Fractured GOP struggles to exploit Obama's weakness

Right now, they’re considering pushing four issues: tax reform, energy, government spending, and health care. All except health care have been GOP staples in the past, so the challenge will be to craft Republican proposals that break new ground and are clearly directed toward stimulating economic activity, toward spurring growth that the Obama economy has been so desperately lacking. The danger is that the new agenda will come out sounding like Republican same-old, same-old.

Another danger is that the Republicans won’t be able to agree among themselves on what to stress. “Can you tell me the position of the Republican party in terms of what tax reform they want to put in place?” asks one party insider. “Are we ready to take a vote in mid-September on tax reform?” The answer, of course, is no. And the same holds true for other issues.

So unless Republicans 1) unite behind a single proposal in each area; 2) make clear that proposal will improve the economic lot of most Americans and not just some specific group, like Republican donors; and 3) push those proposals with single-minded intensity, the GOP could be in for another difficult campaign.

Doing all those things is particularly hard for a party out of power. Who is the leader who will bring Republicans together behind a specific plan? There isn’t one.