In a new column for the FT, I review the uninspiring prospect of the 2012 election.

At this rate, the US presidential election of 2012 promises to be a titanic struggle between a failed incumbent and an unelectable challenger. With the election bearing down - less than two years to go - Barack Obama hit the campaign trail last week, ostensibly talking about the budget but in reality market-testing his anti-Republican message. Republicans have been slower off the mark and will need to get a move on, but the delay is understandable. They have so many weak candidates to choose from.

Here is where I wind up:


In last November's elections, the Republican rank and file threw control of the Senate away by ejecting strong candidates and nominating duds they knew might lose. They did it with pride: they had a point to make. Will they adopt the same approach in 2012 and proudly hand victory to a beatable Mr Obama? They are thinking about it.