Frontrunner Misidentification Syndrome
Eric Rodawig thinks the media has it:
Most of the liberal pundit-ocracy says Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is the favorite for the 2008 nomination, and that Rudy’s positions on social issues will prevent him from getting past a primary. But those people are wrong.
Giuliani consistently beats out McCain in polls of favorability, name recognition and potential voting in 2008. He almost always finishes number one or two in not only mainstream polls, but also, more importantly for the primary, in polls on conservative Web sites where Newt Gingrich and Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) are near the top. The base may disagree with some of Giuliani’s social positions, but they do like him as a person and a leader — something that cannot be said about McCain.
Two factors will turn Giuliani’s social stances into a non-issue. Giuliani isn’t a senator with a long history of established, controversial votes (but who is?); his stances are largely artifacts leftover from his days as a pragmatic mayor of a very liberal city. In a Republican primary, it will be very easy for Giuliani to move back to the center-right on social issues. Also, Giuliani has proven that he is truly a fiscal conservative, something that has become a rarity in either party.
The second issue is simpler: The 2008 election is not going to be about social issues; it’s going to be about how the United States is going to handle the continued threats from violent Islamic fundamentalists. Ever since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Giuliani has proven his courage and strength in times of crisis and that he understands what is at stake for the world.