December 22, 2004


The plot against Rudy (Rush & Molloy, December 21, 2004, NY Daily News)

Conservatives continue to feast on Rudy Giuliani's misery.

As Rudy begins to distance himself from the ethically challenged, briefly nominated Homeland Security chief wanna-be Bernard Kerik, some right-wing hardliners claim White House strategist Karl Rove devised the Kerik debacle to hurt Giuliani's presidential chances in '08.

"Rove used Rudy and Kerik to tout Bush as the anti-terrorism candidate," says one Republican party player. "But Rudy is too socially liberal for the true-believers. So they let him shoot himself in the foot. Rove knew about Kerik's baggage - and that he could never be confirmed. But he went along with the nomination, betting that the heat would come down on Rudy, which it has." [...]

While some think Giuliani could still be a contender in four years, others believe Rove and Bush have one man in mind for the Oval Office: brother Jeb Bush.

"They're saying, 'We own the party now,'" says one source, "and we're not going to give it away."

Speaks volumes that people think the White House this clever.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 22, 2004 8:29 PM

I thought of this a couple days ago, too. It'd certainly be much better for the party for Giuliani to disappear quietly than to crash and burn in the primaries. Which he will do, mark my words, unless he gets serious about morality.

Posted by: Timothy at December 22, 2004 9:06 PM

Mr. Judd;

But like the Gary Hart incident, even if this is true then it's for the best anyway, as someone to whom this could be done isn't a good choice to be President.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at December 22, 2004 11:02 PM

None of Kerik's pecadilloes are anything new to anyone who follows politics. The relative ease with which they became public knowledge is disturbing however.

No serious person believes that Jeb Bush will be the nominee in 2008. He hasn't exactly wowed them in Florida, and his coattails have been small. He is probably the only name Republican capable of losing to Hillary in the general.

McCain is the presumptive nominee unless some weird revelation comes out.

Posted by: Bart at December 23, 2004 6:16 AM

If McCain runs I'll vote for HRC and move to France, asuming I'm still alive then.

Posted by: Uncle Bill at December 23, 2004 8:41 AM

Who besides political fanatics will even remember who Kerik is in 2008?

Posted by: Brandon at December 23, 2004 8:48 AM


That's just idiotic. The 2002 election was the best for the FL GOP in its history. The nomination is his if he wants it--evangelicals alone guarantee that.

Posted by: oj at December 23, 2004 8:57 AM

The FL GOP carried Bush in, not vice versa. The narrowness of George Bush's victories tells us that the Bush name is not a guarantor of approval. Jeb also ran against a cipher, a slimy trial lawyer from Miami, who defeated the genetic mistake that is Janet Reno in the primary.

Evangelicals matter but their support is not dispositive and if they were the sufficient cause of getting the nomination, the GOP would lose to Hillary easily. The candidate will be a non-evangelical acceptable to evangelicals with a capacity to hold GOP votes in the suburbs the way it was 25 years ago. McCain is the only guy who fits that description.

Posted by: Bart at December 23, 2004 9:27 AM

Bart is wrong and OJ is right as usual. The President won Florida in 2004 by 380,000 votes compared to 80,000 for the senate candidate. So, its not narrow in any sense of the word. Plus, look at Jeb's current appproval ratings. Not to mention the fact that other than Nelson, the GOP controls everything. One cannot say that Jeb had nothing to do with this surge.

Jeb can get the nomination in a walk but he won't try. He will be the VP nominee however.

Posted by: Bob at December 23, 2004 9:47 AM


It's dispositive in GOP primaries, as witnmess the butt-whipping administered to McCain last time, though he was the vastly more electable candidate.

Jeb got 60% of the vote. You're saying that was because state legislators ran so strongly? You don't really get electoral politics do you?

