Weekly Presidential Politics - 7/4/07
The ’07 Seven Candidates of Summer Series
Of the seven candidates that have a chance to be President, it’s former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani who consistently has the biggest leads in a party's national polls. It’s Republican Rudy Giuliani who most successfully matches up with Democrats in hypothetical head-to-head match ups. It’s cross-dressin’ Rudy Giuliani who has positioned himself as the Republican with most crossover appeal come November 2008.
Yet, of the seven candidates that have a chance to be President, Rudy Giuliani is the least likely to garner his party’s nomination.
How much longer can his lack of conservative values possibly survive the Republican Primary vetting process? Is the conservative base ever going to feel comfortable voting for a guy who is liberal or neutral on core conservative issues like gay marriage, abortion, and gun control? In a party that touts morals and values as central tenets of its ideology, will the candidate with the most troubled family life and personal history be able to overcome this reputation to be the Republican survivor?
Radio host and author James Dobson, who holds significant power over a sizeable conservative coalition, with evangelical influence greater than that of Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson at their peak, is on the record as saying that he, “cannot and will not support Giuliani under any circumstances.” This is not only trouble for a Giuliani nomination, it also means that should Giuliani survive the primary, there is a possibility that a third-party conservative would emerge to the right of both candidates in the general election. Clearly, this would cut into the Republican base, allowing a Democratic walkover, regardless of the candidate, in November.
It’s also uncertain how much longer Giuliani can scare the American people into thinking that he’s the guy that will keep them safe. A spotty security record as a mayor of a city is typically not as great of a security blanket as say, a four-term Senator from Arizona with military experience and tenure on military committees. It’s generally understood that Rudy Giuliani must keep the focus on terrorism and national security if he has any chance to win this thing, but a seemingly capable security candidate in John McCain, one who is undoubtedly more conservative and proven than Giuliani, would seem to be the better bet for Republicans.
No, the GOP will not nominate Rudy Giuliani. If you ask me, they’re just waiting for the alternative to emerge. No one wants to come out and support a McCain or a Thomson or a Romney if they’re just going to fade come primary time. As soon as one of conservative alternatives clearly emerge as the chief competitor to Giuliani, the base will flock to that alternative. Like James Dobson, most conservatives simply cannot support a Giuliani candidacy.
Finally, perhaps the most important hindrance to a Rudy Giuliani nomination are the early primary states. Iowa is not a Rudy Giuliani state. He’s also behind in Nevada and New Hampshire. Long story short, if he doesn’t find a way to win the early primaries, he’ll have a lot of trouble making up that ground down the stretch. He cannot afford to wait until SuperDuper Tuesday on February 5th to make his move. If he’s not doing well heading into that day, Republicans will have yet another reason to not support him. And they won’t.