Friday, April 06, 2007

Can Rudy Win Without Social Conservatives

Great catch over at Eyeon08, regarding a suggestion that Rudy Giuliani believes he can win the GOP nomination without the votes of social conservatives.

I think this is possible, but a dangerous strategy.

If social conservatives are divided among several candidates, then Rudy ought to be able to hold his own, on the strength of his national security, reformist, and leadership credentials. It's only once the competition dwindles down to one serious alternative that this strategy becomes problematic. If social conservatives comprise one-third of primary voters and those voters line up with Mitt Romney - or whoever - then Giulani may face serious trouble. But so long as there are several challengers splitting that constituency, he can probably get by.

The 'nightmare scenario' then, is for someone to suddenly 'take off' among Republicans (as Fred Thompson appears capable of doing). If such a candidate emerges as 'the' alternative to Giuliani prior to South Carolina, then there is probably no way Giuliani can win - at least without shifting ground.

It may be that the recent dustup over abortion financing was botched from start to finish, or it may be that Giuliani intended to burnish his credentials as a pro-choicer who won't trim his sails. Time will tell.

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