Republicans, despite persistent demographic troubles, think that as the president's administration wears on, he's opening more and more ground for a comeback. It seems inevitable that as any politician actually takes action, he's going to rub some voters the wrong way—and indeed, unfilled promises and polls showing the declining popularity of Obama's spending habits are giving Republicans space to develop their message.And one place they're starting that message is health care. Tonight, ABC will broadcast a White House town hall about the issue, which has led to the RNC airing an ad asking for bipartisan consideration.However next year ends up, the bigger question will be 2012. It's still unclear just who will emerge as the GOP's presidential frontrunner, but it sounds increasingly likely that Sarah Palin will pull a Pawlenty and not run for reelection in Alaska to better position herself on the national stage.Meanwhile, the story surrounding another 2012 name gets weirder by the day. South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford has returned, not from the Appalachian Trail as reported by his staff two days ago, but from Buenos Aires. Politico wonders whether all this makes Sanford too weird to be president. Though I've heard a lot of sympathy, too—from both sides of the aisle—wondering what's so weird about clearing your head with a little travel (and all that criticism for not spending Father's Day with his sons—isn't it Father's Day, and not Sons' Day?). Politico suggets he doesn't pass the "have-a-beer-with test" for most people, but this description actually endears him to me:
As a member of Congress in the 1990s, he slept in his office to save money. Political insiders recount tales of his walking around barefoot in meetings in the state Capitol and even doing sit-ups at odd times. During his State of the State speech in 2006, he lost his train of thought and admitted he was daydreaming about a fishing trip with a pal.But then again, I wouldn't vote for most people I have beers with.Odds & Ends: The RNC spent nearly a million dollars in the fight to keep Norm Coleman in the Senate. Virginia gubernatorial hopeful Bob McDonnell is getting another ad on air, which has led to the usual campaign sniping. ElectWomen magazine takes a nice look at the model and success of EMILY's List.