Thursday, March 16, 2006

Dick Morris Says McCain/Guiliani Can't Win GOP Nod

Via Teagan Goddard's Political Wire, here is Dick Morris in The Hill handicapping the 2008 GOP primary race:

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is destined to find that his love of the Republican Party will be unrequited.


You can’t be a front-runner for your party’s nomination and win 5 percent of the vote in a regional straw poll, finishing fourth, behind Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (Tenn.), Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Virginia Sen. George Allen. While McCain still leads in the national polls (not counting former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani), he is no genuine front-runner. He lacks the requisite enthusiasm he would need among core Republicans to cop that title.

He is, in fact, more of a stalking horse, a place to store voter preferences while the other candidates for the nomination break through their low thresholds of name recognition.

It’s a shame because McCain and Giuliani are the only two frequently mentioned candidates who could actually get elected and defy the likely disaster the GOP faces in ’08.

Giuliani, for his part, is even less likely than McCain to win the nomination. His pro-choice, pro-gun-control, pro-affirmative-action, pro-gay-rights, pro-immigration positioning is enough to give the party ulcers. The support he now shows in polls he gets just because the party faithful only see him in terms of his splendid 9/11 record.

None of the remaining candidates has a prayer to win the general election, although they are likely party-line enough to win the nomination. But their long histories of party loyalty and fealty to the right-wing agenda will do little to attract the swing voters of the next election: Hispanics and women.

The first phase of the GOP campaign will feature the fall from the top of McCain and, if he runs, Giuliani. The next phase will be characterized by doubts as to whether any of the remaining candidates are up to the task. And then, if the GOP voters are smart, they will draft the only winning candidate they could nominate, the secretary of state.

Or they won’t, and Hillary will be the next president. Nobody said Republican primary voters were very sensible.

I do get the sense that if McCain wins the primary, he wins the presidency in 2008.

I also get the sense that McCain is going to have one helluva time winning the primary given the amount of animosity he has engendered among the conservative base.

I don't think Rudy's even going to run. I think he knows in his heart he can't win the GOP nod and I think he also knows that if he officially announces a run for the White House, some intrepid reporters are going to look into his business dealings and discover he's as dirty as his former consigliere Bernie Kerik is.

Which makes Rudy an even less viable GOP option than McCain.

Read the Morris analysis of the rest of the GOP field. The short version is, Frist is ethically challenged, Romney's from Mass. (hard to run against eastern elites when you're one yourself) and Allen's just dumb.

Of course, Morris is just talking out his ass when he mentions Condi as the best alternative to McCain and Rudy.

I mean, Americans haven't elected either a woman or an African American to the White House yet. Does anyone really think the white males who happily voted for Bushie are going to pull the lever for an unmarried black woman who is rumored to be a lesbian?

We'll see, I guess. I'd rather focus on 2006 first, but it just goes to show how far the country has moved beyond George W. Bush that we are already talking about the 2008 presidential horserace in earnest already.

Boy I hope that hypocritical lying weasel is telling the truth this time.

The GOP is cutting its own throat by cutting him loose.
Morris is fuck, no doubt.

And I'm not sure how reliable he is as a political strategist anymore.

But this last week and a half, I really sense the inevitablity factor for McCain has dimmed somewhat.

Now his fans in the media, like Imus and Tweety, are still banging the gong for him. But there are enough doubters in the press, like Howard Fineman of Newsweek, who think his antics at the Southern Republican convention last week made him look like a fool, cost him some of his "maverick" gloss, and didn't help him one whit with the conservative base who distrust him.

If nothing else, if the conventional wisdom begins to circulate that Drudge and many others on the right hate McCain and are looking for their "Anybody But McCain" candidate already, then McCain loses a big advantage he has going into this election - that he's already locked up this nomination.

Once the inevitability factor disappears, anything can happen (even a Mitt Romney or George Allen as nominee - oh please oh please oh please!!!) Remember what happened to Howard Dean after many in the political press thought he had sewn up the nomination?
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