Posted by: oj at December 23, 2004 9:52 AM

Jeb's margin was due to the utter weakness of his opposition. He won because the state Democratic party has collapsed in Florida and had collapsed before he was ever elected. It's been fractured 7 ways to Sunday since about 1980. The various interest groups are barely on speaking terms with each other. Florida's legislature was in Republican hands(or in the hands of Republicans in partnership with conservative Southern Democrats('the Pork Chop Gang') who have since retired or switched parties) well before Jeb showed up. Claiming that Jeb built the Florida GOP is like saying that Terry Bradshaw made the Steelers into a Super Bowl team. Bradshaw quarterbacked the Steelers but they were good enough to have won with any of a dozen NFL QBs of the period.

If Jeb is so powerful and so popular, why would he settle for VP if he would have to run nationally anyway? It's not like he's self-effacing.

And if you were to look at George Bush's margin over Dukakis(1 million votes), Reagan over Mondale(1.4 million votes), Reagan over Carter(600,000 votes in a 3 way race), Nixon over McGovern(1.1 million votes), his 380,000 vote margin looks pretty paltry indeed. Keep in mind that there are more Florida voters today than back then.

Posted by: Bart at December 23, 2004 10:19 AM

Bart is now comparing apples to oranges. His cited races were landslide victories nationwide so Florida would naturally have bigger margins.

Jeb won't run mainly because of the nepotism factor. I think it overrated but it is out there. It would not stop him winning the primaries but might make a difference in a close general. As VP, it is still a big thank you from the party to his brother. If McCain is the nominee, he will be a one termer (at best) due to age/health. So Jeb get 2012 (or sooner).

McCain might beat Jeb in a general election but not in a GOP primary race. Review 2000 if you think otherwise. Unless the second term or the 2006 elections are a complete and utter disaster, can one reasonably argue that the party would repudidate George W. Bush's brother?

Posted by: Bob at December 23, 2004 11:22 AM


Who else QBed the Steelers to a Super Bowl victory?

Posted by: oj at December 23, 2004 12:23 PM

[crickets]. . . . . . . . . . . . . . [/crickets]

Posted by: John Resnick at December 23, 2004 1:14 PM

"like saying that Terry Bradshaw made the Steelers into a Super Bowl team. Bradshaw quarterbacked the Steelers but they were good enough to have won with any of a dozen NFL QBs of the period"

Bradshaw has been totally "misunderestimated".

Franco Harris was totally "mis-overrated". They did have a great defense though.

Bart is right, in that Republicans will have to improve in Blue States, but please come up with somebody other than McCain. I don't think he can even control Congressional Republicans. They hate him.

Posted by: h-man at December 23, 2004 1:19 PM


Why do they have to improve?

Posted by: oj at December 23, 2004 1:30 PM

"why do they have to improve?"

Because I don't won't to stay up late listening to stupid election results.

Posted by: h-man at December 23, 2004 1:58 PM

I think it is safe to say that Dan Fouts, Kenny Stabler, Roger Staubach, Brian Sipe, Dante Pastorini, Ron Jaworski, Jim Plunkett, Bob Griese and even the incredibly over-rated Fran Tarkenton could have QBed that Steeler team to 4 Super Bowls. Dave Krieg, Greg Landry, John Brodie, Billy Kilmer, Jim Hart and perhaps Archie Manning could have done the same.

The GOP cannot count on an evangelical turnout far above expectations forever. Also, there are several Red States which are becoming Bluer and Bluer. Virginia, Arizona and Colorado are potential problems. Some Southern states are approaching Black majority status(Mississippi, Louisiana, South Carolina) which will put GOP hegemony in doubt. Therefore, they are going to have to do something to 'broaden the base.' The impact of the WOT has only delayed this phenomenon, it has not derailed it.

Bob, you're making a circular argument. The correct question is why George W Bush did not win Florida, and the nation for that matter, in a landslide against a far-left Massachusetts Democrat with zero achievements in 3 terms in the Senate at a time when the nation's economy is improving, the nation is at war with a tenacious adversary and the Democrat is advocating appeasement and following the lead of the French.

Posted by: Bart at December 23, 2004 3:44 PM


How many did Tarkenton win?

