MSNBC's Joe Scarborough thinks the GOP's house is already on fire in his latest Politico column, where he thrashes the party's leadership for a poor showing at CPAC. He ridiculed the gathering as "a conference cursed with dull speechmaking and intraparty battles."
"Like most Egyptians, the conservative movement still has no idea who will lead it through the next election," Scarborough writes. What is the biggest reason candidates have not entered the field, he thinks? They are scared to run against Obama.
"Most of them privately believe Obama will end up winning in 2012," Scarborough believes, although he quotes only one potential GOP candidate who told him that he won't run unless he knows he can win. Although that may sound tones of caution, it's certainly not a submission to Obama's greatness.
"Four years ago this week, Obama announced his candidacy for president. Four years later, no serious Republican has dared to put a toe in the water," Scarborough writes, casting a glow over Obama's very candidacy.
Scarborough cited a poll that has his approval rating at 51 percent as a damning statistic for GOP chances in 2012. He also cites Public Policy Polling (PPP) polls that feature Obama crushing each of the possible GOP candidates. However, Scarborough might forget where Obama was at this point in 2007, where he had just declared his candidacy and was a clear underdog to Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination.
Scarborough saved his most bitter invective, however, for Mitch Daniels, Republican governor of Indiana and 2012 presidential hopeful. He painted Daniels as a phoney fiscal conservative who was partly responsible for the record increase in national debt under President Bush, as his director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Scarborough also noted how Daniels was "used" by Rumsfeld to tone down criticisms of the estimated cost of the Iraq War.
Of course, Daniels was not OMB director for Bush's entire term and ultimately President Bush's sparse use of the veto pen is responsible for Congress's profligate spending. What's more, Scarborough seems to completely omit Daniels's two terms as Indiana governor as part of the potential candidate's case for chief executive of the country.