Is Rudy Like Lieberman?
I'm a conservative, so I don't hang out thart much on more moderate blogs like GOP Progress or even on some of the pro-Rudy warblogger sites like Roger L. Simon. So, it looks like I missed an interesting reparte on what Joe Lieberman killing Ned Lamont means for 2008 and the GOP.
A day or so back, someone made the not-too-remarkable argument that McCain is like Lieberman. It's true, in that he can't get past the primary, but this seems to indicate that his general election campaign (if he gets that far, which he won't) would be like Lieberman's.
Now, in true First Responder fashion, Reliapundit and others make the case that Lieberman cruising to re-election is good news for Rudy. It shows that Republicans will gladly support a "liberal" hawk:
I think the fact that both candidates appeal to so-called centrists/independents who pick-and-choose from among each party's platform is trivial. WHY!? Well, Lieberman's margin over Lamont doesn't portend a McCain victory, but a RUDY VICTORY: It shows that a liberal hawk is a very appealing candidate for parts of the GOP and the DNC and the "moderate" independents.
McCain is not a liberal hawk - he is pro-Life and pro-tax cuts. Sure, he is anti-gun and for campaign finance reform (which hinders free speech), but he is really rather conservative - too conservative for many MANY Lieberman-type voters.
Rudy, though, is truly a liberal hawk: he is anti-gun; pro-gay marriage; pro-abortion; and virtually pro-illegal immigation. Lieberman shows that this Rudy-esque combination is truly very appealing.
I don't necessarily buy the McCain-Rudy comparison, and I don't think you can argue with the fact that McCain is more liberal on balance than Giuliani -- especially on economic policy and the war.
The nub of this argument comes not from the similarities between Lieberman and Rudy, but from the fact that Lieberman is a much more extreme example of the Rudy phenomenon at work.
Lieberman is a Democrat who actively identifies with liberal causes. Not only do Republicans enthusiastically support him, but you never hear a peep from social conservatives as to how Republicans could actively back a pro-choice liberal candidate.
It's because the war just overwhelms everything.
And not just supporting the war, but supporting it with attitude. Lieberman's outspoken support for the war is music to conservative ears in the same way that Rudy's determined get-the-terrorists attitude is. Right now, that swamps any social conservative qualms -- because being pro-war isn't just another interest group -- it represents the #1 priority of voters in every part of the Republican Party, including Evangelicals.
I know, I know. Apples to oranges. Primary versus general election. But think of this: If Lieberman were running in a Republican primary against Alan Schlesinger and a strong McCain-type Republican, say Chris Shays or Nancy Johnson, who would win?
If you said Joe, there's a pretty good chance you're right, despite the fact that even Shays or Johnson would be 40 or 50 ACU points to the right.
Why? Because Republican (and Democrats too) like tasting the forbidden fruit from time to time -- hailing the guy who really, really gets them going on their #1 issue -- even if he might not normally make sense to them in other areas.
Lieberman wins because he tosses red meat to the Republican base on its #1 issue, and so does Rudy. McCain is just not a red-meat kind of guy, and so he loses on intangibles.