Posted by: oj at December 23, 2004 3:51 PM

> The correct question is why George W Bush did not win Florida, and the nation for that matter, in a landslide against a far-left Massachusetts Democrat with zero achievements in 3 terms in the Senate at a time when the nation's economy is improving, the nation is at war with a tenacious adversary and the Democrat is advocating appeasement and following the lead of the French. offers one man's theory:

“Let’s talk a little media bias here. The media, I think, wants Kerry to win. And I think they’re going to portray Kerry and Edwards – I’m talking about the establishment media, not Fox – but they’re going to portray Kerry and Edwards as being young and dynamic and optimistic and all. There’s going to be this glow about them that some, is going to be worth, collectively, the two of them, that’s going to be worth maybe 15 points.”
– Newsweek Assistant Managing Editor Evan Thomas on the July 10 Inside Washington.

Posted by: Guy T. at December 23, 2004 4:09 PM


Additionally, George W. Bush is the only war president to be re-elected since 1944--Truman and LBJ having had to bow out after setbacks in their own primaries and his father having lost.

Posted by: oj at December 23, 2004 4:18 PM

McCain will not be nominated-- his perceived disloyalty has ticked the base off no end. And, my experience since the election tracks with a post Hugh Hewitt put up a few weeks ago. I am flabbergasted by how strong Rudy is among many of the evangelical types I know (some of whom I represent doing tax filings for exempt organizations.) They know all about Rudy's position on abortion, his divorce, etc., etc., but (1) they think he is strong enough to stop terrorism; (2) he has been a Bush loyalist; (3)they figure if Bush gets enough S. Court appointments Rudy's stand on social issues won't matter.

I have been around GOP politics since I was 14, back in the Goldwater days. I live in a district that has not sent a Democrat to Congress since before the Civil War. I have never seen the kind of loyalty toward any national Republican that Bush has inspired-- not even Reagan. Unless you are around the sorts of people who always vote in primaries, knock on doors and man the polls, you simply can't imagine how much McCain is held in contempt for being the go to guy when the media wants a Republican to take a swipe at Bush and how much Rudy is appreciated for his support of GWB.

Posted by: Dan at December 23, 2004 5:08 PM


Anti-GOP media bias has been 'old news' since at least 1964. Nixon didn't have wonderful press, did he?


Those were unsuccessful wars. We had Saddam in a rat hole. We changed governments in Afghanistan. All the media spin in the world couldn't persuade anyone that we weren't winning. The Vietnam and Korean Wars were prosecuted so stupidly that even the dullest voter in South Succotash was turned off. Also, Vietnam and Korea were wars where there was a draft. The current war is being conducted by a volunteer force.


Your take is fascinating. I live in a county that used to be heavily GOP but is now marginally Democrat, even at the county level. It voted for Kerry, Gore and Clinton twice. It is also among the 5 most affluent counties in the nation. The shift of the GOP to the Southern evangelicals has had a significant negative impact on the rank and file here.

My expectation is that Rudy's social positions and marital history would have been devastating in the evangelical parts of the country. My basic paradigm then might still hold with Rudy, a non-evangelical acceptable to evangelicals.

Posted by: Bart at December 23, 2004 5:22 PM

There was no draft for Iraq I.

Stop digging.

Posted by: oj at December 23, 2004 5:39 PM

Gulf War I was badly prosecuted, hence the need for Gulf War II. Old Bush went exactly as far as his Saudi paymasters would let him, essentially making American military men look like little more than mercenaries for the Saudi desert bandits. This disgusted pretty much every decent American. It was also over and done with a year before the election.

When this is combined with his disastrous handling of the economy, the general perception of an almost Carteresque malaise in the country(remember all that prattling about Japan, Inc), his backsliding on taxes, and the fact that Ross Perot challenged him as well, it is amazing the old lying sack of camel manure did as well as he did.

Posted by: Bart at December 23, 2004 8:09 PM

This disgusted pretty much every decent American.

Do you hold those meetings in phone booths?

Posted by: David Cohen at December 23, 2004 9:24 PM


Yes, as I said, no war president has been re-elected since 1944, except W.

Posted by: oj at December 23, 2004 9:39 PM


True so far as it goes, but you are dealing with a small sample size (3) and there are other variables which impact on the result. Thus, the prior examples are essentially irrelevant.

