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April 15, 2007

How the Other Half Campaigns

by Nicholas Beaudrot of Electoral Math

Like Ed Kilgore, I'm having a hard time trying to unpack what's going on in the Republican Primary field. It's hard to forecast how any of the Three Stooges will win the hearts and minds of both the anti-tax wing of the party and the pro-life wing of the party, especially the frontrunner in the national polls, Rudy Giuliani (R-NY). Kilgore thinks that Giuliani's liabilities with are insurmountable:

At a minimum, Giuliani is going to face a nasty, scorched-earth demonization effort far more intense than the one that brought down John McCain in 2000, while providing a lot more raw material to work with than McCain ever did. You can count on it.

On the surface, that seems plausible. But there's a key missing ingredient: who's going to make the case against Giuliani? McCain and Romney both have records and public statements that, were Giuliani not running, would make them the social moderates in the race. And even Fred Thompson has undergone an election year conversion. But it's still very early in the race, so each candidate has plenty of time to convince the Republican electorate that he's the one who's really seen the light, and the others' are just faking it to win an election.

April 15, 2007 | Permalink

Comments

Hagel. Hagel. Hagel.

Posted by: Stephen | Apr 15, 2007 9:16:40 PM

But Hagel is against the war and has criticized Bush.

Posted by: Nicholas Beaudrot | Apr 15, 2007 9:21:31 PM

I think the thing to keep in mind here is that the GOP decision-making process is different than what liberals do; we don't really understand why they pick who they pick, because, let's face it, we wouldn't pick any of them. I never voted for Giuliani, and had I been here in Mass then, I would have campaigned against Romney with both hands. I think Giuliani's personal issues will be deeply problematic from some family values types, I think Romney's Mormonism will alienate evangelicals, and I think McCain's contradictions all but do him in... but really, what do I know? I could see Giuliani - badly damaged - pulling it out. I could see Romney's money papering over his problems, and I could see Fred Thompson pull a quasi-Reagan thing that would allow the Republicans to be pretend that their problems are not with each other... which wouldn't hold up in the long run, but might well cause Dems fits. But really, can't we just watch them implode and stare? It's their disaster...not ours.

Posted by: weboy | Apr 15, 2007 9:31:44 PM

Given that Mccain has hired every person who has come within ten feet of a vile smear campaign in the last 8 years, I'm inclined to think that he'll be overseeing the dirtiest campaign ever. I'm no fan of Giuliani, as a mayor or as a president, but it's going to be painful to watch what they do to him. I can't really imagine he survives it.

Posted by: Sam L. | Apr 15, 2007 9:36:25 PM

It's going to have to be pretty damn dirty to erase all perceptions of Rudy as the Mayor of 9/11. That trump card holds a lot of power with Republicans, and that, combined with Rudy's ability to be pretty mean himself makes me think the dogfight, while ugly, might not kill him.

Posted by: weboy | Apr 15, 2007 9:46:07 PM

I don't think Hagel's criticisms are playing as harshly to GOP ears as they are to ours. He also has the advantage of a perfect voting record - I mean perfect.

I really think that the GOP nominee is going to be the person who can ride in on a white horse to save them. That's what people are trying to do with Fred Thompson, but he's exactly like the top three.

All it would take is one statement from Bush about how he's actually appreciated Hagel's criticism, how he can always count on him when it matters, blah blah blah, and Hagel's in.

Posted by: Stephen | Apr 15, 2007 9:49:48 PM

Conservatives hate Hagel. Hate him. With a passion.

Posted by: weboy | Apr 15, 2007 10:03:43 PM

It's going to have to be pretty damn dirty to erase all perceptions of Rudy as the Mayor of 9/11.

True, but they'll try hard. By the end of primary season Rudy Giuliani is going to be the corrupt, secretly homosexual, liberal trial lawyer turned mayor. And as much as Republicans seem to love corruption, they hate secretly gay, liberal trial lawyers turned mayor. Probably enough to sink Rudy's nomination.

