Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Rudy, Mitt and McCain

Philip Klein and James Antle have a pair of good posts on the state of the Republican primary, and the weaknesses of the leading contenders.

Interestingly, Klein suggests that Giuliani's big weakness may be the issue that is his apparent strength: terror and security. It's an interesting point, but to suggest that it's his big weakness may be overstated.

First off, crime control and a strong response to 9/1 are not the same as an anti-terror policy, and anyone who recognizes the name 'Bernie Kerik' knows that there's room to criticize Giuliani there. It's not as if Giuliani is Ike. He will have to do a good job of defending against criticisms in this area.

But while there's been a big shift in the perception of Giuliani's personal history and social views as 'deal-killers,' they still remain significant challenges. Giuliani has said thus far that he has no opinion on Roe v. Wade. Well, John McCain opposes it. And Romney will certainly say the same thing (if he has not already). Is that a position Giuliani can match? Abortion has not been a cutting issue in Republican primaries in recent memory, since all leading contenders have been pro-life. Giuliani's pro-choice position may well change that. It might even lead a contender to ditch the recent tradition among GOP Presidential contenders to avow 'no litmus test' on Roe vs. Wade.

And then there's Giuliani's marriages and divorces...

I believe Giuliani has a fighting chance to overcome these, but I would still say that his greatest weakness is on abortion, gay rights, gun control, and personal biography.

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