Now McCain and Theocons Are Both Crashing

Bumped -- Jonathan

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.

"If John McCain and [see below] were the only choices in the Republican primary, how would you vote?"

2/13-2/14
Giuliani: 56
McCain: 31

12/5-12/6
Giuliani: 42
McCain: 40
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.

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-choice life in both 2000 and 2004. With every other candidate struggling to split that 60% as much as possible, Giuliani is left with a virtually guaranteed a plurality among the Republican electorate. Considering this, it will take a significant shift in both public attitudes on Giuliani and the strategy of his opponents in order for him to lose the frontrunner spot. The decades old Republican primary cry, "Caniddate X is too liberal," actually appears to be backfiring when it comes to Giuliani in 2008.

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.

Tags: John McCain, Republicans, Rudy Giuliani (all tags)

Comments

44 Comments

Giuliani's candidacy is a joke

Sorry, I can't see Rudy having any chance whatsoever at getting the nomination. People may have heard that he's divorced, but once they hear the gruesome details about his personal life and what an ass he has been, it will hurt him.

The shady business dealings involving Kerik and others won't help either. The other Republicans are not going to hand Rudy the nomination on a plate. They will use whatever they need to use.

And I still think his strong and loud pro-choice record will hurt him. He has backed public funding for abortions in the past. It just won't fly.

I think one of the second-tier socially conservative Republican candidates is going to break out of the pack and win the nomination. I don't know who it will be yet, but I'd put money on several of those guys over Rudy to be the GOP nominee.

Good think McCain is crashing. I was worried about facing him in the general, given how the media fall all over themselves to praise him.

by desmoinesdem 2007-02-19 10:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Giuliani's candidacy is a joke

I think that Chris has a real point. If 60% of Bush voters are pro-life, that leaves Rudy with a pretty big chunk of pro-choicers, and presumably he'll still get a sliver of the pro-life crowd. If McCain, Huckabee, Romney, and Brownback are duking it out over who can be more socially conservative, Rudy will likely win the nomination.

by clarkent 2007-02-19 11:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Giuliani's candidacy is a joke

But how many of those 40% are primary voters? I'd be willing to bet that the number of people voting in GOP primaries who are pro-choice is quite a bit under 40%. Especially in Iowa and South Carolina (NH would have quite a few pro-choice voters, though).

I still say there's no way. All of the independent institutions in the GOP coalition would have major problems with Rudy. It's not just pro-choice. How many GOP primary voters even know that Rudy is in favor of civil unions, let alone the fact he lived with a gay couple when he was divorcing his wife and got kicked out of the mayor's mansion?

by BriVT 2007-02-19 02:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Giuliani's candidacy is a joke

And don't forget the cross dressing.  I can't believe this is going to go over with people who were hyperventilating about wind surfing and green tea.

by Emma Anne 2007-02-19 02:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Giuliani's candidacy is a joke

If it's good enough for J Edgar Hoover...

by notapipe 2007-02-19 04:09PM | 0 recs
Re: Now McCain and Theocons Are Both Crashing

Third party or independent run is a real possibility if the GOP is really so deeply split.

by demondeac 2007-02-19 10:54AM | 0 recs
Who would 3rd party neo-con be?

I would say Tancredo, as Giuliani supports guest workers.

Any other likely candidates?

by magster 2007-02-19 12:07PM | 0 recs
Buchanan

He's got all the anti-immigrant and religious nutjob credentials Giuliani lacks. And he's got the crazy.

by msnook 2007-02-19 12:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Buchanan

Yeah, but no credibility...

He's a paleocon, and there are very, very few of those left, period.

Thanks,

Mike

by lordmikethegreat 2007-02-19 08:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Now McCain and Theocons Are Both Crashing

I think a Clinton/Giuliani head to head would be interesting and gives me the most pause.  To many he is the 9/11 heroic mayor and unless McCain does enough to blow up that concept, the general population may eat him up.  I give him the edge especially if the Anti-Hillary Dem voters decide to sit out the general.  I don't think SOCONS will sit out a Giuliani election if it means  putting Hillary in as POTUS. I also don't know how effective the Hillary camp would be in kneecapping Giuliani, who cannot be painted with the "vast right wing conspiracy" brush.

