Now McCain and Theocons Are Both Crashing
by Chris Bowers, Mon Feb 19, 2007 at 11:54:42 AM EST
Jonathan is right that we still have more work to do on McCain. The guy is calling for Roe to be overturned, his speaking before creationist conferences, calling for abstinence only education, and generally sucking up to the hard, social conservative right as much as possible. He needs to continually be exposed for his pandering, flip-flopping, and conservative excesses, all of which fly directly against his uuterly false national image as an independent, principled, moderate maverick.
However, we should also celebrate what appears to be a continuing McCain crash in popularity. Look at these trendlines in head-to-head matchup with Giuliani for the Republican nomination:
FOX News/Opinion Dynamics Poll. Feb. 13-14, 2007. N=900 registered voters nationwide. Results below are among Republican voters.As I noted last week, McCain's support among Republicans is crashing. He dropped 23 points relative to Giuliani in only two months. That is the sort of crash in support that only occurs after losing a key primary, or after a scandal erupts. In this case, the "scandal" appears to simply have been McCain's loud and overt support of escalation. (Oh, and the anti-McCain googlebomb on escalation is still at #8 on searches for McCain, and #12 on searches for John McCain. Reports of its death have been greatly exaggerated). If McCain is finished, that takes one of the two major Republican threats to win in 2008 off the table. A great step forward indeed.
"If John McCain and [see below] were the only choices in the Republican primary, how would you vote?"
But McCain isn't the only one who is crashing--the influence of the theocon base over the Republican Party is also in real jeopardy. Over the weekend, Jerome was absolutely correct when he wrote that Giuliani is the Republican frontrunner right now. In fact, I imagine that Giuliani will continue to be so for some time. It is funny, actually, that even after the base-appeasing, base-turnout strategy completely destroyed Republicans in Congress during the 2005-2006 cycle, every single Republican candidate except Giuliani is still trying to follow it at the start of the primary season (I guess the Republican insistence on sticking with failed strategy has no bounds). While virtually every pundit claims that Giuliani has little to no chance of winning the Republican nomination because he is no a "social" conservative, in the end that may be one of the exact reasons why he wins the Republican nomination. Consider, for example, that only a little over 60% of Bush voters self-identified as pro-
While I certainly fear his candidacy at least somewhat, as right now he is the strongest potential Republican nominee in the general election, I also love the idea of a powerless theocon base and a potential split in the Republican coalition. Can you imagine the wingnut freakout if Giuliani is the Republican nominee? It sure would be sweet to see the theocons bumped from what was at least a discursive, if not an actual, position of total power over American politics, to marginalized, Bizarro Naderites in the span of just three years. With no one to articulate the social conservative position, a general election featuring Giuliani would potentially shift the political center of this country quite far to the left. As long as Giuliani ended up losing the general, that would be a great victory for the progressive movement.