Rudy Giuliani, Not John McCain, 2008 Republican Frontrunner
Ryan Sager argues that Rudy Giuliani, not John McCain, is the Republican frontrunner for 2008.
It’s early in the game yet, but it’s becoming undeniable: Rudy Giuliani will run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008 – as the clear front-runner. For months, the media have treated their favored candidate, maverick Sen. John McCain, as the man to beat. But the basis wasn’t the polls, but the now-clearly-mistaken assumption that Rudy wouldn’t run – plus a willful adherence to a false storyline that social conservatives could never accept a Giuliani candidacy. Yet the polls show that Rudy is the favorite not just of Republicans, but of conservatives.
He adduces many of the polls, which do in fact show that. The reasons aren’t that hard to figure out for those who actually follow politics closely enough to
give a rat’s care who the frontrunner for an election more than two years away might be. Not only is McCain unpopular among many in the GOP base but a former NYC mayor out on a book tour has a lot of advantages over a sitting senator.
What about McCain’s “crossover appeal”? Isn’t he a better shot against Hillary? Nope. Pretty much every poll taken on the matter shows Rudy beating Sen. Clinton by a much bigger margin than McCain would. In May, a Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll showed Rudy with a nationwide nine-point lead over her; McCain, only a statistically insignificant 4 points. (And, in “blue” New York, where both Rudy and Hillary are known best, McCain loses to Hillary, as expected, while Rudy beats her in one of the most liberal states in the country – a state with 31 electoral votes.)
Now, again, it’s early. And I think almost any plausible Republican would beat Hillary Clinton, anyway (Quick: Name a state that went for Bush in 2000 or 2004 that HRC would likely carry in 2008). But Guiliani would actually put New York and California in play without losing the South.
To be sure, the man has some baggage that would hardly endear him to social conservatives. Still, 9/11 large innoculates him with most of those voters.