For GOP candidates, worries about the party’s brand

In my opinion, the candidates are going to have a hard road to travel. This entire year the GOP has done a pretty good job of tarnishing their name. They were elected last year on the promise of jobs not only in DC but in states across the country. The fights that were waged in DC have had consequences for the entire party. I hope these candidates toughen up and deal with the realities as they are. We are in serious times, we need serious candidates.

Iowa is awash in presidential candidates right now, and for the next week they will be focused on turning out their voters for the caucuses. But a larger worry should be part of their calculation: how to reverse the damage the Republican brand has suffered in the past year.

A year ago, after their big midterm election victory, Republicans were full of confidence and anticipation. As Americans look toward next November, the question that many will be asking is: Are the Republicans really ready to lead? In three political arenas — Congress, the states and the presidential campaign trail — Republicans have left a checkered record in the past year.

For Republicans, the coming presidential election should be presented as mostly a referendum on the record and performance of President Obama. If it is, the president will be genuinely vulnerable, given the weak economy. Instead, Republicans have wound up making their party the focus of the campaign, to their detriment.

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