IMO a Giuliani/Obama head to head, would favor Obama. He is a saint in comparison to Rudy and Obama does this "person of faith" deal that may get SOCONS to cross the party line.

I don't really have a feel for a Giuliani/Edwards match up.  From all the polling, Edwards doesn't seem to be inspiring a lot of passion, be it like or dislike.  I know he is the net roots favorite, but outside of the net he seems to have trouble getting the attention of the average voter.

All said, I think we should be focusing our attention on beating back a Rudy nomination.  McCain is a has been.

by Kingstongirl 2007-02-19 11:37AM | 0 recs
Re: Now McCain and Theocons Are Both Crashing

I was thinking about Guiliani vs HRC too... I wonder who will win NY?  But yeah I think Guiliani is dangerous.  I'd rather face McCain.

by yitbos96bb 2007-02-19 02:09PM | 0 recs
Re: Now McCain and Theocons Are Both Crashing

Hillary wins NY in a walk. I'm not a big fan of Hillary's candidacy, to put it mildly, but she's genuinely popular here in NY. She's been a good Senator, and being mayor of NY isn't the best job qualifications for everyone upstate of that (meaning everyone else).

Hillary would pound Rudy in NY in the general election.

by BriVT 2007-02-19 02:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Now McCain and Theocons Are Both Crashing

Consider, for example, that only a little over 60% of Bush voters self-identified as pro-choice in both 2000 and 2004.

I assume you mean that 60% of Bush voters identified as pro-life.  Otherwise the paragraph doesn't make sense to me.  Yes?

by antidoto 2007-02-19 11:50AM | 0 recs
Fair and Balanced

We should start always asking the question, "do you think that Giuliani and Newt will be able to stay with their third wives for the whole campaign ?"

by msobel 2007-02-19 12:04PM | 0 recs
thats good

I like that.

by dpANDREWS 2007-02-19 01:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Now McCain and Theocons Are Both Crashing

I am having a hard time understanding the whole Giuliani thing.  I mean, I know Republicans like him because he bites into the whole neocon thing pretty hard.  But are they not even aware of his record on, say, gun control?  Where the hell is the NRA?

Seriously, is the right really going to up and surrender on gays, guns, abortion, stem cells, and pretty much every other social conservative hobby-horse in exchange for "the 9/11 mayor"?  Some of his social positions put him to the left of John Kerry. The theocons are going to be OK with that?

by fwiffo 2007-02-19 12:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Now McCain and Theocons Are Both Crashing

(For anyone who enjoys trolling the wingnutosphere, any of these positions of Giuliani would make for some high-quality fodder).

by fwiffo 2007-02-19 12:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Now McCain and Theocons Are Both Crashing

Ok, here it goes...

Basically, Giuliani makes the right wing think of Ronald ReaganL  tough on national security.. flexible on everything else.  He's got a great image, and has the charisma of a strong leader.  He looks, acts, and talks like a winner.  His views are contrary to many of those in the party, but he does not pander, equivocate, or triangulate those ideas.  Most importantly, they think he can win.  The right wing pundits love him... whether the base will continue their love affair with him, who knows.

As one conservative columnist put it...conservatives WANT to like Giuliani.  They don't want to like McCain.

Thanks,

Mike

by lordmikethegreat 2007-02-19 08:31PM | 0 recs
Interesting.

   A Giuliani/Clinton match-up would make me die a little bit inside.  That would be a low turnout election for the ages.  I think it probably won't happen.  At least one of the parties will pick a candidate more in line with the ideological base.  I don't pretend to understand why Giuliani is the front-runner.  Why would Republicans want a pro-war, social liberal, corporatist?  It seems topsy-turvy to me.  I would have expected them to choose a big business, social conservative who is against the Iraq War (Brownback).  I think registered Republicans have drank the Iraq War Kool-Aid more than I even imagined.  Crazy.  If Giuliani wins, I think we can finally declare that big business runs the Republican party.

by cilerder86 2007-02-19 12:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Interesting.

