Listening to the first half of the 2012 Political Landscape panel on the 2012 election, you’d think the Republican Party was doomed.
Panelists Erick Erickson, editor-in-chief of RedState, and Ralph Hallow, senior national correspondent at The Washington Times, were pessimistic at best about the future GOP presidential nominee’s ability to beat President Obama in 2012.
Erickson blamed former president George W. Bush for the weak presidential field.
“I think the Republican Party has yet to reset itself from the Bush years,” Erickson said.
Hallow took a more direct approach, blaming the GOP 2012 candidates themselves.
“Why are any of these candidates running? What are they going to do to change America?” Hallow, said
Hallow said the playing field is currently Obama’s and predicted it would be in November, too, because Obama has the incumbency advantage and will have more money than the GOP nominee whoever he is.
“Unless the nominee has a message, a simple message he can get out in three sentences, I don’t think we have a chance,” Hallow said.
Moderator Scott Rasmussen, of Rasmussen Reports fame, fought back against their negative analysis, saying, “Every bit of polling shows that the economy is the top issue driving 2012.”
But Erickson said making 2012 a single-issue election could backfire on the GOP.
“It seems like we are setting ourselves up to lose if the economy gets better,” he said.
Ralph Reed was the sole panelist to provide a positive outlook, saying of fellow panelist Ralph Hallow, “I don’t think it’s as bleak as Ralph is making it sound.”
Reed said that looking at the states in play “I like our chances.”
He reminded the audience that it’s also their responsibility as conservative activists to help elect conservative candidates.
“When you look at what that is going to look like, it’s not just on the nominee’s back. It’s on our back,” Reed said, encouraging the audience to get involved in grassroots activism in their home states.
“Let’s send Barack Obama in a U-Haul back to Chicago,” he said.