Every great hero needs a nemesis to overcome – look at how engrossed the nation became with Barack Obama’s epic struggle for the Democratic nomination with Hillary Clinton. In their search for an opponent after the defeat of John McCain, Democrats and the media have alternately tried to promote Rush Limbaugh, Eric Cantor, Sarah Palin and the clearly not ready for prime time Bobby Jindal (not to mention the b-list: Romney, Pawlenty, Sanford and Crist). For those you laboring under the misapprehension that the Obama White House has spent all of 20 minutes talking about Rush this week, as early as January Obama had Limbaugh in his sights. It has always behooved the Dems to promote Limbaugh as he can be relied upon to say something outrageous and gin up the Dem base.
But with no next generation Newt Gingrich on the horizon, the GOP has settled into a caretakership – with Minority Leaders Mitch McConnell and John Boehner steering opposition to Obama’s agenda and looking to gain at the edges, testing new messages and strategies in local and congressional races. This hullabaloo over whether Democratic strategists — and, gasp, not the pristine White House! — have been looking for straw men to slay is ridiculous; it would only surprising if they weren’t looking for a foil for Obama. As the GOP tries to reorganize itself in the wake of stunning losses on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, the lack of a figurehead is perhaps the silver lining of the party’s leadership vacuum: there is no clear opponent, no one to take responsibility and no one for Obama to defeat.