December 12, 2005


Giuliani in '08 might be an uphill battle against McCain (GLENN THRUSH, December 10, 2005, Newsday)

"In my humble opinion, Rudy wouldn't get out of the gate," said longtime McCain strategist John Dennehy, who helped engineer the Arizona senator's victorious 2000 primary in New Hampshire. [...]

McCain has steadily expanded a national team of hundreds of political professionals and volunteers. While Giuliani's admirers number in the millions, his organization could fit comfortably into a minivan. His advisers include Carbonetti, a former City Hall chief of staff; longtime friends Peter Powers and Dennison Young; former city Corporation Counsel Michael Hess; and, on occasion, GOP consultant Frank Luntz.

In a bid to pick up President George W. Bush supporters, McCain's backers have been casting him as the president's conservative heir-apparent in key primary states like Michigan, New Hampshire and South Carolina, where the senator suffered his most bitter primary defeat.

The senator's aides underscore the fact he's a pro-gun, anti-abortion conservative who gets an 83 out of 100 rating from the Christian Coalition, even after criticizing the role evangelical Christians played in Bush's 2000 campaign.

McCain supporters think it would only be a matter of time before GOP voters realize Giuliani is to the left of their candidate.

The time being Fall of '07.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 12, 2005 11:09 PM

If McCain is the GOP nominee then he better pray that Hillary is his opponent or else a significant section of the GOP base will sit it out.

Posted by: AWW at December 12, 2005 11:19 PM

I tend to agree with AWW.

McCain/Guiliani is a knockout punch, though.

Too bad America will never elect a Mormon. Romney is better than either.

Posted by: Bruno at December 12, 2005 11:37 PM


No they won't a few libertarian will.

Posted by: oj at December 12, 2005 11:45 PM

at this rate the msm will make mc cain the president by next month (just like they did with kerry).

so who would make a good running mate for the mayor ?

Posted by: uh huh at December 12, 2005 11:47 PM

Wow, McCain must really be in trouble to have his people floating all these pieces so early.

And mentioning Rudy by name. Jeez, their polling must look real bad.

As it should. McCain's a loser.

It's really not gonna be hard for Rudy to tack right on abortion and gay marriage. And after that what is McC to his right on? WoT? Not after McC's b.s. torture bill.

Rally those troops in the MSM tho McCainites, rally boys rally.

PS -- Oj, it's not only the libertarians who dislike McC.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at December 12, 2005 11:58 PM

I bet neither wins the primary.

Posted by: bill at December 13, 2005 12:01 AM

I don't understand OJ's fascination with McCain. I swear he does it just to get a lot of comments.

Bruno - McCain-Jeb could be tolerable if McCain only does 1 term.

McCain was the frontrunner and MSM favorite in '00 and look how well he did.

And isn't it generally agreed here that Senators can't be president due to all of the votes and speeches that they have to defend and lack of managerial experience?

Posted by: AWW at December 13, 2005 12:10 AM

I am (to belabor a point I've made several times here recently) a theologically-conservative Christian and a libertarian-leaning conservative politically, and assure you I'd far rather have Guliani in office than the megalomaniac from Arizona, regardless of where his current opinions place him on somebody's political scale.

Posted by: Kirk Parker at December 13, 2005 1:47 AM

Santorum: everything McCain is not, including electable

Posted by: Palmcroft at December 13, 2005 6:48 AM


Bush was the frontrunner, indeed the prohibitive favorite with all the money, the machine, and every endorsement and McCain still came within a SC of knocking him off. This time he's the frontrunner and he'll coast.

Posted by: oj at December 13, 2005 7:19 AM


Keep him out of the primaries and they don't even have any heavylifting to do. Let him in and he does to McCain what McCain did to W, push him too far Right.

Posted by: oj at December 13, 2005 7:20 AM


Obviously not electable since he's about to lose his Senate seat by double digits. Casey would be a good running mate for McCain though.

Posted by: oj at December 13, 2005 7:22 AM

The Casey-Santorum contest is going to prove to even Democrats that all they have to do to make a come-back is to lose the gun-grabbing baby-killers.

The counter-measure to this is to keep the pressure on these issues by incrementally moving the boundaries. On guns, this is accomplished by continuing to expand gun rights, as is being done while we speak. On abortion the same tactic: nickle-dime the death machine to extinction.

This way the winning issues are kept before the public, but on our terms, and those beople are forced by their base to fight in ground of our chosing.

