Barone: '08 Nominee Will Break the Mold
When it comes to getting Republican politics, no one does it better than Michael Barone. In his latest column, Barone suggests that Republicans could break the mold in '08 no matter who they nominate, focusing on Rudy, and to be fair, McCain too:
This tension with the party base is surely a liability for Giuliani, McCain and Clinton. But they each, to varying degrees, have an asset that few presidential candidates have ever had: We know how they handle crises or adversity. Going into the 2000 presidential race, few voters felt sure they knew how George W. Bush or Al Gore would respond to crisis. We could only look for clues and make guesses.
But we don't have to ask how Giuliani would respond.
We know the answer. We saw him on Sept. 11, and during the days and weeks after. That's why Giuliani is getting support from many who don't agree with him on cultural issues. They're confident he'll be a strong and effective leader. About John McCain, we know that he endured seven years as a prisoner of war, went through torture and refused several offers of freedom. We know that he overcame his bitterness over his defeat in 2000 and offered staunch support to the man who beat him. We know he has a temper, but also a gift for self-deprecating humor.
Look at all the plausible nominees on the Republican side. All possess remarkable strengths -- and glaring weaknesses that are virtual dealbreakers for the nomination. Rudy: national hero/social views. McCain: elder statesman/cosponsoring virtually the entire Democratic legislative agenda. Romney: best persona since Reagan/Massachusetts Mormon. Newt: brilliant strategist/completely unelectable. Allen: Folksy GWB-like charm/Macaca'd. Huckabee: Baptist minister/tax hiker.
Whoever it is, the '08 Republican nominee will likely break precedent and get the base to swallow something once thought unthinkable. And that applies just as much to McCain and Romney as it does to Rudy.