Is the GOP Punting in 2012?

Cathleen Kaveny, a professor of theology and law at Notre Dame, thinks so.  Over at dotCommonweal she offers three reasons why this year’s election is a “throw-away” by Republicans.  She writes:

1. Americans tend to go with one party for president for eight years, and then switch parties. Not reelecting a president is like firing him–not like selecting someone else in an open job search. Moreover, it is even more unlikely that a national party would refuse the nomination to a sitting president wanting a second term.

2. So. . . .
If Romney wins in 2012, he presumptively gets until 2020. Then the Democrats get their eight years, until 2028. Then it’s the Republicans’ chances again. In 2028, however, many of these “young buck” Republicans will be past their prime running years. They won’t be too old to be president, but they’ll be the “Prince Charles” of the party, so to speak. Chris Christie will be 66; Paul Ryan will be 58, Mark Rubio will be 57, and Jeb Bush wll be 75–he’ll be too old.

3. So maybe the Republicans are punting in this election. Mitt isn’t popular even with them. So let him have his chance now, when they don’t have as much of a chance, anyway. If he wins, great. Some people, doubtless, are hoping the tea party goes down (Ryan) in this election. Others are hoping that the social conservatives go down. But if the party’s in flux, they have four more years to figure out what their key message is and to freshen it up.