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Not Yet a Great Race

The GOP field for 2012 is not where the action is.

Dec 6, 2010, Vol. 16, No. 12 • By FRED BARNES
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But what makes Rubio stand out are his power as a speaker and what he speaks about. His speeches during the campaign emphasized his belief in American exceptionalism, about which he differs sharply with Obama. Rubio’s first Senate speech is bound to attract full press coverage.

In Palin’s case, the media treat her every wink and nod as newsworthy. Reporters and columnists are obsessed with her. And some Republicans fear she could lead their party to defeat in 2012. What this assumes is amazing: that she can sail through the primaries and win the nomination. That’s quite an assumption.

Palin is making the most of her prominence. Her criticism of the Federal Reserve’s printing of more money was sensible and well ahead of the curve. And she instantly defended Juan Williams when he was canned by NPR, noting that, like her, he’d gone “rogue.” Palin looks increasingly formidable.

At this time four years ago, the presidential race was about to take off. But the center of gravity in politics and government has shifted. The big play is now in Congress with Republicans in control of the House and in the statehouses with governors like Jindal, Christie, Perry, and a slew of newcomers like Scott Walker in Wisconsin, John Kasich in Ohio, and Rick Scott in Florida. The presidential contest will have to wait.

Fred Barnes is executive editor of  The Weekly Standard.

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