Sunday, May 20, 2007

Kevin Drum believes Rudy Giuliani will ultimately cost himself the GOP nomination "because at some point he'll throw a public hissy fit of some kind and self destruct." It's very well possible considering Rudy's volatile demeanor -- a side of him that ironically conflicts with the cool-headed, 9/11-hero imagery the campaign projects onto the public.

But even if he doesn't succumb to a fatal outburst on the trail, what will likely doom Rudy for certain is his choice to be seen as simply four more years of GW. Whether it be his shocking endorsement of waterboarding, or the use of scare tactics to win votes, or just flat-out praising Bush as "a great president," Rudy couldn't cozy up any closer to GW if he wanted to.

I will assume Giuliani believes the same as McCain and Romney: to get to be the Republican presidential nominee will require winning over the far right faction of the party. (As Paul Krugman recently wrote, "rank-and-file Republicans continue to approve strongly of Mr. Bush’s policies — and the more un-American the policy, the more they support it.") After that task is accomplished, then spend time distancing oneself from GW to appeal to the more moderate general electorate.

But as I've written before, in order to win over the zealots in their party to become the nominee, too much will have been said for any one of them to successfully try and wiggle away from. The Dem candidate will have tons of video footage and quotes to hang'em with, and I believe it's safe to assume that GW will not suddenly become popular next year.

It's a demented Catch-22 with the kiss-kiss-GW mode the only course of action for any of the GOP contenders. To go the route of Sen. Chuck Hagel would instantly translate into longshot status -- something not lost on the front-runners. But again, all that they must do and say to become the nominee ironically will make it all that much more difficult for the nominee to become president.

Demented indeed, but that's the shape of the Republican Party these days, thanks in large part to that wunderkind Karl Rove.

As if the GOP's prospects were not dim enough for 2008, we now have the added bonus of influential figures threatening to further splinter the party. Just belly-warming.

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