Rasmussen is the most reliable presidential poll of them all & puts POTUS consistently on the back side of a majority since the summer.

Rasmussen’s data track a pretty stable pattern. It will change only when our “left-of-the American-public” president is perceived to have done something effective that people generally support. …Or when he screws up in a spectacular and unambiguous manner.

For these reasons, I think our new president is in a “no win” box of his own making. He needs to move to the right (the deficit/fiscal crush and the relentless demands of the continuing jihad demand nothing less), but the anger of the spoiled left will unseat him. This is the subset of liberals who dominate the Democratic Party for the moment. They will punish betrayal — just like the wife / lover who won’t sleep with an unfaithful guy who is freshly contaminated with several STD’s.

If my analysis is right, the best 2012 GOP opponent will be a Clark Kent conservative. I’ll explain that in a moment.

David Brooks has profiled South Dakota Senator John Thune (who defeated Tom Daschle) in today’s NYT. Here is that link: .

And here is the pull quote.

“His positions on the issues are unremarkable. He is down-the-line conservative on social, economic and foreign policy matters. What’s notable is the way he talks about the issues and jumps off from them.

“He is a gracious and ecumenical legislator, not a combative one. When you ask him to mention authors he likes, he mentions C.S. Lewis and Jeff Shaara, not political polemicists. The first person who told me I had to write a column about Thune was a liberal Democratic senator who really likes the guy.”

“Thune also possesses the favored Republican profile du jour: conservative at the roots but pragmatic at the surface. … [N]obody can question Thune’s conservative bona fides. As a result, he doesn’t have to talk about them.”

Why Tone Trumps the Meaning

The non-ideological minds in this country tend to “tone-filter” incoming information. In this, they are like our pet canines who respond less to what we say than how we say it. Dogs tend to wag their tails even when we say “I’m going to kill you and eat you for dinner” as long as our tone is cheerful and friendly, and the will cower in a corner even when we say, “You are the best god in the whole world and I’m going to give you a treat” when we adopt that snarling Hannibal Lector tone.

In the age of twitter and short attention spans, style and tone trump semantics and policy … at least in the short term.

Senator Obama’s politics could not have been fairly or accurately characterized as “moderate” or “centrist”, but his reasonable tone beguiled 15% to 20% of the electorate who were to the right of his ideology. They were seduced by a reasonable tone, then betrayed by leftwing policies. There desertion will be complete when a reasonable alternative surfaces on the political scene.

Enter Superman or Supergirl

Clark Kent, AKA Superman, was a “mild mannered” man who could become the man of steel at will. We can’t know who the magic GOP 2012 candidate will actually be, but I can see the template emerging.

As for Senator Thune, watch the 2010 elections closely. If Harry Reid is defeated (very likely at this moment), Thune’s star will rise. If the GOP retakes the Senate in 2010 – with or without Senator Lieberman’s assistance, look for Thune as the next Majority Leader.

What about the 2012 race? The prospect of defeat wonderfully concentrates the mind. The GOP will close ranks behind someone who can actually win. Obama can forestall this only by moving firmly to the center, enduring the loss of passion and enthusiasm on the left and hoping to romance those quirky independents who actually decide races.

Stay tuned.

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