Wednesday, July 27, 2005


An Eye Towards 2008

I have been keeping tabs on Patrick Ruffini's poll of likely 2008 GOP candidates for the White House. With nearly 11,000 votes cast, Senator George Allen has a healthy lead of 5.7% over former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. Those two candidates are the class of the field, with Mitt Romney, John McCain, and Bill Frist following. A few aspects of the poll are interesting. First, that is a large sample size, even for a non-scientific Internet poll. Second, Allen is dominating the voting amongst voters who link to the poll from conservative websites (such as RightWingNews and Hugh Hewitt), while most of Giuliani's support can be attributed to sites with a non-conservative bent (such as Instapundit and Baseball Crank). Meanwhile, McCain (ChargingRINO) and Mitt Romney (Elect Mitt Romney President in 2008 Blog!) seemed to have collected most of their votes to date from blogs pushing their campaigns. Third, while I wouldn't read too much into any Internet poll, this can't be too encouraging to Senator Frist. Polling at less than 6% and receiving half the votes as a Northern governor who has little name ID with the general public is troublesome on just about any level. But, yes, we are a long way from 2008...

But don't tell that to Hillary Clinton. She has toned up the rhetoric while avoiding committing to anything that might offend anyone (much like her husband in 1992 and 1996). For reference, read her speech to the Democratic Leadership Council from earlier this week. (More here.) Also speaking at the event was Virginia Governor Mark Warner, another Democrat eyeing a 2008 bid, who offered specific plans that he would like to administer if elected to the White House. However, it has become apparent that Democrats don't like specific plans. Bill Clinton didn't have one, and he won two terms. Warner seems to have one, and his poll numbers are nearly non-existent. Hillary doesn't have one, either, and her poll numbers have risen nearly 5 points in the past month. Dick Morris (who, as has been written here on many an occasion, is great at analyzing Democrats but poor at figuring out us conservatives) was on The O'Reilly Factor last night, trying to explain how this could happen to a perplexed O'Reilly. The host couldn't believe that Hillary could be making such headway with speeches that are heavy on flowery imagery about bridges and tunnels but substance deficient. Morris didn't say this exactly, but I could tell he wanted to - "No one cares what she says right now. It's all about the image and appearances. We are living in a "Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire," VH1-type of culture, and people are either too busy or too simple to understand the specifics, anyway." Morris is too much of a politician himself to say that, but it was obvious that he wanted to blurt out something to that effect. I don't necessarily agree with Morris there (because I see the dumbing down of the discourse to be as much for the comprehension of the media that loves her as anything else, which is a view reinforced by Mickey Kaus related to Hillary and what he terms her "Cheap Dates"), but Morris' assessment that Hillary is beating the tar out of everyone on "the campaign that hasn't even started yet" is dead on accurate. Her campaign has been multi-faceted as she appeals to her liberal base, raises money from national sources, and attempts to look moderate at photo ops. She has been seen recently speaking with Bill Frist, Newt Gingrich, and Larry Craig - not exactly her normal company of Kennedy, Kerry, and Schumer. The bottom line is that Hillary should be leading right now. With her name recognition and excellent campaigning so far, it would be a shock if she weren't setting the pace. However, the election is over 40 months away, and the beauty contest can't last forever...

An anonymous GOP source has also leaked that New York Governor George Pataki will announce today that he will not seek a 4th term, instead opting for a 2008 White House bid. Pataki, Giuliani, McCain - how many RINOs constitutes a herd, anyway?

Congressman Tom Tancredo is also hinting at running. I have to admit that I am surprised, only because I thought that the Colorado Republican would retire soon, having butted heads with so many members of his own party that he finally would tire of the pragmatic GOP. Most analysts don't believe Tancredo has a chance (especially after the poor remarks he made last week about bombing Mecca), but they - like the GOP leadership - are underestimating Tancredo. Tancredo has one of the most important conservative issues - immigration - cornered. He has made that issue his own ever since he arrived in D.C., and his plans actually look good on paper, unlike President Bush's disastrous plan that amounts to whistling through the graveyard at midnight. Immigration is a topic where Republicans are divided, and the most powerful men in America - like Grover Norquist - are generally wrong on the issue, selling out national security for a possible share of the elusive Hispanic vote. Pat Buchanan effectively used immigration as a resonant issue over a decade prior to 9/11. Could Tancredo do the same?

Finally, Mitt Romney is doing everything he can to redefine himself as a conservative who can win nationwide. He blatantly broke his campaign pledge backing the so-called "morning after pill" when he vetoed a measure that would have provided that pill on demand in Massachusetts. He offered an explanation in Tuesday's Boston Globe. Well, it was supposed to be an explanation, but there isn't much substance there. I wish Romney would just be who he is. His attempts to redefine himself only increase my distrust in him, which is already present based on the fact that he is an elected official in the communist state of Marxichusetts. The attempts to run to the Right or the middle during elections by these politicians sickens me. (In Tennessee, it's Bob Corker trying to run to the Right that he doesn't understand (according to State Rep. Chris Clem) and Harold Ford, Jr.'s weaving from the middle to the Left and back again, depending on the crowd.) Run as who you are, be proud of it, and let the chips fall where they may. Winning is important, but so is being able to live in your own skin.

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