In American politics, the scariest leaders on the other side are those that have a chance to poach your voters. For the Republicans, the two scariest leaders on the other side in the last half century have been Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. Both were populist, Southern and very appealing to middle American, middle of the road, family oriented voters of modest means.
The Democrats have had a much worse time of it. Republicans have come up with leaders who are very attractive to a wide spectrum of voters. Ronald Reagan was the best. Everybody loved Reagan. I didn't because I lived in California while he was Governor but most Americans weren't paying attention to Reagan in the '60's. George W Bush was very scary. It wasn't too hard to see what an asshole he was but he had an undeniable appeal, in a lowest common denominator, let's admit we all pee in the shower way, to a broad spectrum of American voters.
I'm assuming that Barry O will be the Democratic nominee in the 2012 Presidential race. Right now the scariest candidates that I'm seeing on the Republican side are Rick Perry and Tim Pawlenty. I hate both of them but can easily see how they could get elected. Huckabee doesn't worry me, neither does Palin. They wouldn't stand a chance. Romney doesn't worry me because he might make a pretty good President, for all the people. The Republicans would never run anybody like that.
Who do you think could win the Presidency for the Republicans?