Rudy: Still the Rodney Dangerfield Candidate?
Is Rudy still the candidate who can't get no respect?
At least for the National Journal he's always been, but things seem to be thawing... a bit. In its latest WH'08 rankings, National Journal's Chuck Todd gives Giuliani sole possession of fourth place, bumping Newt. For all the progress we've made in the last month or so, Todd still can't seem to wrap his arms around the idea of Giuliani's genuine grassroots appeal, or the base's stern refusal to nominate McCain. In this, he makes statements that are either intellectually dishonest or willfully blindered.
There's no sign that he's not running, so he's on his own with a solo spot in the rankings. Two words: Ralph Reed. Rudy endorsed him, raised money for him and even recorded a phone call for him. That decision goes to the heart of Giuliani's appeal -- his judgment. State party elites seem to like him and hint that they might excuse his... ideological indiscretions. But there are 10 regular voters for every one member of the elite. That aside, we can't discount his favorability ratings, national name ID and heir-to-Bush creds on terror.Huh? Is Todd praising Rudy's decision to campaign for Reed or slamming it? Only by reading his column do we see Todd advancing the notion that the Reed endorsement shows Rudy's "tin ear." I disagree. Two months ago, Reed was still leading in the polls. Win or lose, Reed is still an organizational genius who was deeply involved in derailing the Straight Talk Express in South Carolina in 2000. He doesn't have to be popular or even hold elective office to play a key behind the scenes role in the South in '08. I suspect Reed will be one of the reasons South Carolina '00 will look like a garden party compared to '08.
Also, Todd seems to be saying that Rudy is popular with party elites but unpopular with the base. Again: Huh? What ever happened to the wise journalists and party elders skeptical whether or not Rudy's enormous popular appeal will hold up? Have the tables been suddenly reversed? Hasn't Todd read the Gallup poll that shows Rudy way more acceptable to the base than McCain? Apparently not, because the Hotline buried that poll, following its intellectually dishonest assertion that their own Diageo-Hotline poll showed that conservatives were unfamiliar with Rudy's social positions when the poll asked nothing of the kind.