had been able to drum up popular support for one of its candidates, Obama would have been forced to do the kinds of things that presidents, especially of the sitting variety, don't like to do in their first terms. But the POTUS has all but skated through his first term, only with a few relatively minor scrapes here and there.
President Obama, to be sure, is an excellent politician. But the GOP has made it really, really easy for him heading into 2012.
Jon Friedman writes the Media Web column for MarketWatch.com. Click here to read his latest column.
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