Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 22, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

HIGH INFIDELITY....Fresh off his triumphant guest blogging gig, Steve Benen has a piece in the print version of the Washington Monthly this month about a trait that three of the front runners for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination have in common:

Lurking just over the horizon are liabilities for three Republicans who have topped several national, independent polls for the GOP's favorite 2008 nominee: Sen. John McCain (affair, divorce), former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (affair, divorce, affair, divorce), and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (divorce, affair, nasty divorce). Together, they form the most maritally challenged crop of presidential hopefuls in American political history.

Personally, I think McCain is the only one of the three who has a realistic shot at the nomination. Giuliani is too socially liberal and would genuinely have trouble defending his messy past, while Gingrich is just a little too weird to hold up to the scrutiny of a presidential campaign.

McCain, conversely, is a serious contender, and I frankly would have expected that qualms over a divorce three decades ago would be stretching things even for the family values brigade. Surprise!

Carrie Gordon Earll, a spokesperson for [James] Dobson's Focus on the Family, recently made it clear that the adultery issue hasn't lost any of its toxicity among evangelicals. "If you have a politician, an elected official, and they can't be trusted in their own marriage, how can I trust them with the budget? How can I trust them with national security?" she asked me.

And over at his own site, Steve says that the Family Research Council's Tom McClusky told him, "If not a disqualifier, [adultery] is something that would make Christian conservative voters put candidates in an adverse category. It would, most definitely."

Does this mean that making up with Jerry Falwell and speaking at Liberty University was just a bit of pandering for nothing? Maybe. Read the whole thing and decide for yourself. 2008 could be a messy year.

Kevin Drum 1:43 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (67)

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Kevin,

She stole this [see below]from Pope John Paul's speech in Brazil some two decades ago...I'm not religious, but I think the pope had a point.

"Carrie Gordon Earll, a spokesperson for [James] Dobson's Focus on the Family, recently made it clear that the adultery issue hasn't lost any of its toxicity among evangelicals. "If you have a politician, an elected official, and they can't be trusted in their own marriage, how can I trust them with the budget? How can I trust them with national security?" she asked me."

Posted by: S Brennan on June 22, 2006 at 1:56 AM | PERMALINK

Giuliani has other problems. The 2008 GOP primaries could be a real drag for Rudy.

Posted by: AvengingAngel on June 22, 2006 at 2:00 AM | PERMALINK

If only the GOP had candidates who have long-lasting marriages to the same person, like, oh, that Bill Clinton character.

And hey, isn't Dick Cheney's daughter a lesbian? How does Dobson square that one?

Posted by: craigie on June 22, 2006 at 2:06 AM | PERMALINK

Together, they form the most maritally challenged crop of presidential hopefuls in American political history.

Why are liberals always obsessed with the sex lives of Republican politicians?

Posted by: Al on June 22, 2006 at 2:13 AM | PERMALINK

All he has to do is say he's sorry for his past, but now he's found Jesus and is born again.
It worked for a previous coke-sniffing alcoholic would-be-president.

Posted by: Maynard Handley on June 22, 2006 at 2:14 AM | PERMALINK

Why do you insist on continuing the charade that Evangelicals are rational, moral human beings?

Well, you would have thought that dodging the draft, going AWOL from the Guard, abusing cocaine and alcohol for most of your adult life, a speech impediment, and running a bunch of businesses into the ground would have been more than enough to keep someone out of office. (Not to mention everything that happened in the first term not stopping a re-election... least of which is a complete and total disregard for the teachings of Jesus Christ WRT to charity, the poor, and the rich).

You also would have thought that serving in combat in Vietnam would have been an asset. Funny how that worked out for Kerry (not to mention Murtha).

Sorry Kevin, but these people will blindly believe what they are told to believe, so long as God is invoked, even when what they are told is contradicted by facts, even when what they are told contradicts the Bible and teachings of Jesus Christ (so you can just forget about the Constitution). Heck, most of these people are actually - literally - waiting and hoping for the apocalypse.

They won't abandon the Republican nominee unless he's caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy.

Posted by: Snarkster on June 22, 2006 at 2:18 AM | PERMALINK

The overwhelming question is not whether there are reasons to deny the Republicans continuing majority in the Congress or the next Presidency. It is more relevant to ask if the Democrats have the willingness or the fortitude to hit the Republicans where they are most vulnerable.

Very little evidence has surfaced to suggest that the Democrats can mount a credible winning campaign in 2006 or 2008.

We are all screwed.

Posted by: nut on June 22, 2006 at 2:27 AM | PERMALINK

Adultery of male candidates always gains more voter support than it loses, in spite of what evangelicals do. Virility is secretly admired despite contrarty public claims that the opposite is true.

Despite the sexism inherent in my claim, the reality throughout US history is provable. But having sex with hookers or strippers retains its disreputableness. An affair with anyone else, or a divorce, get treated differently (look at evangelical support for the divorced Reagan, for the clearest clue).

