The Democrats have their candidate for 2012. Republicans don't. Therein lays the big difference as we move into October.
Obama has the challenge of shaping his campaign for a second term. The Republicans have the problem of finding the candidate who fits the shape of their campaign of heat and hate for three years now.
Obama has to decide whether he heads down the middle, the center-left or the left. He needs to decide if he's going to follow the path of Bill Clinton, Harry Truman or something more like Franklin Roosevelt's re-election campaign of 1936.
Let's see what the Republicans are up to. They need a candidate. The Florida debate last Thursday showed they don't have a frontrunner that is ready to debate Mitt Romney much less Barack Obama. The Florida straw vote on Saturday showed us activist Republicans don't see Romney as an acceptable fall-back.
Today's New York Post editorial shows us that the media power of Rupert Murdoch wants Chris Christie to get into the race. So do the neo-conservatives, who seem to believe they have found in him someone who will carry their banner into battle, someone not named Mitt Romney, not Ron Paul, and, apparently, not the stumbling Rick Perry.
Their combined problem is that all these forces want a candidate to match the campaign well underway. It is a campaign of heat and hatred that wants Obama out of the White House. It's a campaign of negativity that needs a candidate who is negative and angry, and can show it in his face.
Mitt Romney's had it too good to be that guy. He's got a beautiful family, enjoys a happy life with them, and has a quarter billion dollars salted away. He's not your ticked off middle class guy hitting his pillow each night with anger about deficits, debt or same-sex marriage. He's the kind of debonair guy you meet at the club and chat with about college football, how well the kids are doing and how great the fall weather's been.
Chris Christie, on the other hand, is the kind of guy who just got stuck in traffic, got cut off by some cab driver, and stuck his head or at least his hand out the window to signal his attitude. That word is "attitude." It's a big-city word for ticked-off and not afraid to say so. It explains the courtship of Chris Christie and how much fun a lot of Republicans would have with him out there telling Obama what he and they think of him. Attitude is what this fellow is all about.