A growing enthusiasm gap on the right?

Erick Erickson of Redstate and CNN, whom anyone interested in contemporary American politics should read since he is probably the best bellwether we have of what the activist wing of the Republican Party is thinking on any given issue, had this to say about voting in his local primary in Georgia:

I did not want to vote for Romney. But I did not want to vote for Santorum or Gingrich or Paul. Choosing between them has been like choosing the tallest midget. I have been left uninspired for various reasons by each.

So I went with Rick Perry. Consider it a protest vote. But at least, unlike many, I went with who I liked as opposed to voting for someone to be against someone else or some other strategic pattern of voting.

What a mess this primary season is. At least soon we’ll be able to focus on Barack Obama instead of the hand we’ve dealt ourselves this primary season.

On the heels of George Will’s acknowledgement over the weekend that neither Mitt Romney or Santorum are likely to beat Barack Obama in the general election, I wonder what this means about the enthusiasm of conservative voters leading into the 2012 election. After a surreal midterm election that saw an unprecedented number of Tea Party-affiliated conservative member’s of congress sweep into Washington, how is it that the Republican party has somehow failed to harness that same energy to mobilize their party behind any one candidate. Perhaps it was because their ideal candidates like Paul Ryan, Mitch Daniels or Marco Rubio declined to run, or because the Tea Party element still has not convinced the rank and file and/or party elite that their goals ought to be the Republican Party’s goals, but it is nonetheless surprising that after four unspectacular years of Barack Obama, they can’t seem to agree on a platform or candidate moving forward.

It used to be that the Democratic Party was hopelessly divided between various constituencies and was wiped out in election after election by a mobilized, organized Republican machine. Now it seems that the two parties have reversed roles.

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