National Journal Grudgingly Accepts Rudy's Rise
I remember when National Journal wouldn't even admit that Rudy was one of the top 5 candidates for the nomination. Now, he's cracked into their top 3, with an assist from George "Macaca" Allen -- who may not even run.
Sure, National Journal still has a warped focus on gatekeeper support and endorsements -- trumping the buzz, grassroots momentum, and polls that tend to cause establishment support. But slowly, they're coming around:
The best-case scenario: (a) Bush's base is locked to the president because of terrorism; (b) Giuliani is the natural heir on security; (c) Social conservatives don't know Giuliani's past or choose to ignore it; (d) He looks like the most electable Republican. We don't have answers to the mechanical questions (money, staff, base-tending, pre-9/11 opposition), but we can't ignore his (growing) national popularity and the fawning from bright-red conservatives. Prediction: If Giuliani gets in, he gets in late, filling that McCain-Romney vacuum.
Not sure about the getting in late part. Rudy has consistently said he would decide after the midterms. In the wake of Rudy's 1st place Iowa showing, the latest iterations of this seems like a malicious rumor started by Romney people designed to 1) stop already committed Romneyites from giving Rudy a second look, and 2) stop Romney prospects from "keeping their powder dry" till Rudy gets in the race.
As a new media type, I'm also going to get on the Newt bandwagon a little bit. Not including Newt in their top 5 is as shortsighted as not including Rudy was. With his legitimate break into double digits nationally and his phenomenal support in the blogosphere, Newt will set the tone of the debate even if he doesn't get the nomination.