And Romney? He ranks 22nd in the Tea Party poll, winning only 45 percent of his head-to-head matchups.
The failure of anyone (except Pawlenty) on Will’s list to generate any noteworthy enthusiasm among prospective Tea Party voters supports John Podhoretz’s assertion that, “If Will is right, then the right is in critical condition heading into 2012.” Perhaps surprisingly, Brooks and Douthat both seem to agree. Brooks says that (without Daniels) it is an “extremely weak” field. And Douthat ominously writes, “Just because the Republicans seem to need a better candidate than Mitt Romney doesn’t mean they’ll get one.”
But Podhoretz seems more optimistic, writing:
So what does this tell us?It tells us that the person who can win has either not reached the point of deciding to run or that he is biding his time until later. It could be Chris Christie. It could be Paul Ryan. It could be Marco Rubio. It could be Bobby Jindal. One hears that the 2016 GOP race will feature all these guys in a superstar battle. If that one could, so could this one. And there’s plenty of time. Plenty.
Douthat echoes this sentiment, writing that “it’s quite likely that the eventual Republican nominee will enter the lists very, very late.”
So let’s look back to the top of the Tea Party list. Paul Ryan is winning nearly four out of every five of his head-to-head matchups. No Republican is more respected on Capitol Hill, has done more to combat ObamaCare, or has presented as many bold, sensible, and innovative ideas for getting our nation back on a path toward liberty, prosperity, and fiscal solvency.
Ryan is articulate and likeable. He is accustomed to advancing conservative principles while winning elections in a swing district in the Milwaukee area that went to Obama. And his age — he would be the same age (42) in early 2012 that John F. Kennedy was in early 1960, with exactly the same number of years of experience on Capitol Hill that JFK had — would be far more of an asset than a detractor in a head-to-head matchup with Obama. When was the last time that a Republican lost because he was too young and vibrant?
Christie, the runner-up on the list, is a former prosecutor and (like Ryan) a man who Obama doesn’t want to have to face on the campaign trail or the debate stage. Christie, of course, has made a name for himself with his principled, plain-spoken, no-nonsense manner of taking on public-sector unions. He has won election in a Democratic state and would be very difficult for Obama to beat.
Both men care greatly about their country and are watching the GOP field take shape. Both are aware of the unusually high stakes this time around. Both enjoy clear Tea Party and establishment support and can unite the Republican Party and lead it to victory.
As the 2012 Tea Party Presidential Poll shows, momentum is building behind these candidates. If that momentum keeps building — day by day, block by block, citizen by citizen — Barack Obama will likely become a one-term president.