>If Giuliani wins, I think we can finally declare that big business runs the Republican party.

Oh, I'd say big business has had the Republican Party in the bag at least since the Warren Harding administration and probably since the William McKinley adminstration.

by billybob 2007-02-19 01:11PM | 0 recs
Epic battle

  It's been a battle between the religious right and big business, with periodic alliances.  Giuliani is big business.

by cilerder86 2007-02-19 01:13PM | 0 recs
Since Abe Lincoln.

Come on, the republicans started as the moralizing, big-business party. (of course at the time, they were moralizing about slavery and alcohol, these days it's abortion and teh gays.)

by delmoi 2007-02-19 07:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Now McCain and Theocons Are Both Crashing

Don't think for a second that the Theocons won't put up one of their own as an independent/3rd party candidate to torpedo the R's if Rudy gets the nod.  Faced with the prospect of a Rudy victory, and a Republican administration which owes them nothing, and with no political home anywhere else on the dial, Dobson and friends almost have to run their own candidate, throwing the election to the D's, and forcing the GOP to come crawling back to church in the next cycle.

by adamjsmith 2007-02-19 12:47PM | 0 recs
No.

Giuliani will appoint a biblethumper as VP.  Either Brownback or Huckabee.

by delmoi 2007-02-19 07:09PM | 0 recs
Re: No.

It might not be enough...

I don't know... the theocratic leaders are so invested in the Republican party... and they know that they are such a fringe group that they can't win without a larger coalition.  Whether their followers will tow the line is another story.

Thanks,

Mike

by lordmikethegreat 2007-02-19 08:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Now McCain and Theocons Are Both Crashing

McCain still scares me. I have P.T.S.D. from 2000 when I thought W. was tanking. I couldn't believe that he would be elected [which he wasn't]. But never underestimate the Bible thumpers.

Maybe we coulds hire Karl Rove. He took McCain out in a heartbeat last time...

by jnardo 2007-02-19 01:08PM | 0 recs
I don't want McCain to crash

I'd love to see the eventual Democratic nominee run against a 72 year old man that supports escalation in Iraq and who openly says he wants Roe overturned.

Edwards, Obama, Hillary  ... Any of them would win going away under such circumstances.

by dpANDREWS 2007-02-19 01:12PM | 0 recs
I'm with you on that one

McCain is much less of a threat to win a general election than Guiliani, IMO. On those same balanced sites where I noticed bizarre support for Guiliani among the right wing posters, those same people had nothing but scorn for McCain. It was blatant.

McCain's weaknesses are easily identified and that will translate to weakness among the middle roaders. We would still pull a huge chunk of the independents against McCain.

I'm really worried in that regard against Guiliani. It's time to start gameplanning an attack strategy against him right now. If we think the personal stuff like nasty divorces will be a factor, or that he can be dismissed as overrated in terms of 9/11, then we are sorely mistaken. I've already sampled those tactics for months, talking to tourists/Las Vegas locals about Guiliani. It may not be a scientific sample but it's proven accurate over the years.

For one thing, Guilani's pro-choice stance will not only give him the plurality in the GOP primaries, but it also yanks slightly in the general election from voters who automatically favor the Democrat for that reason.

No way the far right sabotages with a third-party nominee. At that point it becomes the most favorable of two options, not the best choice. This isn't the Goldwater era focused on long term philosophical foundation. Republicans are trying to squeeze as much power and appointments as possible before demographic changes tilt the country slightly against them for the foreseeable.

by Gary Kilbride 2007-02-19 01:44PM | 0 recs
Re: I'm with you on that one

Float the mafia shit to your Vegas people.  Bernie Kerik was an absolute crook, and there's no way Giuliani didn't know it.  Instead of firing him, he tried to get him installed as Director of Homeland Security.

Every voter in every region of America is going to be willing to believe that the mayor of New York is a mafia-influenced crook.  It happens to not always be true (I think), but in this case it clearly is true.

