Tea Party a Republican weakness

Conventional wisdom says that President Obama will have a difficult battle if he is to win re-election in 2012. The economy is bad, the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya are dragging on, Guantanamo Bay remains open, the health care law is unpopular — all of these seem to be a perfect storm, creating a Republican victory.

But the Democrats have a trump card, one that annoys mainstream Republicans and scares off Independents: the Tea Party.

More and more, it appears that Mitt Romney will be the Republican nominee. Despite all the Tea Party’s efforts to find a not-Romney candidate, every other potential frontrunner — from Rick Perry to Michele Bachmann — has blundered, passing the reins back to Romney.

But the Romney campaign’s stability, widely regarded as its greatest strength, may also be a great weakness. Romney fails to inspire much of anyone, much less the staunch conservatives who comprise more and more of his party’s base.

And these staunch conservatives, most of whom are perceived by the public at large as out-of-touch old people, tend to scare off Independent and moderate Republican voters, who may not show up to the polls at all in 2012.

Romney’s failure to excite voters means a turnout problem for the Grand Old Party in 2012. And if the presidential candidate can’t get voters to the polls in 2012, Republican candidates for Congress may have difficulty as well — meaning that the Democrats may retake the House and widen their lead in the Senate.

If the Democrats want to win in 2012, they don’t have to sell themselves; they just have to remind voters that a vote for a Republican is a vote for the Tea Party.

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