A few days ago, a Quinnipiac poll of Ohio voters came out. An early primary state, Ohio is an important battleground for both party's nominations. In that poll, Rudy Giuliani stomps John McCain for the state -- 30% to 22%. In Iowa, it's closer, but Giuliani still leads -- 25% to 21%. Nationally, McCain does even worse:
The November 27 "Feeling Thermometer" from the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute asked 1,623 registered voters to rate the warmth of national leaders from 0 –100. "The higher the number, the warmer or more favorable you feel toward that person, the lower the number, the colder or less favorable."
Among 20 top American leaders, Rudy Giuliani is rated No. 1 with a "temperature" of 64.2. McCain is third at 57.7. Among other key Republicans, Condoleezza Rice is fourth (56.1), Romney 13th (45.9), President George W. Bush 15th (43.8), and Newt Gingrich is 17th (42).
Clearly, that last poll isn't about the election per se, but it shows how McCain, the perceived frontrunner, isn't actually running in front in public opinion. Despite this, liberals are taking on McCain, not Giuliani. MoveOn.org started running an ad taking up John Edwards' message that Bush's troop surge is the 'McCain Doctrine.' Lefty documentarian Robert Greenwald has a video making the rounds on the web, called The REAL McCain, showing all the flip-flops he's made on issues like Iraq, same sex marriage, and the religious right. Then there were accusations that McCain was caught sleeping at the State of the Union (personally, I think that probably wasn't true. It looked to me like he was reading something in his lap).
So what's the deal? If Giuliani's kicking McCain's butt, why are they concentrating on McCain? Don't all the lefty organizations and pundits and blogs know who the real opponent is?
Of course they do. The real opponent is John McCain. Rudy Giuliani doesn't stand a snowball's chance of getting the GOP nomination.
The question is this: Can the thrice-married New Yorker -- a supporter of abortion rights, gay rights and gun control -- win the nomination of a Republican Party that has become increasingly dependent on and influenced by socially conservative Christians?
Maybe not, says Tony Fabrizio, a GOP pollster.
"As a presidential candidate, Rudy Giuliani should absolutely be taken seriously," Fabrizio said. "As a contender for the Republican nomination, he should be taken significantly less seriously. He has the stature to be president, but how does he get the Republican nomination? That is the fundamental disconnect."
If the midterms showed anything, it showed that the Republican party is in very real danger of becoming a regional party of the south. The 'battleground states' of 2004 looked pretty damned blue in 2006 and many of the western red states went purple. Nationally, one poll shows that only 29% want a Republican president in '08. The GOP candidate who doesn't win the south in the primaries isn't going to win squat -- which means Rudy isn't going to win squat.
Keep the attached photo in your mind. That will be used against Giuliani. It's stupid. It's meaningless. It's a damned costume for a play. But the crazies in the GOP hate him for it. Check out this rant from Joseph Farah, founder of the wingnut site, WorldNetDaily:
Is America really ready for a drag-queen president?
Can America survive another obnoxious phony baloney masquerading as one thing and governing as another?
Will Republicans be fooled again and nominate a candidate who favors unrestricted abortion on demand?
Should we expect the Grand Old Party to become the Gay Old Party in 2008 and put its stamp of approval on a guy 100 percent committed to the homosexual activist agenda?
Excuse me, shouldn't a man with Giuliani's record be kicked out of the church? Again, I'm all for praying for his salvation, but does anyone really believe Giuliani is a sincere follower of Jesus Christ? Shame on any professing Christian who doesn't have sufficient discernment to see through this charade.
This is the conservative base nowadays; these lunatics are all the right has left. Giuliani is definitely not a left winger; but, to the frothing cultural neanderthals who make up the religious right, anyone who doesn't doesn't hate gays with the burning passion of a thousand suns is a far-left, whacked-out liberal bent on destroying the american family. Tolerance and reason are for the unrighteous, the sinful, and the enemies of God.
Not that Rudy hasn't made with the obligatory Republican Jesus talk -- he has. But the salted nutroll base isn't going to buy it.
And that's what will really hurt the GOP in '08. They'll be positively eager to throw their best chance at swing voter, purple state appeal under the bus. For once, their bigotry, their hatred, their tunnel vision, and their message of despise thy neighbor will come back to bite them in the ass. "He wore a dress in a play once, let's all hate him! GRRRRR!" isn't the message of level headed realists -- it's the message of kindergarten students. The majority of americans will reject it.
If the GOP wants to convince voters that throwing them out of power in '06 was a mistake, they couldn't come up with a worse way to do it.
And they'll do it. It's practically guaranteed.