Start talking up that line and see what response you get.  I think it ought to work.  It relies not on his basic social issue positioning, nor on his personal life, nor on his 9/11 record, but on his behavior as mayor before 9/11.  It's a very legitimate and also undermined target.  Unlike the personal life attacks, everyone will concede that it is fair play, which makes a big difference.  And again, almost everyone everywhere is willing to believe that New York mayors are crooks, especially if there's good evidence proving their associates are crooks.  And Kerik is a crook.

by texas dem 2007-02-19 04:56PM | 0 recs
Re: I'm with you on that one

I'm curious to see the results of this informal polling.

Please continue to post here, Gary.  Your insight is very valuable!

Thanks,

Mike

by lordmikethegreat 2007-02-19 08:36PM | 0 recs
Agree with you 100%

The longer Rudy gets away with this "America's Mayor" B.S. the harder he will be to beat.  

by dpANDREWS 2007-02-22 11:12AM | 0 recs
Just wait

McCain has hired the Swift Boat crew and a bunch of the nastiest campaign operatives he could find including the ones who destroyed him in 2000. My bet is that he'll go after Rudy hammer and tongs, more so when he realizes he's losing ground.

There is so much dirt in Rudy's history he won't survive and the tough guy image will be turned around on him. Guaranteed. But that doesn't man McCain will then have a resurgence and rise to the front again. My thought is that Rudy and St. John will beat each other up so badly that a third candidate will arise from the mud and trump them both. I doubt it will be Romney, either. My guess right now is Huckabee, whom we have to watch out for in '08.

by mjshep 2007-02-19 01:26PM | 0 recs
Giuliani is the front-runner.

   Does that mean you will be doing internet search engine optimization for Giuliani?

by cilerder86 2007-02-19 01:30PM | 0 recs
Re: Giuliani is the front-runner.
Oh yeah. I want to finish off McCain first, however.
by Chris Bowers 2007-02-19 01:37PM | 0 recs
Chris, data on theocon candidates?

Do you have polls that show theocon candidates like Brownback or Huckabee are losing support, or not in a position to gain defectors from McCain and Romney? Otherwise, your title reference to theocons is confusing. McCain doesn't own them, no matter how much he sucks up, and Giuliani isn't the only alternative.

by berith 2007-02-19 02:11PM | 0 recs
Theocons and Giuliani

 My parents are both theocon Republicans. Whenever we get together they ALWAYS try to bait me politically, and last Saturday was no exception. This time I took the opportunity to turn the tables and told them that "at least I know you'll never support Giuliani, given his personal history". I was fishing to see what kinds of mental gymnastics and rationalizations religious wingnuts would come up with to justify voting for Rudy Giuliani. My parents did not disappoint.

 "He's admitted he's made mistakes. He's grown in his faith."

 "He now admits he was wrong about abortion. He's seen the light."

 "He's shown contrition. And anyway, the divorces were his wives' fault."

 "He doesn't try to parse his way out of it like Clinton did."

  You get the idea.

  The thought that maybe all this sudden "contrition" might have an ever-so-slight correlation with his decision to run for president registers in their minds not at all.

  I don't think Giuliani would have the slightest problem attracting the theocon vote. These people can rationalize anything. If James Dobson signals that Giuliani is OK, they'll vote for him in droves. Even if Giuliani is caught in bed with an underage male stripper.

  For fundies, religion is a political club to swing, not an expression of faith in a higher power.

 

by Master Jack 2007-02-19 03:20PM | 0 recs
Read about RWA personality type

Right wing authoritarian personality types don't care about personal conviction, only agreement. Agree with them, and they're happy. check it out.

