Who is more likely to beat Hillary?
I've been having an interesting political discussion with a regular reader (and occasional contributer to these pages) about the electability of Mitt Romney versus that of Rudy Giuliani.
Here's the conversation, starting with the first note I received. The reader's notes to me are in indented italics, my responses in regular text. I'd be very interested in your thoughts if you'd take the time to leave a comment...
If you recall I said a long time ago that McCain would never get the GOP nomination. I still believe that. Romney is the only one who will have a chance to beat Hillary because if it's Rudy too many evangelicals will stay home. Unfortuantely, the most impressive of the bunch-Huckabee- has little chance except maybe for VP. I still believe there is even more anti-Hillaryites out there than polls reflect which would give the GOP a chance to take a close one-but not if the candidate is Rudy. This weekend evangelical conference in DC will be enormously important.
I never thought McCain would get the nomination. (Here's one of my prior articles on the subject.) If Romney wins, bet a lot of money on Hillary. Romney can't possibly beat her. If Rudy gets more endorsements like Rick Perry, and if he can get the NRA on his side, he'll be OK with evangelicals and in the south. Huckabee has said some disappointing things recently, such as about free trade. In any case, despite a brief infatuation with "Huck" by some, it was pretty hard for me ever to take him very seriously as a candidate...though maybe in 4 or 8 years he may be ready for prime time.
We'll have to agree to disagree. I think Romney can beat Hillary when the spotlight is just on the two of them. And even with NRA help and Perry I still think alot of evangelicals will stay home if Rudy gets the nomination. I hope not because four years of Hillary will be awful for the country that's for sure!
I simply think that there's a much higher risk of Romney losing Ohio than Rudy losing among evangelicals or in the South. Furthermore, being a Mormon isn't exactly a big plus among either of those groups so I don't see an argument that Romney must be stronger among them than Rudy is, especially given Romney's history of campaigning as pro-choice, despite what he says now. I also think that there's little chance Romney could put Pennsylvania in play for the GOP and no chance he could put California in play, where Rudy could do both. Even if Rudy didn't end up winning either, he would force the Dems to spend a huge amount of energy and money in those places and keep them from being able to focus as intensely on Ohio or Florida. This is not a small issue.
I should be clear about one thing: I can't imagine anything worse for the country, especially at this time, than to elect a Democrat to be our next president, especially since I believe the Dems will increase their majorities in both houses of Congress in the next election, particularly in the Senate. Hillary really is frightening (and Obama and Edwards are even more frightening). So I would not be sad if Romney became our president, nor would I be sad if any of the other leading Republicans won. They all seem like quality people and they all understand liberty and free markets whereas the Democrats don't...which means the Democrats don't understand the foundation of America's greatness and success.
At the end of the day, I'll vote for a Republican in the presidential election for the first time since 1992 (unless the nominee is John McCain in which case I'll stay home unless he repudiates McCain-Feingold, which is the greatest attack on the First Amendment for generations.) For me, whom to support in the primary comes down to both issues and electability. For me, Rudy is the best on both. But even if I were more of a social conservative, the electability question is so important this time that I would strongly support Rudy anyway.
I also sent the reader a couple of links which I thought interesting:
The mayor makes inroads with social conservatives.
Fred Barnes, The Weekly Standard, 10/20/07
Rudy steps right
Salena Zito, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 10/21/07
So, readers, if you have any thoughts you'd like to share, I'd be pleased to receive them and to respond...
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