Posted by: Lou Gots at December 13, 2005 7:52 AM

It's going to be an interesting whip-saw for McCain through the '08 primary season in terms of the media, since he is at best on double-secret probation with much of the GOP base right now. For a man who loves to give sound bites and has a bit of a temper, he's going to have to control both and avoid being baited into a "McCain vs. Republican far rightists" battle, where someone like Chris Matthews presents McCain with a statement/position held by GOP conservatives and tries to get McCain to attack it.

While it's hard to see the media being able to work up a story line where Giuliani (assuming he runs) is painted as the opposition candidate of the right, the media will find some Republican hopeful who they will try to make into this year's Pat Robertson or Pat Buchanan vs. McCain -- i.e. presenting him as someone who has more power in the GOP by controlling the religious right/paelocon right than he actually does, in an effort to set up a straw man situation for McCain to be thrust into as the candidate opposed to the fundamentalists during the primary season (Of course, if he does survive that and gets into the general election, he'll be portrayed as having given in to those people and having ruined his straight talk image, while his challenger will be seen to having held firm to her principles through good times and bad).

Posted by: John at December 13, 2005 9:12 AM

McCain is the rightwinger this time.

Posted by: oj at December 13, 2005 9:21 AM

But the media doesn't want him to be the rightwinger for the primaries, only for the general election. They'll try and make Allen, or Santorum, or (their dream GOP candidate) Tancredo into the "true" primary candidate of the right wing, and then attempt to get McCain to make some sort of attack statement that will be spun as an attack on all conservative Republicans, in an effort to split the party in the way they've been talking about the party being split since 2001 or so.

That's the trap McCain has to avoid -- don't give a dumb sound bite to the press that will annoy/anger the people who are already wary of some of your past moves. I assume McCain and/or his handlers are smart enough to know once the general election comes around, the Straight Talk Express will look like the bus Dirty Harry drove in "The Gauntlet" in terms of attacks by the media, but that will only help him with the conservative base. The goal is to get to the nomination when many in the party think the media wants him to get the nomination, which is not a plus with the faithful.

Posted by: John at December 13, 2005 9:56 AM

The media doesn't matter. He, W and Rove want him to be the conservative in the race so he will be.

Posted by: oj at December 13, 2005 10:27 AM

Hearts and minds -- McCain still has to do something to really bond him to the right to get to the point where the media doesn't matter. Shepherding Alito through Senate confirmation if a filibuster is threatened may do the trick, or directly taking on Senate liberals over war on terror and Iraq funding (McCain's been outspoken in support, but not directly confrontational against Teddy and the others here. Naming names in his many TV appearances will give McCain street cred with the core primary voters).

Posted by: John at December 13, 2005 10:36 AM

what evidence do you have that W and Rover want McCain to be it ?

Posted by: ward churchill at December 13, 2005 11:11 AM


He's already more hawkish than the President on the war.

Posted by: oj at December 13, 2005 11:27 AM


They already sent McKinnon to work for him.

Posted by: oj at December 13, 2005 11:30 AM

like when von ribbentrop was sent to work with molotov ?

Posted by: ward churchill at December 13, 2005 1:00 PM

"Naming names in his many TV appearances will give McCain street cred with the core primary voters."

I'm waiting for Senator Keating-McCain to figure out that he can't have both: continue to be collegial with his fellow senators and gain the trust of the large base which, based on past experience, expects him to betray them. When he starts naming Dem names, then we'll know he's serious. Until then, he's running a vanity campaign down there with the Buchanans and Robertsons and Sharptons and Jacksons.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at December 13, 2005 1:18 PM


Bob Dole did it rather easily when it was his turn.

Posted by: oj at December 13, 2005 1:28 PM

"more hawkish than W on the war"

You mean by calling for significant increases in troops in Iraq (against what everyone else is saying) and pushing anti-torture anti-US troop measures?

"Mckinnon to work for him"

Saying someone's election is inevitable because some political pro is working for him is a bit much.

"Bob Dole did it rather easily when it was his turn"

Dole, who didn't antagonize the GOP base (and didn't energize them either), got in the low 40s of the vote. McCain has antagonized the GOP base and will need to do some serious fence mending or hope GOPers vote against the Dem candidate (i.e. Hillary) than sit home.

Posted by: AWW at December 13, 2005 1:41 PM



No, that's how you know W and Rove are on board. He's inevitable because the GOP is hierarchical at the presidential level--the underdog never wins.

Dole got the nomination easily. You think McCain loses to Hillary?

Posted by: oj at December 13, 2005 1:51 PM

No one really expected Dole to win in '96 so he was a safe candidate that would generate a respectable showing.

