McCAIN AND GIULIANI
The people who run the Rasmussen polling operation reminded us yesterday of something they first reported just after Election Day: Giuliani is leading in their '08 presidential poll among Republican voters -- and McCain is third. (Condi is #2.)
And more bad news for McCain: In a poll at Free Republic that asks, "Would you be for or against McCain?," more than 90% are "against."
John's in trouble. At the very least, a Giuliani candidacy will split the votes of Republicans who are interested in electability.
Regarding Giuliani, the crazies and semi-crazies of the online right are split. Debbie Schussel loves, among other things, his anti-Arafat grandstanding; Philip Klein at The American Spectator's blog thinks he has a good shot as a security candidate (but Klein is responding to David Hogberg on the same blog, who thinks Republicans need to run right). And Terence Jeffrey at TownHall gives us a column called "Forget It, Rudy" -- but spends the first half of it praising Giuliani.
But please note the second comment in response to that TownHall column -- it begins:
"Just what would you give up
to keep Hillary from being president?"
This was the question posed on the Hugh Hewitt show by his stand in Jed Babbin....
The commenter who quotes this actually thinks it's crazy to compromise -- but the desperation of the question is what I find significant. A lot of people on the right are terrified at the prospect of a Hillary presidency. They think she's unstoppable. When it comes to Hillary, they're deranged. (By the way I really wish some of the cool bloggers on the left would start using the term "Hillary Derangement Syndrome," because that's what these people have).
And yet these people can't bring themselves to support McCain, who could beat her handily. (In a McCain-Clinton race, the mainstream press would display a pro-GOP bias that would make Bush-Gore look like a fair fight.)
I think they're going to be desperate for a winner come '08 primary season. I think they're going to hold their noses and vote -- the only question is, will they decide to ignore Rudy's positions on the issues or the myth of John McCain's evil that they've built up in their heads?
I really, really don't know. But I think they really might find it easier to ignore Rudy's positions, just because they want A Man On A Horse.
One more point: I don't know if I've said this before, but I really think '08 could be a three-way race, or even a four-way race a la 1948. The three most popular Republicans (per Rasmussen) are, in varying ways, unacceptable to the party's base (Condi's anti-abortion bona fides are considered suspect). Hillary is looked at warily by war opponents. I could really see a McCain or Rudy nomination leading to a minor-party candidacy by a litmus-test right-winger. (Tancredo?) And I seriously think Nader's vote totals will be more like 2000's than 2004's if Hillary gets the nomination and still hasn't repudiated her vote for the war. (C'mon, you just know Ralph will drag his sorry ass back into the ring.) I don't know who wins a four-way race. I don't know how the winner will be able to govern. And I'm not sure I want to find out.