alien & sedition.
Friday, June 29, 2007
  Consequences of Electability

Despite Fred Thompson's dramatic gains on Rudy Giuliani in Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, Todd points out at MyDD that Rudy still retains considerable leads in all three states. Most signficant, though, are his extraordinarily strong favorability ratings in those states (54/28, for instance, in Florida), which are similar to his favorability numbers nationally. Says Todd:
A lot is made of Clinton's high negatives but not enough is said about Rudy' still high positives, which could end up being the Republicans' secret weapon in the general if he gets the nomination.
The same kind of analysis prompts a couple of conservative observers to declare that Giuliani is "still the frontrunner." At Real Clear Politics, Ross Kaminsky says this is for one simple reason: he's the most electable Republican:
[W]hile it is still VERY early in this process, internals of a recent Quinnipiac University poll show why I believe Rudy is still somewhat more likely to get the nomination than Fred: He is more likely to be able to win the general election.

For example, the Quinnipiac Poll shows Giuliani tied with or leading Hillary Clinton in three critical swing states: Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida. The analysis in the link above focuses on Giuliani's lead shrinking from prior polls, but that is not the key. The key is that Giuliani far outperforms the other Republican frontrunners.
Gary Matthew Miller agrees:
If enough GOP primary participants are persuaded that only the Mayor could prevail in November of next year, that just might be the fulcrum upon which the Republican nomination may pivot.
Of course, the John Kerry experience demonstrated that "electability" is a tricky concept, but there's plenty of reason to believe that Kaminsky and Miller are correct. Yet there's a puzzle at the heart of the equation. It's one thing for primary voters to make a calculation about electablity; it's another thing for the conservative ideological apparatus itself to use the same calculation to endorse a candidate who rejects key tenents of the longstanding conservative consensus. As broad swathes of the right's intellectual, financial, and media elites use Rudy's "leadership qualities," his fiscal conservatism, and his "electability" as excuses to abandon the socially conservative half of their fusionist coalition, the issue for those social conservatives becomes much starker.

Despite their threats, it's unclear just how prepared they are to break decisively with the GOP -- to endorse a third-party candidate should Rudy win the nomination. But keep in mind that the stakes for social conservatives are bigger than just this election. It isn't just about making sure there's an anti-abortion candidate in 2008. It's about the prospect of losing access to the mighty conservative political machine altogether. If they allow the rest of the conservative establishment to leave them behind, they may never recover their place at the table; they may be permanently marginalized within the movement. For social conservatives -- for the Christian right in particular -- Rudy's "electability" is a very dangerous thing, and there's reason to believe they won't let it go unchallenged.

Cross-posted at The Right's Field.

Labels: , , ,

All of which is very interesting given the left's current qualms with 'electability' as a standard for evaluating a nominee. Shameless plug - I wrote about this a few days ago. My basic point was that electability should condition one's support for a candidate based on issues. If there's very little chance someone can win, it's pretty irrational to support them. Better to get some "good enough" than someone from the opposite ideological camp.
Post a Comment

<< Home

"An obscure but fantastic blog." - Markus Kolic


Critical analysis of the American conservative movement from a progressive perspective. Also some stuff about the Mets.

Email Me

Favorite Posts

I Was a Mole at the Conservative Summit, Part One
Part Two
Part Three

Wars of Perception, Part One
Wars of Perception, Part Two

Conservative Futures
Reading Conservative History


I also post at:

The Daily Gotham
The Albany Project
The Right's Field

Various favorites:

Ben Weyl
Chase Martyn
Cliff Schecter
Crooked Timber
D-Day (David Dayen)
Daily Kos
Ezra Klein
Five Before Chaos
Future Majority
Glenn Greenwald
The Group News Blog
Jon Swift
Lawyers, Guns, and Money
Matt Ortega
Matthew Yglesias
My Thinking Corner
New Democratic Majority
The November Blog
The Osterley Times
A Pedestrian View
The Poor Man Institute
Progressive Historians
Skippy the Bush Kangaroo
Talking Points Memo
Think Progress
The Third Estate
Undercover Blue
Vernon Lee
wAitiNG foR doROthY

Watching the right:

Orcinus (Dave Neiwert)
Rick Perlstein
Right Wing Watch
Sadly, No!

The conservative wonkosphere: (AEI)
The American Scene
Andrew Sullivan
Cato @ Liberty
Contentions (Commentary Magazine)
Crunchy Con (Rod Dreher)
Daniel Larison
Eye on '08 (Soren Dayton)
Jim Henley
Josh Trevino
Mainstream Libertarian
National Review Online
Patrick Ruffini
Ross Douthat
Ryan Sager
The Weekly Standard

New Yorkers:

Amazin' Avenue
Chris Owens
Z. Madison


December 2006

January 2007

February 2007

March 2007

April 2007

May 2007

June 2007

July 2007

August 2007

September 2007

October 2007

November 2008

Powered by Blogger