It's Even Tougher than you Think, Roger
You're totally right; the American breakdown is very serious, and I haven't seen its like since Jimmy Carter, Obama's role model in so many ways. The return of the wimp, etc.
Our failures are not just domestic, where our "leaders" are still in the grips of a failed leftist vision that, if it ever did, no longer explains the world, and therefore does not offer a reliable guide to policy. Obama has gone further, extending the failed vision to the whole planet, believing as he does that America's sins are the root cause of the world's basic problems.
Actually there are many causes, and one of them is the actions of our enemies. He refuses to pronounce the word, even. So we are absent from the real war, and this encourages enemies and destabilizes friends and allies.
The whole world gets pneumonia when America catches a cold, and we've got the flu right now, en route, perhaps, to something worse. It is quite impossible to predict what the world will look like on Inauguration Day, 2013., but it's likely to be a lot worse than the world we see today.
So we need a real leader, and real leaders are rare in our political history. That said, some of our greatest looked very unimpressive before they became leaders. Lincoln, for example. Truman for another. And Reagan, the "amiable dunce" according to the elite intellectuals and their journalist camp followers. It was often said, and widely believed (even by Republican pros) during the 1980 campaign, that Reagan couldn't answer any basic questions without his little note cards...
The Reagan stereotype is now applied with great enthusiasm to Palin, to take just one example. Which is not to say that she would be another Reagan; it's just to say that it's very hard to predict what sort of president today's candidates would be.
I'm viscerally opposed to putting legislators in the White House, because all they've ever done is give speeches. I want someone who has run a big enterprise, whether it's a corporation, a state, or an army. And I want someone who has overcome serious challenges, even someone who has failed, learned from the failure, and gotten it right.
We're in a big war, here and abroad. We need a tough guy who knows how to lead.