@ miguel cervantes:
1979 was like a thousand years ago. I mean, Lincoln IIRC never announced his candidacy at all, but his people were prepared when the convention deadlocked. Anyway, Reagan had run twice before, once as a tryout, in '76 making a serious challenge to Ford. But Connally, not Pappy Bush, had been the frontrunner/establishment choice at around this time in the process.

I don't exclude the possibility that a Republican Mohammed might come riding out of the East, but I don't see him, so I'm concentrating on what I do see. The way the game is played in 2011, the absence of a first-teamers is indicative.

I remember trying to persuade myself that the high turnout in the D primaries in 2008 didn't really signify a D advantage, or all of the polls... or McCain's doofus-y performances... or the Katie Couric interview...

Sometimes it pays just to face the facts and deal with them, not over-interpret them, just deal with them.

@ fuster:
And yeah, people thought Bush was a serious candidate - he was Gov of TX, his pappy had been Prez as you may have heard, and he had big $$$$ backing. His machine was so intimidating from early on that other potential candidates withdrew rather than face his fearsome fearsomeness. McCain entered late into a field so pathetic - Keyes, Hatch, Kasich - that Bush didn't even bother to show up at the first debates.

@ fuster:
By this time in 2007, Giuliani, McCain, Romney, and Huckabee were all already up and running, as were Obama, Clinton, and Edwards on the D side.

By this time in 2003, Howard Dean, Joe Lieberman, and Dick Gephardt were already in. Kerry had been expected to get in for months before he finally took the leap sometime later in the year, not officially announcing until September. I think that was about it for the theoretical "first tier" of challengers - though Bush turned out to be more vulnerable than he may have looked at the time.

@ fuster:
oh horseapples yerself... I started out by acknowledging it's too early to know - it's always too early to know until it's past - but it's especially too early now - then I threw my virtual joss sticks.

Why do you think there are no serious candidates on the R side in March of the year prior, when in '07 both parties were already busy.

A party that's split between the Boehners and the Bachmanns and spits out T-Paw isn't going anywhere or doing anything against the $1 BN incumbent whose already done it once, successfully, and seems like an OK guy and not embarrassing. If he's still in contention a year from now, then it will be "he had four years and didn't totally screw up." Jimmy Fucking Carter (about whom one couldn't quite say that) was doing pretty well for re-election until the final weekend when Ronald Fucking Reagan finally closed the deal.

Now I know you're really hot for Michele Bachmann, but she ain't RFR, and neither is TPaw or Mitt Making Love Romney. They're a lot more Mondale, Dole, or Kerry - or worse, they're more Lamar Alexander and Pete DuPont - than RFR.

@ fuster:
Idunno, lot can happen over the course of the next year, but the perception is that the economy is recovering, and is still that the Rs destroyed it - and um by the way are extremely a-holes.

Obama will say he saved us from Ragnarok. At least he didn't push us into it. Obamacare may be a bigger historical accomplishment than a political plus, but I think the Rs majorly oversold their exaggerated partisanship up to the 2010 fight, and I don't see them delivering much of anything, do you?

The 2012 electorate ought to be a lot more Obama-friendly than 2010 was, and the actions of the 2010 R governors are looking incredibly unpopular, and in a way that highly motivates the D base.

Incumbent presidents have a strong advantage. Dems have a demographic advantage in potential swing states. Most of all, I think the country is comfortable with Obama and thinks the Rs are chock full of nuts. Most polling I've seen supports it. Now that the Rs have the House, the prospect of giving them the Senate and the Prez would be a mandate for the Bush years, without the good parts. The R presidential field ranges from the comical to the really comical for a reason: It's not a serious party, and anyone serious in the party doesn't think they have a serious chance.

I think the odds are higher of a landslide re-election than of a close election, with an R win a distant third, and dependent on exogenous factors.

miguel cervantes wrote:

She came in 4th in the straw poll, behind Cain, Pawlenty and Gingrich,
Tpaw being kind of a splungey blanc mange, if not necessarily from the planet Skyron, in the Galaxy of Andromeda.

...coming to a primary near you as Mitt's big competition.

Too bad Donald Trump wasn't in the mix to bring a little gravitas to the field.

...the living will envy the Mondale Democrats... too bad the "lets nominate a woman" thing's worn out, and doesn't work anyway. They'll probably hope that putting up Rubio or someone else who speaks Spanish (he does, doesn't he?) as VP will give them a fighting chance...