The Economist – The case for John McCain (Lexington, 6th December 2007)
There are signs that Republicans are swallowing their doubts about Mr McCain. He is gaining some momentum in New Hampshire (he is barely campaigning in Iowa because he has long ridiculed the absurd ethanol subsidies with which many farmers there line their pockets). The New Hampshire Union Leader gave him a ringing endorsement this week. He is creeping back up the polls nationally, and is now coming second to Mr Giuliani. Republicans need to keep swallowing. Mr McCain is surely worth another look.
Even as recently as last month McCain was still written off by many pundits, yet the Economist’s picture of the battle between McCain and Giuliani as being like the story of the tortoise and hare seems to be coming true. The former mayor of New York’s polling is being punished by his poor showings in Iowa and New Hampshire, even in states where he thought he had it wrapped up, whereas the McCain election campaign has got it right so far.
Rudy Giuliani eyeballs poll disaster
As recently as early last month, Giuliani was almost 15 points clear of the field in national polls; he was 33 points ahead in his native New York and 15 points up in Florida, which holds its primary on January 29. But a series of embarrassing political setbacks has knocked his legs from under him.
In one national poll last week, he plunged to third place among Republican candidates, with only 16% of the vote. In New York on Friday a Survey USA poll showed that his lead over John McCain, the surging Ari-zona senator who won the New Hampshire primary, had sunk to just three points. Even Florida, long targeted by Giuliani as his ideal state to launch a winning campaign, is turning into a minefield. In a poll last Friday, he slipped into second place, eight points behind McCain.
The race isn’t over by a long-shot, but the idea that McCain is only three points behind in his opponent’s backyard boggles the mind.
Giuliani’s mistake was to rely too much on his post 9/11 reputation. It should have served as a base to gain notoriety and nothing more. But he keeps talking about it far too much, as if it’s the only thing he has. That won’t help him in a race against Clinton or Obama.
Indeed, once again, it’s the senator from Arizona who is pushing the leading Democrats according to this poll. As the Economist suggested, if Republicans want a chance at keeping the White House they need to keep swallowing down on whatever concerns they have about him – he’s the only credible chance they have now.
As for Rudy:
â€œEither Rudy is a genius, and is about to defy half a century of conventional political wisdom,â€ noted one leading New York Democrat last week. â€œOr he has run the most stupid presidential campaign in history.â€
We shall see, but from this point on I think his campaign is in the hands of the Fates, not his own. That’s not a good position for a politician to be in.