That's why I think Dems should drop the extramarital targeting, unless there's hookers. It didn't work against Clinton and won't against Giuiliani. The main added baggage Giuiliani carries is that he's a northerner, which, to a Southern evangelical, is a violation of the Eleventh Commandment: Thou Shalt Not Be a Yankee.

Posted by: Kevin Hayden on June 22, 2006 at 2:32 AM | PERMALINK

This is awesome.

If Hillary faces an adulterous Republican in 2008, the whole problem of her husband's sexual behavior could be turned to her favor: she is the candidate you can trust to treat you honorably, despite your clear indiscretions. The American people are the husband, and Iraq is the affair (that we kept on lying to ourselves about). It's flawless!

Posted by: Moe is me on June 22, 2006 at 2:47 AM | PERMALINK

Seems to me that the evangelicals doth protest too much on McCain's indiscretions.

I think they're just looking for excuses not to support him, since they don't really trust him, no matter how much he might make suck up gestures toward him. Not sure he will be able to overcome this particular hurdle to the GOP nomination, no matter how hard he tries to spin them.

Posted by: pookie on June 22, 2006 at 2:56 AM | PERMALINK

Forget about Giuliani. Dems won't vote for him because he's another hypocritical Republican nutjob. Republicans won't vote for him because he too liberal (meaning not hipocritical-Republican-nutjob enough); and of course there's the divorce, affair, divorce, thing - and even worse, the living with gay guys thing. Rudy's Catholic, so it's not too likely he'll announce he's found Christ and been born again of the spirit. That's about the only thing that might put him right with the Taliban wing of the Republican party.

Gingrich has been a bad boy, and his sister is a lesbian (but that's not his fault). On the plus side he definitely doesn't have any liberal tendencies. He's redeemable if he says the right words and pledges his loyalty to Christ and Dobson.

McCain looks pretty good. Sure, in the past he's had some occasional spasms of reasonableness, but his current medication seems to be working and he had it under control. In fact the Republican leadership are drooling in their cocktails over the prospect of McCain peeling off some Democratic (or as they would say Democrat) votes.

So the winner is Honest John McCain.

aa

Posted by: aaron aardvark on June 22, 2006 at 3:42 AM | PERMALINK

Unless Gullianni's messy past includes fraud, conspiracy, and possibly murder, I don't think it would affect him much. People are willing to overlook most personal activities nowadays. It's about the job now.

McCain has no shot of being president, and I doubt he could get the nomination.

Posted by: aaron on June 22, 2006 at 4:43 AM | PERMALINK

"People are willing to overlook most personal activities nowadays."

We're talking about primaries here. Getting the nomination. That population of voters is much more conservative than the average American. Gullianni's got way too much baggage. Forget Democrats, his fellow Republican contenders will go for the throat on the affair. Carl Rove would. Same with McCain and his baggage. On the plus side, it'll be fun to watch them tear each other apart for our enjoyment.

Posted by: Mario on June 22, 2006 at 5:17 AM | PERMALINK

I wonder what that woman who wouldn't trust an adulterer with the budget thinks of George Bush and his hundreds of billions of dollars in deficit spending.

Posted by: Boots Day on June 22, 2006 at 6:14 AM | PERMALINK

McCain, conversely, is a serious contender

But the Republican base does not seem to like McCain. I frankly think Giuliani or Gingrich have a better shot.

Posted by: bob h on June 22, 2006 at 6:41 AM | PERMALINK

Not to mention all of Georgie's bald-head groping. Is it okay to have a Guckert on the side?

Posted by: Kenji on June 22, 2006 at 6:44 AM | PERMALINK

Yea, what Snarkster said. Afterall, it's all about their opponent, not their candidate.

Posted by: Luther on June 22, 2006 at 7:02 AM | PERMALINK

If Hillary faces an adulterous Republican in 2008, the whole problem of her husband's sexual behavior could be turned to her favor: she is the candidate you can trust to treat you honorably, despite your clear indiscretions. The American people are the husband, and Iraq is the affair (that we kept on lying to ourselves about). It's flawless!

That's interesting. One of the things that's most amused me by the right's obsession with Bill Clinton's extramarital activities is all the complaining about how Hillary puts up with it. The implication is that she's a doormat not to walk out. And if she had walked out...can you imagine the lambasting she would have taken for that?

Posted by: shortstop on June 22, 2006 at 7:07 AM | PERMALINK


KEVIN DRUM: 2008 could be a messy year.

They're all messy years if judged by the mess we're all left with. But they're actually quite neat and getting neater if judged by the ease with which the election process is corrupted beyond any resemblance to democratic will. The 2008 Republican nominee (and by "Republican nominee," I mean "the next president") will be whomever the few thousand persons who oligarchically rule this country handpick as their puppet.


Posted by: jayarbee on June 22, 2006 at 7:10 AM | PERMALINK

mr. jayarbee: The 2008 Republican nominee (and by "Republican nominee," I mean "the next president") will be whomever the few thousand persons who oligarchically rule this country handpick as their puppet.