Posted by: Bart at December 23, 2004 10:52 PM


You're dealing with every example.

Posted by: oj at December 24, 2004 8:44 AM

But it's like trying to figure out P & C insurance for skyscrapers in Rapid City, South Dakota. There hardly are any so any information you get is likely to be highly unreliable as a basis for future predictions.

Posted by: Bart at December 24, 2004 9:41 AM


I don't have time to go through Hewitt's archives, but if you do, look for a fairly long post a few weeks after the election. He spoke to a Republican Federated Women's club in Riverside county, which there (like here) is really the backbone of the party. He used the Q& A session to conduct an impromptu focus group, and was shocked to find the crowd overwhelmingly for Rudy. Two of the reasons I mentioned-- tough on terrorism, loyal support of Bush.

If Rudy were to get out front in leading the outside pressure on the Senate when judges come up, he could lock the nomination up, IMO.

Posted by: Dan at December 24, 2004 10:04 AM

If they built three and all three collapsed would you have insured the fourth? Yet W won.

Posted by: oj at December 24, 2004 10:05 AM

Whether you would or wouldn't is one thing, however, your decision would have no basis in mathematics, and would be based on little more than gut feeling.

Posted by: Bart at December 25, 2004 12:53 AM

Not an actuary, are we?

Posted by: oj at December 25, 2004 8:24 AM

Actually, I am and that was based on a real world example I faced. What I decided to do was make comparisons with other similar cities like Omaha, Lincoln and Fargo, giving me a sufficiently large sample size to make an intelligent estimate. This was then rejected by the South Dakota Commission of Insurance because the basis I used was not solely restricted to South Dakota. You get this kind of intentional idiocy from Insurance commissions.

Thus, I had to play a few games with the numbers and got my desired result, using older data from South Dakota concerning older, and more fire-prone properties, and looking at building-years to make a comparison instead of buildings. The result was crappier than what I did before but it passed muster. Actuaries do this all the time. Does it have any basis in reality? No but you really don't have much of a choice. The Law of Large Numbers always applies. And often when your data is lousy, you have to do things which are more art than science.

Now if there is some structural or geological reason for buildings to collapse in Rapid City when they don't collapse in Sioux City, that is a different matter but if all other things are equal the fact that all three collapse tells you nothing definitive. Buildings in Rapid City, Sioux City, Fargo, Pierre or wherever would all be of a piece.

Posted by: Bart at December 25, 2004 11:29 AM

If every building there collapses there's a reason.

Posted by: oj at December 25, 2004 11:34 AM

But that reason may not be immutable. For example, when my dad started teaching in NYC, his first high school, which had been built when Jimmy Walker was Mayor, had a collapse. This was caused by the fact that the beams were not solid but made from sawdust. If XYZ Construction built all three buildings and they collapsed, you might ask if they were cutting corners or whatever when building #4 is built.

Posted by: Bart at December 25, 2004 3:01 PM

But you'd insure them?

Posted by: oj at December 25, 2004 3:05 PM

It would be a statistical anomaly and you would have to ask further questions. Keep in mind that insurance companies don't make money by not selling insurance.

Posted by: Bart at December 26, 2004 6:32 AM

They go out of business by paying claims.

Posted by: oj at December 26, 2004 9:06 AM

Actually, it's like being a bookie, you just keep laying off your bets. That's why the good Lord invented reinsurance.

Posted by: Bart at December 26, 2004 11:02 AM

The nepotism issue has been mentioned, and it's the overriding reason why Jeb Bush will never be a president or even a presidential candidate. However, his son George Prescott Bush might be, in another 20-30 years.

A few months ago, I'd have argued that John McCain would be the 2008 candidate, because the GOP picks the man whose turn it is. But McCain has pissed off a sizeable share of the GOP base. The base would prefer Giuliani, if he runs.... especially if Bush gets to nominate 3 or 4 Supreme Court justices, making the next president's positions on key social issues not nearly so crucial.

I have a short list of my favorites, but none of them rise about 5% on the site for 2008 candidates.

Posted by: J Baustian at December 26, 2004 9:12 PM