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Posted at 10:37 AM ET, 12/29/2010

Who speaks for the Republicans?

By Ezra Klein

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When the inevitable showdown between the revived Republican Party and the Obama White House occurs, who will speak for the Republicans? In 1994, they had Bob Dole and Newt Gingrich, both of whom were nationally credible leaders, at least at the time. But looking through Gallup's "most admired" poll, Republicans haven't coalesced around any similarly serious names -- or really anyone at all.

The most admired man in America, by a wide margin, is Barack Obama. Three of the four most-admired women in America are associated with either the Obama campaign or the Obama presidency (Hillary Clinton clocks in at No. 1, and Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama take the third and fourth slots).

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The closest thing the GOP has to a Dole or a Gingrich is Sarah Palin, whose interests and messages frequently diverge from those of the Republican Party and who polls very poorly among the broader populace.

Perhaps the idea that you need a leader to deliver your message is outdated in an age when Fox News and other outlets that are willing to create and push the message on their own. But I rather doubt it, particularly as Obama's brand remains surprisingly strong and the Republican brand surprisingly weak despite the results of the 2010 election. One reason for that strength, I think, is the absence of a viable alternative.

It's sort of a shame for the GOP that Mitt Romney turned out to be such an unlikable and untrustworthy candidate. His business experience and executive accomplishments would've made him a good standard-bearer in this political climate. And you could certainly imagine a world in which John McCain had run a different campaign in 2008 and, though he'd lost, remained broadly admired among the public. Add in some savvy positioning during the last two years, and people might have begun wondering whether they'd made the right choice. But in the world we're in, he doesn't even register on the Republican side of the poll.

By Ezra Klein  | December 29, 2010; 10:37 AM ET
Categories:  2012 Presidential, Polls  
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Comments

If Palin is the one to carry the Republicants message, the message must be to quit. After all, that and the thirst for fame and or money is what fuels that loser. You betcha.

Posted by: COLEBRACKETT | December 29, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

This does seem like somewhat of a silly poll, though. People were asked to say who they most admired (per gender), and majority of people picked names that didn't make it onto the top 10. This is a very long tailed.

If you had some sort of preference-based voting or something, you would get a very different ranking. Just taking into account people's first choices is not a lot of information, especially when you have practically infinitely many potential names.

Posted by: usergoogol | December 29, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

This does seem like somewhat of a silly poll, though. People were asked to say who they most admired (per gender), and majority of people picked names that didn't make it onto the top 10. This is a very long tailed.

If you had some sort of preference-based voting or something, you would get a very different ranking. Just taking into account people's first choices is not a lot of information, especially when you have practically infinitely many potential names.

Posted by: usergoogol | December 29, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

I wonder what Barack Obama's numbers were in 2006. Bill Clinton's in 1990 and Jimmy Carter's in 1964 might also be interesting examples. Limited visibility is not necessarily a big disadvantage to a Republican at this point in time. There is a reason why highly visible members of Congress rarely win the White House. A strong positive record in some people's eyes almost certainly means large negatives in other people's eyes. Even more than usual, being without negatives is likely to be much more important to a Republican's chances in 2012 than their recognizable accomplishments. If one wins, it will be because of the voter's rejection of the Democrat's record and the hope for a future that has yet to be tested by contact with the real world.

Posted by: dnjake | December 29, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Wow. Ask Americans who they admire most and large numbers name politicians.

One in four Republicans can't think of a more admirable woman than Sarah Palin. Simply stunning.

Posted by: justin84 | December 29, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Many people don't believe me when I say that Palin has the nomination locked up if she wants it. But information like this shows that's probably true.

I think that people, especially in DC, don't want to believe the power that Palin really has in the GOP base. It scares them that someone so shockingly dirt-stupid, and proud of it, could conceivably become a president.

But it won't happen. Sarah is unelectable outside of Utah, Idaho and few other benighted states. The GOP nomination is hers for the taking. The country, not so much.

Posted by: karlmarx2 | December 29, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

From what I recall Papa Bush is still pushing for yet another Bush in the White House - Jeb. Then there's always another relative of a Republican power-broker, the Cheney daughter, Liz. The Republicans still believe in hereditary power.

CB in Hamburg

Posted by: chrisbrown12 | December 29, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

It's no surprise that Republicans would pick the biggest crook they could find to be their most admired male, and the dumbest woman they could find to be their most admired female.

What a tickle.


Posted by: lindalovejones | December 29, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

It's no surprise that Republicans would pick the biggest crook they could find to be their most admired male, and the dumbest woman they could find to be their most admired female.

What a tickle.


Posted by: lindalovejones | December 29, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

I'm tired of Republicans. It was all a nice puppet show. Foolish elderly Republican voters actually think that Republicans are going to repeal the Heath Care Reforms, ban earmarks and bring "freedom" back.

Would you hire a confessed animal hater to run a pet store? No? Then why would you elect politicians who freely admit to despising government?

