President Obama's administration has been such a juggernaut of disasters that it's difficult to for me to imagine that he will be reelected on merit. Public opinion polls have shown his approval ratings to be low compared to the numbers seen in many previous administrations, though I tend to think that given the liberal nature of some of the polling organizations, his actual approval among voters is lower than reported. In polls where voters are asked to pick Obama against a generic Republican opponent, he generally runs even or slightly above, which can't be good news to the politicos in the White House.
Still, the problem in defeating the President is that he won't be running against a generic opponent--he'll be running against a living politician, who may or may not be skilled enough and lucky enough to beat him. Whoever the Republicans nominate will have a tough campaign to run, given that the Democrats and the liberal media will spare no expense, and, if the last three years are any guide, do just about anything without shame to ensure that Obama is reelected.
We're beginning to see jockeying for advantage going on among possible candidates, including some very unlikely candidates. Charles Krauthammer and other journalists are beginning to seriously survey the field. I'm not going to go into that sort of thing here, but I think that what we're seeing shape up on the Republican side so far is a contest between establishment favorites and those who will be attempting to prevail without the aid of the Republican establishment, commonly called "outsiders."
In spite of being both a governor and vice presidential candidate as a Republican, Sarah Palin is clearly at odds with the Republican establishment and is probably the least likely of the top tier candidates to be supported by the likes of Karl Rove or the national GOP. She also has been the most effective in throwing the White House off its stride and in general making the left nuts to the point where they engage in extreme and embarrassing behavior, whether they realize it looks that way or not.
In her "comeback" speech at the Wisconsin tea party rally on April 16, she clearly outlined her differences with not only the President, but the leaders of her own party in the Congress as well. I found her raised voice in the speech a bit hard to listen to, but she was trying to be heard over hundreds of leftists in the crowd showing their civility and tolerance by screaming obscenities and making whatever other noise they could in hopes of silencing her, so she probably didn't have much choice in that. Her speech was cheerfully combative, and she was clearly making a point in choosing to speak in Madison, site of the recent mob madness by union members and their leftist supporters.
Palin for some reason inspires strong opinions in many people. No one really knows whether or not she intends to run for President, in spite of the tendency of some journalists and commenters to declare her unlikely to run, a case of wishful thinking if ever I've seen it. I don't think the Republican primary campaign will really begin in earnest until she announces her decision. It seems to me it will be difficult for the other candidates to map out an effective strategy without knowing her decision, and I think their efforts to raise money will also be stymied until her intentions are revealed.
I think that if Sarah Palin chooses to run, the other candidates and their allies in the party establishment will have a difficult time defeating her. If she does manage to win the nomination, it will have been after a fierce fight, and she will come out of the nominating convention looking very strong indeed. The White House will of course attempt to make her an object of ridicule, but I doubt they'll have much luck at that, and what they'll have on their hands instead is a serious battle in which Palin won't feel any of the reservations against attacking Obama that plagued the McCain campaign in 2008.