If the GOP’s ’12 nominee was out there, wouldn’t that person already have a considerable following? After all, conservatives and Republicans right now are displaying unprecedented enthusiasm, energy, and engagement about the coming midterm elections. That’s largely why Republicans are poised to make big gains next month. But given this GOP excitement, it’s striking that — outside of Sarah Palin (and she could be more exciting to the media than to the base) — none of it has rubbed off the potential ’12 Republicans…

In 2006, due to his rock-star status campaigning for other Democrats, political observers could already sense that Obama would be a BIG deal if he ran for president. Ditto Hillary Clinton, whose march to Senate re-election was attracting plenty of buzz. Right now, the only Republican outside of Palin who’s even approaching the same buzz that Obama and Clinton received in ’06 is someone who has said he won’t run: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.