Conservatives Don't Heart McCain; Observer Shocked
So, the Observer publishes this piece revealing inside conversations McCain has held with well-heeled New York donors. In the piece, McCain trashes conservative talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh. Conservatives respond. And the New York Observer is shocked to find the depth of mistrust for McCain among people who vote in GOP primaries out in the heartland, admitting that "they are opinions that, to be frank, we don't hear much in the blue capital."
Well, it's about dang time they showed some self-awareness about their McCain myopia. Now, if we can only get Charlie Cook, Chuck Todd, and Marc Ambinder to admit the same thing. Part of the surprise is that these emails "don't exactly wash with McCain position atop the polls." But here's the thing: McCain isn't atop the polls -- Rudy is. Ask these same anti-McCain activists if they'd be fine with the pro-choice Rudy, and at least two thirds will say yes, and a sizeable percentage would say that they're voting for the man. So, advantage: Giuliani. Plus, those polls currently draw from a much broader sample than the 10-15% of the voting population that votes in Republican primaries. With this unique dynamic faced by McCain, drilling down to get activist opinion is critical, and it isn't being done in polls.
The McCain-Giuliani dynamic is like a sandwich: McCain gets the upper crust of Beltway elites and soggy lower crust of "he sounds good" moderates who don't vote in primaries. All the outside-the-Beltway meat in between is Rudy.
Seriously, why does this feel like a Pauline Kael moment? A McCain triumph with so much blood in the water, especially with Rudy in, is about as likely as Al Gore finding Manbearpig.
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