McCain probably doesn't lose to Hillary unless the GOP in general is tanking because anti-Hillary fever will help any GOP candidate. Against a less controversial candidate McCain might not win. My point is that when the MSM turns on McCain (and they will) his support among independents and moderate Dems will drop considerably and he won't have a solid GOP base to fall back on.

Posted by: AWW at December 13, 2005 2:55 PM

Something else McCain has going for him--he's all over the place helping Republican candidates. He's the only Presidential candidate who's already contacted the Dist. 1 challenger here in WA, and you can't spit without hitting a candidate he's done similar things for. Of course, occasionally he misfires, as in the CA race this year--but he's collecting chits like no one else, and those chits will be worth plenty.

My main condition for supporting McCain has always been that he become a better Party Man. He's doing it. Now he just needs to pick Jeb as a running mate & agree to only serve 1 term, and I'll be totally in the tank.

Posted by: Timothy at December 13, 2005 2:56 PM

What still strikes me as most unusual is how many of my Rolodx full of theocon contacts fall into the same category as Kirk Parker in his comment above.

Everyone almost universally assumes that Rudy can make his pro0choice/gay marriage problems go away by simply coming out for federalsm, or otherwise fuzzing up his position by saying he had to reflect the will of New York voters. Not sure I buy that that would work so easily, but just about every time I have one of these conversations, I hear some variation of that theme. The distrust of these folks of McCain is palpable-- and I think a lot of them just aren't going to be won over as easily as OJ thinks.

Posted by: Dan at December 13, 2005 4:10 PM

Santorum looks like a mealy mouthed wimp and comes across as much too earnest.

Also haven't we been saying that senators or representatives don't make good executives and we should be looking for governors or people with administrative experience.

General Honore comes to mind.

Posted by: erp at December 13, 2005 4:59 PM


Rudy's good about that too, though there are districts where he doesn't get asked, unlike McCain.

Posted by: oj at December 13, 2005 5:02 PM


Everyone thought the '96 nominee would win, until '96. Dole won because it was his turn, not because no one wanted it.

Posted by: oj at December 13, 2005 5:03 PM

Generals are bad candidates and generally bad presidents--politicians and bureaucrats don't behave like subordinates..

Posted by: oj at December 13, 2005 5:06 PM

OJ, come now. Nobody though Clinton was going to lose by February 1996. Once Newt and Dole began their hissy fights, and Congress took it on the chin for the shutdown, Clinton started to climb in the polls and he never really looked back. And by the end of the summer, it was evident that the GOP wasn't going to lose Congress, so 1996 was about as inconsequential election as we remember. The only notables were that Clinton did not win a majority, and the GOP gained in the Senate. Yawn.

Posted by: jim hamlen at December 13, 2005 7:33 PM


Exactly. By February no one can get into a race. The field sets by summer the year before.

Posted by: oj at December 13, 2005 7:42 PM

If Rudy wants it, its his turn, not McCain's.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at December 13, 2005 7:52 PM


He's never run for anything but mayor--that's not how the GOP nod works.

Posted by: oj at December 13, 2005 8:00 PM

mayor of new york city is more responsibility than all of new england put together, and is bigger than any state not in the top 8.

Posted by: noam chomsky at December 13, 2005 8:23 PM

atypical electorate.

Posted by: oj at December 13, 2005 10:10 PM


Dwight David Eisenhower.

Condoleezza Rice.

'nuff said.

Posted by: jim hamlen at December 13, 2005 10:13 PM

Yes, Ike wasn't much of a president.

Posted by: oj at December 13, 2005 10:20 PM

Your earlier remark made no mention of quality, and Eisenhower was certainly better than what followed.

While NYC is atypical with respect to the red-blue divide, wouldn't you think that the competing interests within the city are reasonable representations of the various groups in American politics overall? The unions, the banks & investment houses, the gays, the minorities, the cops and firemen, the small business and entreprenuerial types, the professional left, the bleeding hearts, the artsy crowd, the Catholics, the Muslims, the Jews, the Yankee fans? :>)

NYC has it all, except farmers, ranchers, and timber barons.

Posted by: jim hamlen at December 13, 2005 11:12 PM


Generals are bad candidates and generally bad presidents--politicians and bureaucrats don't behave like subordinates..

Posted by: oj at December 14, 2005 7:54 AM

So you hold with Truman's view of Eisenhower? Very interesting.

But wrong.

Posted by: jim hamlen at December 14, 2005 10:51 AM

No, Ike wasn't much of a president for the exact same reason as Truman, JFK, LBJ, Nixon, Ford & Carter.

Posted by: oj at December 14, 2005 11:24 AM

... and that reason is they're all -- men who weren't generals? Whot?

Posted by: erp at December 14, 2005 4:07 PM