by delmoi 2007-02-19 07:06PM | 0 recs
Re: Theocons and Giuliani

It seems like few New Yorkers are posting. Rudy may have run as a social liberal to win the NYC mayoralty, but he is an authentic authoritarian who had no problem creating a ruckus with the backing of the infamous Donohue of the Catholic defense of the faith (yes THAT guy), attacking a perfectly defenisble painting of the Virgin Mary as sacrilegious as cover for the fact that he was on the outs with wife Donna and had a Jewish girlfriend (now wife) and was living with his gay friends, as has been mentioned. He ran the city like Singapore ( creating all sorts of silly laws about public behavior and street furniture), had a POLICY of ignoring citizen complaints, squashed civil liberties to the point of having to pay out untold millions in court judgments, stonewalled the press exactly like the Bushies did after him, won the mayorality on an all but stated racist platform (take the city back from the black mayor's lawless minions) and was responsible for the atmosphere of martial-law policing that led to the high profile police crimes and murders. He potentiated a police riot that was almost covered up by the media and then betrayed the police when in office. His family itself (his father) may have had low level mafia ties, which he lied about.
His welfare chief said Work makes you free (the slogan over Auschwitz' gate) and he himself on taking office said that freedom is the recognition of necessity, or words to that effect, driving the NY Times, which despised him, crazy.
He had a policy of lying to the destitute, telling them they wer ineligible for aid, including food aid, and making it impossible for them to receive it.

All this means that he is McCain's twin  (actually, worse) in character & inclination & will turn right on a dime if need be. The only hope is that his skeletons are bonier and less easy to wish away.
His complete mismanagement of the defense of the city BEFORE and during 9/11 might well emerge (he did sound like a humman being right afterward though, leading to the present career)
And that cross dressing! You should see it! what a great picture!

but master jack is right: theocrats' principles are malleable and adjustable at will. Remember, pastor Haggard is now 100% gayness-free.

by brooklyngal 2007-02-19 07:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Theocons and Giuliani

Thanks, Master Jack. I was gleeful about Giuliani until someone--I Think it might have been Glenn Greenwald--reminded me that theocons are authoritarians. They will vote for whoever they're told to. Whoever the nominee is. And they think Giuliani can protect them. They won't care about his divorces any more than they cared about Reagan's, and National Review already spelled out to Giuliani how he can finesse most social issues.

Not hating gay people? That might damage him. But that's the only thing he has to take care of. We do need to worry about Giuliani--don't underestimate him.

by InspectorHound 2007-02-19 07:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Theocons and Giuliani

I think the point about Republican authoritarian tendencies are right on the money. Giuliani projects the perfect strong authoritarian image. Any of the ugly realities about the mistakes he made before or after 9/11 will be completely overwhelmed by the hero narrative, especially in contrast to Bush's pathetic response. His dictatorial, insensitive leadership of NYC will be viewed as a strength by the right as much as it is viewed as making him tempermentally unsuitable by the left. Theocons will happily ignore the social issues and his complex marital history because theocons are are driven by tribalism and not by theology or morality.

I've lived in NYC under Giuliani. In 1993, the continuing perception of an ungovernable city run by squeegee men made someone like Giuliani perfect for the situation. By 1997 the economy was great and, frankly, the Democratic machine candidate was so uninspiring that there wasn't much of a reason not to vote for Giuliani, which, I must reluctantly admit, I did. I wasn't directly affected by the negative stuff he did, and that's no excuse, but it's the way I felt at the time.

All that being said, it's McCain's turn and, barring any unforseen occurances, the establishment will salute and line up, leading their authoritarian apostles in formation behind them. I think the only question is whether the Giuliani myth is stronger in the mind of the Republican primary electorate than the McCain myth. The facts won't matter.

In the general against Giuliani, it's hard to know who the best Dem would be. Richardson is obviously the best qualified, but given his unfortunate lack of charisma, it would be a replay of Eisenhower/Stevensen. Once HRC unleashed the slime machine, it would be a replay of 1998 with Giuliani ironically playing the martyr all the way to the White House. Edwards and Obama talk a great game, but they haven't actually done anything like run a major city so the question would be whether they could generate enough enthusiasm on the left to counter the right's instinctive genuflecting before Saint Rudy.

That's why my money is on Wes Clark.

by ProgressiveChristian 2007-02-20 07:58AM | 0 recs
Tiny nitpick

[McCain] speaking before creationist conferences

Just to note: This is not true as you've worded it. If this about the thing with McCain giving a "keynote" for the Discovery Institute, I saw the Think Progress article on that too, and it was wrong-- it was an exaggeration of a Discovery Institute press release, which was itself an exaggeration of reality.

