McCain Meltdown

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Well, many pixels have been scattered commenting on the McCain campaign’s auger into the flight deck.  The question for those of us aligned with Giuliani is this:  How does it effect Rudy’s chances of securing the nomination?

My first instinct, actually, is this is BAD for Giuliani.  Without delving into the details, I think we can stipulate there is a small but noisy minority in the GOP that just can’t stand him.  That minority becomes proportionally larger every time a candidate drops out of the race.  The more candidates there are opposing Giuliani then the more the influence of those single-issue voters blinded to political reality is diffused.  The last thing Giuliani needs is for all those folks to gravitate to one guy.

Upon relflection, though, it seems to me this doesn’t change things at all.  Why?  Because ultimately that noisy minority will NEVER coalesce behind a single candidate.  Fred Thompson has his own social issue problems, and he’s part of the Hollywood mafia, walking around with a wife who is, frankly, even more obviously a trophy than Giuliani’s Judi.  And that’s hard to do.

Mitt Romney has also been a flip-flopper extraordinaire who can only inspire reluctant support from this minority.  Also– and let me be clear that when I say the following I am in no way saying this is how I or the Giuliani campaign feel– there’s the Mormon thing.  There are a lot of Evangelical Christians who simply don’t think the Church of Latter Day Saints is altogether kosher.  Many think Mormons are even bigger apostates than Catholics.

So what this means is the single-issue socially conservative voters now w/McCain will splinter amongst all the other candidates, including the Huckabee and Brownback bitter-enders.  As a former libertarian bitter-ender, I mean no disrespect there.  Besides, there were never many of those folks in McCain’s camp in the first place.

So what’s left of McCain’s support?  The institutional men.  The former Dubya campaign folks, Senate groupies, that sort of thing.  Now, those people like nothing more than a front-runner.  So I submit they will split marginally in Giuliani’s favor, offsetting the marginal gains the other “top tier” candidates get from McCain’s social right refugees.

In the end it’s a wash, yet again countering the conventional wisdom, in this care that more candidates is better for Giuliani.

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One Response to “McCain Meltdown”

  1. Luther C. Hardy Says:

    Dear Karlub:

    In light of your analysis of where McCain’s remaining support might migrate if and when he drops out of the race, below is an excerpt form a missive to my RudyGroup that I wrote on Monday, 02 July 2007, just in advance of the announcement of the 2ndQ fundraising numbers. Nothing has happened since then to alter my analysis:

    “FDT appears to have reached his “pre-announcement” peak. He appears to have run through the “bump” from his “non-anouncement announcement”, i.e., the “announcement” of his “exploratory committee”, and the buzz seems to be flagging a bit. He will probably get another “bump” when he actually announces his candidacy, but I am convinced that he is essentially an “empty suit” who can read well from a script — which of course doesn’t mean he wouldn’t be an absolutely marvelous Veep.

    When people compare FDT to Ronald Reagan as a former actor, they forget that the Great Communicator actually had something of substance to communicate. Despite the liberal-media hype at the time, the half-dozen or so books that have come out in the last few years — particularly the one with Reagan’s own hand-written scripts for his radio talks when he was out of office — have shown conclusively that, behind the genial exterior, Ronald Reagan had worked out for himself a very sophisticated, tough-minded, and very personal political philosophy. The only other national leader in recent years, that I know of, to have done something similar was Margaret Thatcher. If — and I say “if” — the 2008 GOP race ever narrows down to Rudy vs. FDT, Rudy’s “tag-line” almost writes itself: “I actually brought Law and Order to New York City in the real world. Fred Thompson only pretended that he did on television!”

    For many reasons that I won’t take the time to go into here, I believe John McCain’s candidacy is essentially over. The now-dead immigration bill drove the penultimate nail into his political coffin. The final nail will, I believe, be driven when the 2ndQ fund-raising numbers are announced within the next two weeks. Of course, I can’t say how long he will deny the inevitable and hold on. I do hope, however, that when he does go, he will do so with his customary dignity. When that happens, my judgment is that the largest single bloc of his supporters, i.e., polling numbers, will shift to Rudy.

    Initially at least, FDT will get some significant number of those supporters — don’t forget, FDT was McCain’s National Compaign Co-Chairman in 2000. The two men have long been friends, and FDT supported McCain in the Senate on CFR. I think the final amout of McCain support that will actually shift to FDT, however, will be a lot less than most people think. Whether one likes his positions or not, the typical McCain supporter tends to be something of a “policy wonk”, i.e., someone who bases his political support on actual substantive policy positions. In my judgment, these types of people will suss out very quicky that FDT is an empty suit. When they do, they will flock to Rudy.

    Romney, of course, will get essentially no political support from former McCain people. Indeed, the only other potential candidate who might be able to compete with Rudy for the McCain “policy wonks”, would be Newt, and his possible candicacy remains, at this moment, essentially imponderable.”

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