posted on March 15, 2007 10:44
Back when he was a Democrat, former Senator Lauch Faircloth used to say there were two things he didn’t understand: electricity and Republicans. I still don’t understand either one.
I especially don’t understand the Republican presidential contest:
- John McCain seems to be shrinking before our very eyes. The strong, straight-talking, independent maverick of 2004 now seems old, tired, beaten-down and reduced to pandering to everybody he stood up to before.
- Rudy Giuliani – a twice-divorced, stereotypical New Yorker who supported abortion rights and gays – is the front-runner.
- No true-blue conservative has mobilized the Ronald Reagan/Religious Right/Values Voters who have been the strength and energy of the party’s electoral successes since 1980.
Meanwhile, Republican Governors in two big states – Arnold Schwarzenegger in California and Charlie Crist in Florida – have turned into bipartisan-talking, global-warming-bashing moderates.
A poll in The New York Times this week revealed the Republicans’ angst – and the risks for their front runners, McCain, Giuliani and Mitt Romney:
- 40 percent of Republicans think a Democrat will win the White House in 2008. Only 12 percent of Democrats think a Republican will win.
- 60 percent of Republicans aren’t happy with their choices for President.
Republicans are still looking for more information. That’s bad for McCain and Giuliani:
- 41 percent said they don’t know enough about Giuliani. Wait until they see the pictures of him in drag. Or the clip where he says poor women should have a right to tax-funded abortions. That was exactly Jim Hunt’s position when he was Governor.
- 50 percent said they don’t know enough about McCain! And he’s been on stage forever – and run for President before. Maybe they haven’t figured out which is the real McCain.
So there is an opening for a social conservative. But can Mitt Romney be it? He may be too squishy on abortion and gays, although he has changed his tune lately.
Romney’s real problem is religion: 51 percent of Republicans say they don’t think America is ready for a Mormon.
That is their polite way of saying they won’t vote for a Mormon.
Here is my bracketology for the Republican race:
- Rudy versus Rudy: Can 9/11 Rudy overcome closet liberal/Rudy? I just don’t think the true believers will buy it.
- McCain versus McCain: Too tired and too untrustworthy for the true believers. Out in the first round.
- Romney versus Religion: Romney has to give a JFK-like Houston speech. My guess is he’s no JFK, but grovels enough to be acceptable.
- The Smurfs: Somebody emerges from the Huckabee-Brownbeck pack to give Romney a run to the Right.
In the end, I predict Romney wins – then loses to Hillary in the general election.
I hope I’m right. Because if Rudy wins the nomination, he could win the election.
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