Ben Shapiro
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For well over a year, I, along with the rest of the conservative base in America, have lamented the lack of decent possible Republican presidential candidates. Despite the fact that he has run the most incompetent administration in history, President Obama remains a solid bet for re-election in 2012. Obama's frontrunner status springs from two crucial facts: first, by overexposing himself in the public eye, he has made himself larger than life; second, the Republican field is pathetically weak.

Mitt Romney has about as much charm as a Ziploc bag, and his support for Romneycare in Massachusetts should immediately put him out of the running. Though brilliant, Newt Gingrich is chameleonic and impossible to peg down to principle; therefore, he's unacceptable to many primary voters. Sarah Palin is polarizing; Haley Barbour bears too strong a resemblance to Deputy Dawg; Mike Huckabee isn't interested in running, and his religious background makes him a beloved target of the secular press; Tim Pawlenty makes Ben Stein seem colorful.

The Republican field has not been this wide open since ... well, since 2008. Sadly, the intervening three years have not cleared up any questions.

If Republicans were to construct an ideal candidate, he would have to be rich beyond belief -- Obama is going to raise $1 billion for his next election campaign, and no Republican candidate has the ability to come close to those numbers without deep pockets. The ideal Republican candidate would have significant name recognition with the general public -- no Republican candidate has ever won the presidency without significant name recognition going into the primaries since Warren G. Harding in 1920. The ideal Republican candidate would have stage presence, an intimidation factor, and a willingness to play dirty.

In the last several weeks, that ideal Republican candidate has materialized.

His name is Donald Trump. His slogan is ready-made: "You're Fired." He does not give a damn what the media thinks of him -- he steamrolled Meredith Vieira during his NBC interview with her last week. He can self-fund to the tune of $1 billion.

And what's more, he can win.

Pay no attention to the recent polls showing Obama crushing Trump by 20 points in a head-to-head matchup. That disparity is attributable to the public perception that Trump is a loudmouth with no true interest in running. The moment he declares in earnest and gets on the campaign stump, his numbers will rise dramatically.

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Ben Shapiro

Ben Shapiro is an attorney, a writer and a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center. He is editor-at-large of Breitbart and author of the best-selling book "Primetime Propaganda: The True Hollywood Story of How the Left Took Over Your TV."
 
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