Six points of general consensus among the reporters, strategists and analysts that were present at the Dole Institute.
1. Obama will have a relatively long honeymoon period, and the public will be inclined to be relatively sympathetic toward him.
1a. The Democrats’ largest problem is with the public perception of their Congressional leadership.
2. Obama, politically speaking, has handled his transition very well. The Republicans on the panel felt extremely reassured by appointments like Jim Jones and Robert Gates. This bought Obama a huge amount of political capital.
3. The Republican bench is relatively inadequate at the present time in terms of candidates for national office.
3a. On the other hand, the 2012 Presidential cycle is already being looked at as something of a lost cause. Some of the stronger candidates — both known and unknown — might want to wait until 2016 to run.
3b. In the long-term, the future of the party probably lies in governor’s offices. If the Republicans are smart, this may be their major focus in 2010-12, as opposed to the Congress and even perhaps the Presidency.
4. Sarah Palin is, for the time being, the public face of the Republican Party.
4a. This is not necessarily a good thing for the Republican Party.
5. The compressed primary calendar is problematic.
5a. The compressed primary calendar is unlikely to change.
6. Obama ran the best campaign we have seen in a generation.