Earlier this morning, in Can McCain Win, I wrote about the hostility that many conservatives feel toward John McCain. While I have a number of concerns about McCan and disagree with him on a number of issues, that hostility strikes me as disproportionate. The issue is currently being debated in this thread on the Power Line Forum. So far, the “Nays” definitely have it.
Okay, so how about the presumed number two contender, Rudy Giuliani? Check out Forget It, Rudy by Terence Jeffrey of Human Events. Jeffrey notes Giuliani’s history of aggressive support for abortion rights (including partial birth abortion) and gay marriage, and argues that he “has no chance of winning the Republican nomination.”
Now, these have never been our signature issues, to put it mildly, but doesn’t Jeffrey have a point? If many conservatives don’t consider McCain to be one of them, how are they going to embrace Giuliani? Does that mean that Mitt Romney can vault into the status of front-runner? Or do we Republicans need to take a closer look at other potential candidates? Such as–especially now that George Allen is out of the running–Bill Frist, who is undoubtedly a conservative and undoubtedly a brilliant and accomplished man? The conventional wisdom is that Frist is somehow disqualified by his service as Senate Majority Leader. But did he really perform poorly in that thankless role? Or did he do as well as could be expected in a body that is rife with colossal egos, and operates under rules that make it unusually difficult to discipline those egos?
I personally have a positive view–albeit in quite different ways–of McCain, Giuliani and Romney. I wouldn’t have any trouble supporting any of the three for President. But all three, it seems to me, come with limitations that cast doubt on their ability to get the nomination, and perhaps to win the 2008 election. (In Romney’s case, I am thinking more of his lack of an established track record and clear identity among conservatives than of his Mormon faith.) So it seems to me that one or more additional contenders are likely to emerge–perhaps need to emerge–and that someone other than the current top three may have an excellent shot at the nomination.
PAUL adds: I don’t know enough to say whether Frist did as well as can be expected, but there’s no doubt that there was nothing he could do about some of what went on. I mean if Sen. Voinovich looks at his grandchild and realizes that John Bolton would be a disastrous U.N. ambassador (a position he later recants) what is Frist supposed to? And what could Frist do about the fact that Sen. Graham got all misty about his days in the JAG Corps and decided that if we waterboarded a 9/11 conspirator we’d become just like him? When these egomaniacs have epiphanies, about all anyone can do is watch with amazement.
Unfortunately, though, Frist will likely be a victim of the anger many feel about what was not accomplished with a 55-45 majority and about the loss of majority status.
UPDATE: Blog of the Week Gay Patriot is enthusiastic about Giuliani’s candidacy, and has advice for how he can gain the support of Republicans to his right on the social issues.
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