Giuliani Blog Tracking the likely Presidential candidacy of Rudy Giuliani

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Hillary to Pass on Presidential Race?

This rather speculative piece in The Times of London suggests she may forgo a run for the big prize to become the grand pooh-bah of the Senate. Captain Ed is skeptical.

I tend to agree that when push comes to shove, Hillary will be a candidate. But her not running is becoming a little less unthinkable. At this point last cycle, most people thought Al Gore was a shoo-in for the Democratic nomination.

I disagree with the conventional wisdom that a general election against Hillary would be a cakewalk. It would be easier with Rudy than with any other Republican, but I mark 2008 as "leans Democratic" because of the natural ebb and flow of the political cycle after eight years of a Republican White House. This is why even Hillary beats every non-Rudy, non-McCain Republican, and kills the "generic Republican" by 10 points or more.

We saw something similar in 2000, and 1988. In 2000, the conventional wisdom was that Gore was a lock because of the booming economy, but if you examine historical polling data, you'll see Bush was leading quite handsomely most of the time. Why? After eight years of one party in the White House, people like to mix things up a little. Similarly, Dukakis led the '88 race until Labor Day, when his staggering incompetence as a campaigner came to the fore, and Bush 41 pulled ahead. At least initially, the "out party" was heavily favored both years, and a case could be made that both elections "corrected" to a forward-looking choice between the two nominees only after Labor Day.

All else being equal, the Democrats should be way ahead by now. Even with her divisiveness, Hillary is even money to reoccupy 1600 on January 20, 2009. But were she not to run, the Democrats are more likely to pick a fresh(er) face that increases the pressure on the GOP to pick an electable candidate like Giuliani or McCain. Sure, we might get lucky and they could choose Al Gore, but his connection with the base is much shakier than hers, and more than likely the Dems would finally run the Clinton '92/Bush '00 playbook, picking a "fresh face" like Warner, Edwards, or Obama -- candidates who don't have 40% negatives going in.

At that point, the pressure for us to nominate a Giuliani or a McCain will be immense. And as a Giuliani supporter, I like our chances if that's the eventual matchup.

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At 4:56 PM, Blogger Dale W. said...

I think you're right that Rudy, as a GOP centrist, is in the best position against the Democrats in 2008. However I disagree that Hillary is electable.

Although a "rotation" tendency in presidential voting is theoretically possible, a simpler explanation for 1988 and 2000 is that the U.S. has become slowly more Republican: the last Democratic presidential nominee to receive 50% of the popular vote was Jimmy Carter in 1976; the GOP candidate got majorities in '80, '84, '88 and '04. This jibes with the Rasmussen polling which puts the U.S. political center closer to conservative than to liberal.

A politician from the Democrats' left wing has virtually no chance of winning a national election (with 2004 as a clear example). I don't think it would be hard to portray HRC (accurately) as far to the left.

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