Meme Alert: Weyrich Espouses the Litany
Paul Weyrich weighs in on the 2008 GOP nomination contest and seems unhappy with all of the choices.
This article mentions several of the meme's perpetuated by inside-the-beltway types regarding 2008. Let's take a look:
Arizona Senator John S. McCain, III is everywhere. He virtually lives at NBC. If not there how about CNN. And talk shows. And late night shows. Oh, how the media loves him. A maverick who came close in 2000, he is looking to make one more run at the Presidency. And at the same moment, former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani says he is thinking very seriously about running for President. Rudy, too, is loved by the media. How many times have you heard "America's Mayor" in introducing him. He is available to any network at the drop of a hat. My fondest hope is that they both run because they will be going after the same voters. Those voters within the GOP are driven by one issue alone and that is Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY).
The belief that McCain and Rudy are supported by and are pursuing the same bloc of GOP primary voters is simply not supported by the data that we have available to us so far (see here and here). McCain support seems to be coming from the moderate/liberal wing of the GOP, the Christine Todd Whitman "Republican Main Street Partnership" types, where's Rudy's support IS from the conservative wing of the Republican Party.
To cast aside issues of great importance from immigration to right to life to guns to marriage and many more merely for a theoretical match-up in the media is stupid to say the least. Polls I have seen show McCain edging Hillary by only a point or two. The same for Rudy. We don't know for certain that Clinton will run in 2008.
Rudy edging Hillary by a point or two? I don't think so:
FOX News/Opinion Dynamics Poll. May 16-18, 2006.
Rudy Giuliani 49% Hillary Clinton 40%
FOX News/Opinion Dynamics Poll. March 14-15, 2006
Rudy Giuliani 51% Hillary Clinton 39%
This is the first time in many years that neither party has a presumed nominee, although with the Democrats Hillary is well ahead at the moment. Think about it. Ronald W. Reagan became the presumed nominee after his close but failed attempt in 1976. So Reagan won in 1980 and again in 1984. Then Reagan's hand-picked Vice President, George Herbert Walker Bush, won a convincing victory in 1988. He sought reelection in 1992 and went down miserably. Senator Robert J. Dole was the 1996 nominee because it was "his turn," not because anyone thought he could win. Meanwhile George W. Bush had been elected and re-elected as Governor of Texas, and he ran for President in 2000 and won one of the closest contests in our history. Now comes 2008. There is no presumed nominee.If both of these potential candidates were on the primary ballots in most states the pragmatic voters, those driven solely by Hillary fear, would cancel out each other.I would both agree and disagree with Weyrich here. I do believe that Republicans themselves have no presumed nominee. However, after the midterms I believe you wil see a concerted effort by the MSM to brand McCain as the "presumed nominee" based upon his strength in polls and GOP's penchant of nominating the candidate who came in 2nd place last time. What a shock the MSM will be in for when the actual votes start coming in!
The problem with Weyrich's analysis here again is his belief that Rudy and McCain are competing with each other for the same voting bloc within the GOP itself. Regardless, after Rudy and McCain declare the MSM will go into full "Rudy vs. McCain" mode, endlessly trumpeting the 2008 GOP nomination fight as the "Battle of the 800 lbs. Gorillas". How many votes are left for Allen, Romney, Huckabee, Frist, etc..., to split among themselves if Rudy and McCain are eating up the majority of the vote?
If conservatives do as they did in 1988 the more liberal candidate would win. That candidate happened to be Bush '41, who was viewed by non-activist voters as being a third Reagan term. Bush was not really a liberal but he was not a conservative either. That is why he lost. The one thing voters knew about him was "read my lips. No new taxes." Then when he sought the largest tax increase in American history voters felt betrayed. If conservatives had had a single candidate in 1988 Bush could have taken second place in the Republican primaries.With Brownback, Allen, Romney, Huckabee, and Frist all competing as a So-Con candidate, 2008 appears to be unfolding just asWeyrich described 1988 but with perhaps even more options available to split the vote.
One that I find interesting is Governor Mike Huckabee of Arkansas. He is a former Baptist minister, who certainly still knows how to preach. I have heard him give spellbinding speeches to political groups. Certainly the religious right would like him, he is their kind of guy. His record on taxes is not good. But it seems he now has seen the light on that issue. If we are not to make the perfect the enemy of the good then Huckabee looks attractive. He is sound on most issues. He is likeable, like Reagan. He comes from Hope, Arkansas, from whence Clinton comes. No one was more outspoken against Clinton despite Clinton's continued popularity in Arkansas than was Huckabee.How strange it is to see the founder of the Heritage Foundation show support for a candidate whose has been branded as one of the "Republican's Who Love Taxes".
Of course there is one 2008 candidate who can unite the GOP- a candidate who is: the most popular politician in America, the most accomplished conservative in the country, and who is the most acceptable 2008 candidate to his fellow Republicans by a large margin.