The so-called "front runners" are too scared to run against Obama in 2012. And the Republican rank and file are sour on the candidates who are running. Things don't look so hot for the GOP going into 2012 at this point.
Running for president is not for the faint-hearted. The level of personal scrutiny is intense, the financial demands daunting, and the chance of winning iffy against a well-funded incumbent.
Maybe Donald Trump thought he could pull it off. But his reality-show campaign ran smack into reality. The larger plotline is that GOP candidates are dropping like flies—three of them bailing out in the last month, others barely dipping a toe in the political waters.
For any Republican eyeing the primaries, the man to beat is Mitt Romney, who for all his flaws is still the frontrunner with lots of money in a party with a history of nominating the guy whose turn is next.
Given these challenges, it’s not surprising that there are almost as many dropouts for the 2012 nomination as there are likely contenders. “This is the latest-starting early race I’ve ever seen,” says Glen Bolger, a Republican consultant. It’s not about Obama, he says, pointing out that the president is back down to a 46 percent approval rating in the latest Gallup poll. “What’s scaring people off is what it takes financially and how fraught it is.”