What is in fact happening, as you'll see if you look at the main page for the event here, is that this Friday McCain is giving some kind of fundraiser talk/lunch in Seattle presented by "the World Affairs Council and CityClub", and co-presented by nine other organizations, one of which is the Discovery Institute. Boeing and some health insurance group are also listed as sponsors, and the focus of the talk as presented on that page appears to be foreign policy.

Now, it is definitely a good idea to press McCain on why he is giving a talk copresented by the organization that represents the vanguard of creationism and the entirety of the "intelligent design" movement. It surely reflects poorly on McCain to have this level of association with such an extreme organization. But if you present this incident as McCain "speaking before creationist conferences", you undercut yourself, because this simply isn't the case.

Of course, if the event this friday isn't what you're referring to and there was an incident where McCain spoke before a creationist conference, then I'd be incredibly curious to know about it.

by Silent sound 2007-02-19 03:30PM | 0 recs
How is that a good thing?

Giuliani would be much harder to beat in the general. Unlike McCain, he's not sucking up to theocons in such a visceral manner (he's sucking up, but not publicly adopting their issues).  Giuliani would be much more acceptable to social moderates, and he isn't nearly as tainted by the war.

It's good that McCain is tanking, (and I'm amazed that people are paying attention this early.) but I would rather see a Dem go up against McCain the Giuliani

by delmoi 2007-02-19 07:04PM | 0 recs
I don't like it

Giuliani scares me more than McCain. He's less associated with the disaster that is Bush, less tarred by the monstrosity that is the Iraq war, more socially moderate, and not in as much of a lock-step with the Republican party. So disgruntled Republicans and independent voters who hate Bush would be more likely to go out to vote for Giuliani than McCain.

Plus, the neocons don't like McCain anyway, so if McCain wins the nomination, it's no victory for them.

The only silver lining I'm seeing is that somebody like Tancredo would be more likely to jump in as a 3rd-party candidate against Giuliani, whereas he'll stay out of it if it's McCain. But I think it's likely he'll stay out of it anyway. Those Republicans are mighty hierarchical.

I really think any of our guys takes McCain in a walk. We have so much stuff to use against him, his popularity's down, he's not well liked among Republican activists, he looks REALLY old these days, and he just stapled this surge to his own forehead. I hope it's him, personally.

by tjekanefir 2007-02-19 07:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Now McCain and Theocons Are Both Crashing

I think the points about Republican authoritarian tendencies are right on the money. Giuliani projects the perfect strong authoritarian image. Any of the ugly realities about the mistakes he made before or after 9/11 will be completely overwhelmed by the hero narrative, especially in contrast to Bush's pathetic response. His dictatorial, insensitive leadership of NYC will be viewed as a strength by the right as much as it is viewed as making him tempermentally unsuitable by the left. Theocons will happily ignore the social issues and his complex marital history because theocons are are driven by tribalism and not by theology or morality.

I've lived in NYC under Giuliani. In 1993, the continuing perception of an ungovernable city run by squeegee men made someone like Giuliani perfect for the situation. By 1997 the economy was great and, frankly, the Democratic machine candidate was so uninspiring that there wasn't much of a reason not to vote for Giuliani, which, I must reluctantly admit, I did. I wasn't directly affected by the negative stuff he did, and that's no excuse, but it's the way I felt at the time.

All that being said, it's McCain's turn (think Dole 1996) and, barring any unforseen occurances, the establishment will salute and line up, leading their authoritarian apostles in formation behind them. I think the only question is whether the Giuliani myth is stronger in the mind of the Republican primary electorate than the McCain myth. The facts won't matter.

In the general against Giuliani, it's hard to know who the best Dem would be. Richardson is obviously the best qualified, but given his unfortunate lack of charisma, it would be a replay of Eisenhower/Stevensen. Once HRC unleashed the slime machine, it would be a replay of 1998 with Giuliani ironically playing the martyr all the way to the White House. Edwards and Obama talk a great game, but they haven't actually done anything like run a major city so the question would be whether they could generate enough enthusiasm on the left to counter the right's instinctive genuflecting before Saint Rudy.

That's why my money is on Wes Clark.

by ProgressiveChristian 2007-02-20 08:24AM | 0 recs

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