Giuliani (and McCain in the general election) may poll well now, but I have faith in our candidates. It's gonna be the Three Muskateers versus the Three Stooges and frankly I'm looking forward to it.

Posted by: Eric the Political Hack | Apr 16, 2007 1:46:25 AM

You also have to consider the possibility that the powers-that-be in the Republican Party have written off 2008 and are actually looking toward 2012.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer | Apr 16, 2007 9:47:59 AM

It is amazing to me how political junkies can overlook the obvious: the powers-that-be in the Republican Party have decided that they want a Democrat elected in 2008. The leaders in the Republican field are all guys stepping into the vacuum, trying to hijack the nomination, because they think they have a better than outside chance, on their own personal merits, in a general election.

The plutocracy has decided that the country is headed for a big crackup, and they want Jimmy Carter, not Herbert Hoover, to be in charge. They want a Democrat to withdraw from Iraq, and be blamed for "losing" the Middle East and war on terror. They want a Democrat to be in charge for the hard landing on trade and foreign exchange, which will take American median incomes down 15%.

If the powers-that-be chicken out on this strategy, I predict that Hagel will be annoited. He's clearly positioned himself for this role. They'll assess the situation over the Summer, and make a decision by Labor Day. I, personally, think Cheney may be forced out, and Hagel made V-P, as a way of salvaging the last 18 months of Bush's Presidency.

Posted by: Bruce Wilder | Apr 16, 2007 11:25:25 AM

"I'm no fan of Giuliani, as a mayor or as a president, but it's going to be painful to watch what they do to him. I can't really imagine he survives it."

Agreed, except that I would change 'painful' to 'screamingly funny'. Rudy at heart has always been a mean-spirited prick and he will deserve everything that comes to him.

He will not survive wide circulation of the Trump/Drag video. The Republican Base does not think Camp is amusing even to the extent they understand it exists. They dimly understand, and rightly, that Camp and High Camp are urban elites acting deliberately in a way that is designed to offend the yokels.

Where you and I might see some guy with leather chaps and nothing underneath and understand "Oh, that is Bill. By day he is a trader on the Street" they see a guy with hairy butt cheeks making a mockery of everything they believe. The Republican Base is not going to get the humor in Donald Trump burying his face between Rudy Giuliani's boobs. Someone is going to use it, probably in the primaries and most likely by a third-party Dobson type.

And Romney is not far behind. If I was a mean-spirited guy that didn't mind getting his hands dirty I could set up an ad campaign that would take standard Mormon beliefs and make them look like a weirder cult than either the Unification Church or Scientology. And one thing we know about the modern Republican Party is that they have no shortage of mean-spirited guys that don't mind getting their hands dirty.

My personal belief is that all three Republican front runners are going to go down in flames leaving that opening for Brownback, Thompson or Hagel. With Giuliani with an extra helping of 'flames'.

Posted by: Bruce Webb | Apr 16, 2007 11:47:28 AM

Bruce - Most people think a man dressing up in a dress for laughs is hilarious. Think Flip Wilson's Geraldine or Milton Berle, the most watched man pratically in the history of television - drag is a popular entertainment. Camp works on many levels. You don't have to get all of them to think it's funny. Indeed, the less you see camp, the more funny it may be. Republicans don't mind drag; they mind the notion that those "freaks in dresses" they see at Pride parades deserve some sort of "rights."

So does Rudy in drag clowning around with Trump do him in? Maybe, maybe not. I'd say his support for abortion, gay rights, and his own marital problems are the real problems for ideological conservatives. Slapping on a wig and a dress? Colorful. It could work for him - indeed, it could make a rather mean man seem lika regular comedian.

Posted by: weboy | Apr 16, 2007 12:46:51 PM

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Posted by: judy | Sep 28, 2007 5:09:01 AM

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