Republicans rally against regulation of industry, and then America sees how that turns out when BP spills a million barrels of oil in our seas.

Republicans will rally against gay people, stripping them of civil rights, and then you find them tapping their toes in airport bathrooms looking for their gay lovers.

Republicans will rally against non-existent communists but have no problem driving an economy with Karl Marx like spending of trillions of tax dollars on endless wars against enemies that did not attack us.

After the last ten years of watching Republicans one word stands out as defining them perfectly; hypocrite.

People in government should believe in government, and that's exactly why Democrats will get my votes for years to come.

Posted by: getcentered | December 29, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

What only 4% of Republicans "liked" Beck. I'll bet he's peeved. CB

Posted by: chrisbrown12 | December 29, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

I hope what we're witnessing here is the utter disintegration of the Republican Party. By the time they get through cannibalizing themselves during the upcoming primaries, they will be left stripped of any "beef" they once might have had.
And, the whole world will learn the meaning of the word "gibberish".

Posted by: cms1 | December 29, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Who cares? Tune them all out...

Posted by: staussfamily | December 29, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Where are Mitchie McConnell & John Boner on the Republican list? Their absences speaks volumes - even Reps don't admire them. And with good reason.

Posted by: nyskinsdiehard | December 29, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

The universal problem that the Republicans have is that none of their presidential choices are "LIKEABLE."

Posted by: vicsoir1 | December 29, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

who speaks for DNC?

soros does.... bill clinton does....

mandated purchase of goods for YOUR ENTIRE LIFETIME does.

Posted by: docwhocuts | December 29, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

who speaks for DNC?

soros does.... bill clinton does....

mandated purchase of goods for YOUR ENTIRE LIFETIME does.

Posted by: docwhocuts | December 29, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

I hear Alfred E. Newman is available

Posted by: bob29 | December 29, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Who speaks for the GOP?

DRUG LIMBAUGH!

Posted by: Garak | December 29, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

For the moment - NOBODY - speaks for Republicans. They are trying to digest the Tea Party people and populist support for libertarianism. They are suffering from some severe indigestion. Politics as usual are in jeopardy.

For whatever reason or for multiple reasons there is a groundswell of support for dumping Obama. Left and Right and Independent.

Posted by: alance | December 29, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Looking to Ezra Klein for analysis of anything non-liberal is like reading Marx to learn how to set up a business.

Stick to what you know something about.

Posted by: Curmudgeon10 | December 29, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

I agree that Mitt Romney seems the strongest candidate in terms of economics and policy issues.

He has the "executive experience" that makes conservatives squeal like 12-year old girls at a Justin Bieber concert; and being a Mormon is almost the same as being a Christian, to satisfy the social conservative crowd. Plus, he makes a terrific action figure!

Posted by: MidwaySailor76 | December 29, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

My most admired man in America isn't even an American, it's Alexander Ovechkin.

And while you can't put too much stock into this, it is true that the Republicans don't have anyone who could be called a spokesman for the party....other than Palin who speaks more for herself and a certain constituency rather than the Republican Party.

But what we found in the 2010 congressional nominating process, it is the party activists who do the picking.

Posted by: rjma1 | December 29, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

My most admired man in America isn't even an American, it's Alexander Ovechkin.

And while you can't put too much stock into this, it is true that the Republicans don't have anyone who could be called a spokesman for the party....other than Palin who speaks more for herself and a certain constituency rather than the Republican Party.

But what we found in the 2010 congressional nominating process, it is the party activists who do the picking.

Posted by: rjma1 | December 29, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

I agree that Mitt Romney seems the strongest candidate in terms of economics and policy issues.

He has the "executive experience" that makes conservatives squeal like 12-year old girls at a Justin Bieber concert; and being a Mormon is almost the same as being a Christian, to satisfy the social conservative crowd. Plus, he makes a terrific action figure!

Posted by: MidwaySailor76 | December 29, 2010 4:46 PM |
=====================================
There is an honesty and sense of purpose in 12-year old girls which is lacking in Republicans, but you make a good point.

With the exception of Oprah Winfrey, Capitalism is underrepresented on these lists. Sadly, this is not a list of leaders, but a list of followers.

Posted by: gannon_dick | December 30, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

So,one cannot help but notice the total and
complete absence of Democrat House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Democrat
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid as well.

And,even just based on her ever growing popularity alone,clearly Sarah Palin is rapidly becoming the common sense voice of
the Republioan Party while Democrats have only ever less popular then ever Comrade from Kenya Barack Hussein Obama,and newly
demoted from Speaker of the House to a lowly new position of Democrat House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Dingy Old
Senile Harry Reid as their voice of the
Democrat Party to draw from as well.

However it is also not surprising that the
public also does not care for Republican
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell anymore then they do Dingy Harry Reid as well,and that apparently the public does not know enough about the new Speaker of the House to form a clear opinion of him
as of yet here now then.

Posted by: Ralphinphnx | December 30, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

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