December 23, 2003

THE THRILLA IN ELMIRA:

href=http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-ellis21dec21,0,6112425.story?coll=la-news-comment-opinions>The Senate Super Bowl of '06: Rudy vs. Hillary (John Ellis, December 21, 2003, LA Times)

The word around New York is that our former mayor, Rudy Giuliani, has decided to challenge Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton when she seeks reelection in 2006 - a matchup we almost saw in 2002 before he withdrew for personal reasons. Giuliani won't confirm or deny it (as recently as Friday he told radio host Don Imus he hadn't made up his mind), but two well-placed GOP insiders say it's "basically a done deal."

This would be the Super Bowl of Senate races and a dramatic "wild card" lead-in to the 2008 presidential election. Only one of the principals could advance to the next level.

For Giuliani, challenging Clinton is a necessary step if he hopes to be a national GOP player. He could, if he chose, run for governor in 2006, but that wouldn't do him much good on the national stage. He would still be a pro-gay, pro-choice "Rockefeller Republican."

But Senator Giuliani would be a different matter. He would have slain the dragon, and slaying the dragon would bestow upon him exalted status. Major points of difference with the GOP's core constituencies - like the sanctity of life (abortion) and the evolution of mankind (stem cell research) - would become much less disqualifying.

Red State Republicans - those from the GOP stronghold states - could learn to love Rudy in a New York minute if he beat Hillary.


That's just silly. It would be great if he beat her but he's going nowhere in national Party politics unless he moves well to the Right on social issues.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 23, 2003 8:42 AM
Comments

Wouldn't he be kind of old to run for President in 2008/2012?

Posted by: pj at December 23, 2003 9:01 AM

68 in '12.

Posted by: oj at December 23, 2003 9:15 AM

Since Hillary already is the de facto nominee for president by the Democrats in 2008, a run against Rudy would probably be the most nationalized Senate election in U.S. history, though most people seem to think Giuliani would rather run against Elliot Spitzer for governor in 2006. That would probably depend on what George Pataki wants to do, and I don't know if Pataki's record as governor would be enough to overcome the Clinton machine if he decided to enter the Senate race.

Posted by: John at December 23, 2003 9:41 AM

Were Rudy to signal more convincingly that he is ready to run for the Senate, I think Hillary (smart as she is) would see she has much to lose and little to gain from running in 2006, especially if she already has decided to run for President in 2008. She could announce she will not seek reelection and concentrate race for the WH. (This can be credibly spinned as not being out of fear but concern for the seat, etc.) This would be good for GOP in NY and would probably work for her as well since the strategy for 2008 has to be -- unlike that for 2004,, where waiting is best -- to establish an early frontrunnership -- like W in 2000.

This may constrain Rudy's positioning for running for the WH in 2008, having just been elected to the Senate. It may also deny Rudy of the Hillary Slayer claim (previous post), which would help him in Red States in any WH run.

So all in all, I hope Rudy announced, as it would force Hillary to make a decision, thus forcing Hillary to have to make a political decision earllier than she may have wanted. Anything that takes away "political options" from this devious woman must be good for the GOP and the country.

Posted by: MG at December 23, 2003 10:13 AM

Rudy is an opportunist who could happily finesse these issues,just as,say,Tom Dashle can,a liberal Dem from a conservative state.He says one thing in SD and another in DC.

Posted by: M. at December 23, 2003 10:26 AM

and was therefore not a viable presidential candidate, as Rudy would not be--barring a Bush, Gore, Gephardt, Kucinich candidate-abortion-conversion-experience

Posted by: oj at December 23, 2003 10:30 AM

I was speaking of him as senate candidate,but I agree he probably would not be viable as a presidential candidate.

Posted by: M. at December 23, 2003 10:45 AM

If the Republicans don't have a candidate with national standing by mid-2007, Rudy's social views probably won't keep him offstage.

And the problems with lineage will hurt Jeb Bush more than they will help him, especially in any general election. I do not believe he could win in '08, against Hillary or most Democrats (unless the party totally fractures).

And is Guliani a shoo-in against Hillary? Absent 9/11, his negatives were probably even higher than hers.

Posted by: jim hamlen at December 23, 2003 11:40 AM

jim:

They already have three--Condi Rice, John Ashcroft & Bill Frist.

Posted by: oj at December 23, 2003 11:52 AM

Ashcroft is too conservative and has been demonized the heavens and Rice has never held elective office,she'd be shredded by the Dems over that.So does Frist have ooomph or is he seen as just a Bush Flunkie?

Posted by: M. at December 23, 2003 12:29 PM

M:

First, they're Republican primaries. Second, stop reading the media and ask an American if they think Ashcroft has been to harsh in dealing with Arabs. Third, ask if they think not being a politician is a bar to office.

Posted by: oj at December 23, 2003 1:15 PM

1)Then he'd be in the same boat as Dean now.

2)I have talked to a number people who like Ashcroft as AG and would never have him as Pres.

3)These day,yes,I think it would be a big weak point for her.Would it make her unelectable?I have no idea.

Posted by: M. at December 23, 2003 1:24 PM

Unfortunately, I fear Condi's race might make her unelectable as President. I didn't think that before, but after what happened to Bobby Jindahl I see that there are some parts of the nation where the color of the skin is enough to vote against.

I really would love her for president. I think she'd do a brilliant job.

Posted by: NKR at December 23, 2003 1:43 PM

I think Jindahl's loss had as much to do with the Dem party machine in LA as it did with race,not to mention that Jindahl is an extremely conservative catholic.

Posted by: M. at December 23, 2003 1:56 PM

If Rice somehow got the nomination, she would win easily - the first black President is going to be a Republican and might as well be female, too. Ashcroft is not going to run for office again, and Bill Frist does not strike me as hungry enough. Plus, he said he only wants to serve two terms, and why shouldn't we believe him?

2007 will be a very interesting year for the GOP, unless Bush replaces Cheney before then. Don't forget about Julius Caesar Watts.

Posted by: jim hamlen at December 23, 2003 5:52 PM

As much as I admire Cheney, Condi for VP has a real ring to it.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at December 23, 2003 7:03 PM

I think Condi's great, but we have no idea what her domestic politics are. Also, black I can see, female I can see, black and female I can see, but black, female and single may just be too much.

Posted by: David Cohen at December 23, 2003 7:06 PM

David:
I wish you weren't right.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at December 24, 2003 6:16 AM
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