Friday, September 14, 2007


You remember Mitt Romney's forceful condemnation of the MoveOn ad, don't you?

And Fred Thompson's?

And John McCain's?

No? Well, they're all here. But you don't remember them, do you? You've probably noticed only one GOP candidate's foot-stamping phony outrage at the ad, because, among the Republican candidates, Rudolph Giuliani owns this issue. He's obsessed with it. Here's the latest:

Mr. Giuliani, a Republican presidential candidate, sought -- and received -- space in Friday editions of [The New York Times] for an advertisement in which he praises General Petraeus. Neither the Giuliani campaign nor The Times's advertising department would disclose the price.

..."We are going to ask The New York Times to allow us tomorrow to print an ad that will obviously take the opposite view," Mr. Giuliani said. He said The Times gave a "discounted" rate to, which had expressed the "very excessive left-wing side of this dispute." ...

I've been telling you for a long time to watch out, because Giuliani is a sick, driven bastard who can win this nomination, and can also win the general election. You want to know why I didn't tuck in my napkin and settle in for a serving of crow when polls started showing that Giuliani was beginning to slip? This is why. He wants it more. For the nomination fight, at least, he knows that there's really only one hot-button issue -- 9/11 morphing into the Iraq War morphing into the sense that "Islamofascists" and stab-in-the-back Democrats are two faces of the same enemy -- and he continues to think, "That issue is mine." He's defending it like a gang leader; it's his turf.

And the guy who was breathing down his neck in those polls? Here's what Peggy Noonan said a few months ago:

In a series of pointed columns, commentaries and podcasts, Mr. Thompson has been talking about things conservatives actually talk about. Shouldn't homeowners have the right to own a gun? Isn't it bad that colleges don't teach military history? How about that Sarkozy--good news, isn't it?

Yeah, once upon a time that was Thompson's secret strategy -- writing little online essays about minor focuses of Internet-wingnut attention, like Sarkozy. Well, Sarkozy this, cracker-boy! Giuliani seems to be saying. No one's going to pander to Internet wingnuts the way I'm going to pander to them!

And that's how he can (and probably will) win the nomination. And then in the general? Well, after Hillary Clinton declines to pick Obama as her running mate, Giuliani will take up residency on Oprah's couch, turning back into Moist-Eyed 9/11 Victim.

And please remember what I keep telling you: As the Forbes magazine's Tracker notes, fewer than 5% of Americans think Giuliani is "cold," "mean," or "rude." (Hillary's ratings on those counts are much higher.) So that will probably work, too.

And then, as president, he'll turn back into the guy he is right now, a guy who sees himself as the man born to crush the forces of Pure Evil -- i.e., you and me.


Oh, and by the way, so much for the McCain campaign "owning the surge." McCain and Giuliani are big pals, but Rudy clearly had no intention of letting McCain out-pander him on this.

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