That said, I'll start off by really questioning his claim that the 1976 Democratic nomination field is similar to the current GOP crop. Why?
But all of them seemed flawed in some way, including the nominal frontrunner, George Wallace, who would have been an extremely problematic general-election nominee. Meanwhile, quite a few of the well-known Democrats declined to run. The candidate who eventually emerged was Jimmy Carter, who had only 1 percent of the support in early polls.I'm not sure I see this at all. First, the "did not run" group in 1976 was really, really strong, particularly Ted Kennedy (who almost knocked off a sitting Democratic president the next time around) and Hubert Humphrey, probably too old by then but a former VP, nominee, and three-time candidate. There's really no one like that in the Republican Party at all right now.
Second, I'm not sure on what basis Mo Udall, Birch Bayh, Frank Church, Fred Harris, or Sargent Shriver were "flawed in some way." Jerry Brown, too. Sure, George Wallace was clearly going to be vetoed by mainstream liberals, as was Scoop Jackson (I think; I really don't recall exactly how hawkish Jackson was running as at the time). But the others were, unless I'm forgetting something, mainstream Democrats with good liberal credentials, each of whom would make a plausible nominee. The makes seven plausible nominees who entered the primaries without, as far as I know, a serious flaw as far as nomination politics are concerned.
In the event, 1976 was just a bizarre nomination season, as Democrats hadn't quite learned yet how to organize themselves within the new system, and Jimmy Carter basically lucked into the nomination as a personal factional candidate. So even if the field was similar, it wouldn't really tell us much about the 2012 Republican process. But I just don't see it as similar at all.