The GOP's Primary Quagmire
The race for the Republican presidential nomination is enough to make anyone's head hurt. Here's Josh Marshall
returning to the inevitable conclusion that none
of 'em can get nominated:
On the Republican side, I think the money numbers are entirely secondary to news from the Giuliani campaign. Rudy still supports public funding of abortions. Apprently we're still supposed to be in that pretend place where we believe that Rudy Giuliani can be the Republican nominee. But let me go out on a limb. Nobody who supports public funding of abortion is going to be the nominee of the Republican party. Say all you want about Rudy's 'leadership uber alles' campaign platform: I'm not buying it. So I don't think Rudy can be the Republican nominee. And I think it's increasingly unlikely that John McCain will be either -- he's becoming a cliche.
So who? Romney? I'd have to say that seems like the most likely scenario at the moment. But only because the other scenarios don't seem possible.
See, that's why I was thinking Romney for a while, too. But he's at three percent in the polls and spiraling fast into self-parody.
So you get Fred Thompson, who seems to be emerging as a conservative favorite but who has no organization and hasn't even really committed to running. The 2004 Clark campaign taught us that someone can be a brilliant candidate on paper but if he doesn't do his homework, he's an also-ran.
There would be an argument for Gingrich here: another conservative hero, but one who has spent the past several years carefully building a national network that he could transform into a presidential campaign. And it just might happen. At the same time, it's just hard to imagine Newt as a candidate.
And maybe all this helps Giuliani. In any normal cycle, no pro-choice, anti-gun candidate could win the Republican nomination. But that assumes there's at least one other solid candidate in the picture. In this case, there might not be. Rudy could win almost by default.
At any rate, he's now backing off
his recent statement of support for public funding of abortion, insisting that he never said he'd seek to change the Hyde Amendment. But you have to think the damage has already been done. He's spent the last few months trying to convince conservatives that his aggressive support for freedom of choice was all in the past - another time, another context. But now it's recent. It's like the signs you see at construction sites: "X Days Since Our Last Accident." It was a good run - but now he has to re-set the sign to zero.
Labels: 2008, Josh Marshall, Presidential election, Rudy Giuliani