Rudy '08: Hotline Remains Skeptical
When even Chris Cillizza jumps about the "Rudy's running" bandwagon, you know he's made some headway. But the Hotline remains skeptical. Here's what they have to say about their pick of the Rudy/Newt in a combo #4 slot:
As the No. 1 and No. 3 in most primary surveys, we feel the need to include them as a combination candidate. If either runs, he is automatically top five material, so why ignore it? Until Giuliani hosts an event featuring fewer than 200 people in an early primary state, we'll keep our powder dry. He's testing "center of the party, center of the country"-type themes. But he has yet to convince us that, come November, Republicans will hunger for him -- which can go a long way in papering over problems with his ideology.The Hotline's position is this: The Republican base, fresh from a whipping in the midterms, will say thanks but no thanks to Rudy, and then turn to McCain in desperation. In their McCain analysis, Chuck Todd and Marc Ambinder write:
The current conundrum is that he's not with the party's activist base on immigration. . So we don't expect him to make substantial headway with those folks until after the midterms, when Republicans may well be hungry for a winner.If this isn't evidence that these two are in the tank for McCain, I don't know what is. Virtually every major poll that has studied the question shows Republican primary voters hungrier for Rudy than McCain. More importantly (because this is more of a leading indicator of "smart money" support), Giuliani seems to be building up a clear electability advantage over McCain, whose ratings with Democrats and independents have been plummeting. Rudy gives conservative activists a safe and guilt-free alternative to the hated John McCain.
Plus, has the Hotline thought of this: Screwing your base in an off-year is one thing, but the defeat of the immigration bill virtually assures the subject will come up again next year. How does McCain survive leading a floor debate on immigration in the midst of his Iowa Caucus campaign?