And on Iraq, all of the name Repug presidential contenders are tethered to Dubya at the moment. However, I believe that may change before the 2008 presidential campaign is mercifully over.
This revelation occurred to me a day or so ago, so it probably occurred to at least one other person as well, but I'm going to post it here in an effort to take credit for it, so there (amplified, I think, by this CNN story which shows the Repug field tightening up a bit).
I predict that, in a craven attempt to capture the Repug nomination for President next year, Rudy Giuliani will depart from the other contenders and no longer support Dubya on the Iraq war.
Oh, it's not that Rudy is such an enlightened guy, really, or that he loves our troops so much. It's just that I believe he sees "the handwriting on the wall" whereas the other candidates don't.
I think Giuliani will do this, first and foremost, because he will never win over the fundie zealots who do whatever Dobson, Robertson, Falwell and their ilk tell them to do. And since they're the only ones who still think the Iraq war is a good idea, what good are these people to him?
The person who will get the vote of these life forms is Mitt Romney. And just take all of that talk about how the evangelicals think that the Mormons are pagans and toss it right out the window - they'll tumble for Mitt anyway. And do you know why? Because Romney is the only person in the field who reminds them of The Sainted Ronnie Reagan, that's why (Roger Simon isn't the only one with a "man crush" on this guy). And Romney's positions on Iraq and the economy, for example, echo the hard line "the base" wants to hear.
All Giuliani has to do when it comes to seeing the drag of the Iraq war on a candidate is to look at John McCain. Sure, McCain has done well to cut Giuliani's lead among Republicans by giving that speech at the Virginia Military Institute pledging his undying support for Dubya's Best Iraq War Evah, but Rudy knows that it will be a whole different landscape in the general election if he gets the nomination.
Besides, as Jim Sleeper noted here a little while ago, Giuliani loves big, dramatic moments, No sane person would have ever wished for 9/11, but as long as it occurred, Giuliani made the most of it. And as the mayor of the city that suffered the most on that awful day, his decision to refocus the legitimate war on terror some other way would have a "Nixon Goes To China" quality to it.
(By the way, Big Tent Democrat refutes Sleeper here, particularly on the excerpt below…
“He forced New York, that great capital of “root cause” explanations for every social problem, to get real about remedies that work, at least for now, in the world as we know it.”I don’t completely understand what Sleeper is getting at here and I don’t even think he’s factually correct, but how his column about Giuliani could actually be seen as an endorsement by some is something I don’t understand.)
So there you have it - Rudy will split with Dubya, and it will allow him to squeak through and win the Repug nomination next year, which, sadly, will be a good move for the campaign against either Obama, Edwards or Hillary.
Remember, you heard it here first. And if I turn out to be wrong, I'll disavow all knowledge of this post :-).
P.S. – Here’s more ammunition for Rudy; he could probably adopt (i.e., steal) some of what is being discussed here, namely, the idea of fighting a single organized enemy (though that might be too difficult for many of his supporters to comprehend).
Update 4/24/07: See?
Update 4/27/07: This only reinforces my argument (h/t Atrios).