The clownish character of the Republican primary field obviously can only help Obama's chances in 2012. But ultimately, the key factor in any re-election campaign boils down to one thing. The economy. In a bad economy, all sins by the challenging party will be forgiven. And that means that the best way for Obama to win reelection is for the economy to start improving.
And on that front, there is some very strong news flowing out of the December jobs report. 243,000 jobs added last month, with unemployment dropping down to 8.3%. Is 8.3% the most exciting figure ever? Nope. But it is a sign that the last few months improvements are no fluke, and dropping below 9% is a milestone.
Again, with 11 months before election day and each month being better than the last, the trend lines are looking good. It may be that Mitt Romney (or whoever the GOP nominates) will have to win on the strength of his policy and personality. Good luck with that.