Already I'm reading political commentary positing who should be the GOP candidate for 2012. One post by Novak at The Washington Post speculated about Newt Gingrich as a possibility. Okay. I can see advantages and drawbacks to him. However, Mr. Obama's election probably signals a generational shift, and unless he has a dramatic and tragic gaffe in his administration (which I think unlikely), it's time for the post-Baby Boomers to be leaders in Washington.
I guess Obama isn't a post-baby boomer by definitinon - he was born before 1964, after all - but he seems of a completely different generation than President Bush, former President Clinton, and Senator Clinton. In fact, his triumph (narrow as it might have been) over Clinton in the primaries signified a fatigue with Baby Boomers. Their time is done, as long as Obama exhibits competence.
So is Newt therefore damaged goods? I think he is, unless there's a catastrophic first term by Mr. Obama.
More than speculating which Republican might give the party a tactical edge in 2012, I'd rather see the party work in earnest to define its core values for 2010, 2012, and the future. The Republicans are the minority party of this nation, which is fine. But the minority needs to have a core philosophy around which they can rally the support by which they challenge unwise legislative ideas from the majority.