Once I would have found this kind of talk overly cynical.

Posted by: shortstop on June 22, 2006 at 7:16 AM | PERMALINK


SHORTSTOP: Once I would have found this kind of talk overly cynical.

We've come a long way, haven't we? ...the country, I mean.


Posted by: jayarbee on June 22, 2006 at 7:24 AM | PERMALINK

What about Ronald Reagan, who many Republicans would like to nominate for sainthood, and his divorce? Just like the selective reading of their inerrant scriptures I'm sure they will be happy to overlook the inconvenient past of someone for whom they are willing to embrace wholeheartedly as their guy. Just as they did with Bush but will they be willing to hold their noses long enough to vote for McCain?

Posted by: whalt on June 22, 2006 at 7:31 AM | PERMALINK

McCain is too old. His time has passed. More importantly he can't win the nomination. If he is able too win the nomination he won't be elected. His reputation as a truth teller has been tarnished by his pandering to the far right wing.

Guiliani is really a Democrat who claims to be a Republican. No chance.

Gingrich is yesterday's news. He hasn't done anything since he left the house.

The Republican base will nominate some far right nut job like Brownback who will lose for the same reason Republicans have a hard time winning the state house in Kansas. Moderate Republicans will view the nomination with horror and will vote Democratic.

Hillary's negatives are just way too high. Nobody can win with half the population saying they don't like her as a nominee. The Democrats want to win. They and not her Republican power broker supporters are the people who do the nominating. She can't be nominated and won't win the election. Which is not so bad since I don't think she has a clue as to where she wants to lead the country.

John Edwards or somebody like him will emerge from the pack to win the nomination and the election.

The real election is the election we face this fall. All bets are off if Democrats can't make real progress in both the house and the senate this November. Such a failure, given the state of the political landscape, might lead to the demise of the Democratic party and the rise of at least one and possibly two new parties to replace it.

Posted by: Ron Byers on June 22, 2006 at 7:56 AM | PERMALINK


RON BYERS: Such a failure, given the state of the political landscape, might lead to the demise of the Democratic party and the rise of at least one and possibly two new parties to replace it.

The failures have already taken place. Thus, we had the rise of the Corporatist party to replace the Republican party and the demise of the Democratic party, replaced by the Republican party. In both cases, the new parties kept the names of the parties they replaced.


Posted by: jayarbee on June 22, 2006 at 8:03 AM | PERMALINK

I just reread jayarbee's cynical post about the American Oligarchy. If that is the case Hillary ought to be meeting with Laura to plan the transition, because she is clearly the favorite of the "American oligarchy."

Too bad, she still has no idea what she wants to accomplish as President.

Posted by: Ron Byers on June 22, 2006 at 8:05 AM | PERMALINK

Sen. John McCain (affair, divorce), former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (affair, divorce, affair, divorce), and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (divorce, affair, nasty divorce). Together, they form the most maritally challenged crop of presidential hopefuls in American political history.

Smear all you want, but none of them got a BJ in the frickin' OVAL OFFICE from his intern!

That article smacks of desparation. You guys are gonna lose AGAIN. Hilarious.

Posted by: sportsfan79 on June 22, 2006 at 8:19 AM | PERMALINK


RON BYERS: If that is the case Hillary ought to be meeting with Laura to plan the transition, because she is clearly the favorite of the "American oligarchy."

Hillary Clinton is the favorite of the oligarchy to be the Democratic nominee. They are counting on her to be sufficiently divisive such that the election will be well within easy stealing distance, to the benefit of their chosen Republican candidate.


Posted by: jayarbee on June 22, 2006 at 8:25 AM | PERMALINK


SPORTSFAN79: Smear all you want, but none of them got a BJ in the frickin' OVAL OFFICE from his intern! That article smacks of desparation. You guys are gonna lose AGAIN. Hilarious.

The article smacks of naivete. You, on the other hand, smack of Limbaugh-induced priggishness.


Posted by: jayarbee on June 22, 2006 at 8:36 AM | PERMALINK

jayarbee

The oligarchy has no party loyalty. They are looking for the president who will best serve their needs. They have won the last five elections. First they elected George H W Bush. He proved to be inept. Tnen their boy Bill was elected. He proved to be very pliant. He did nothing to really help rank and file Americans during his years in office. His proposals were very timid and very supportive of his rich patrons. Remember NAFTA. Tnen they elected (selected) George W. Bush who has delivered at every turn.

Hillary is just Bill without any idea what she wants to do as President. She is the perfect candidate for the oligarchy. She kind of reminds me of the girl in High School the teachers all promoted to be class president. Her policy vision is about a micron deep. Perfect for the oligarchy as they move to realign the world away from America and toward Asia.

Don't confuse Scaife and his crowd with the real power brokers. He is sort of an outsider. Look at who has raised all the money, and who the media has given the aura of inevitiblilty. Hillary. The potential Republican nominees, except for McCain, have trouble getting any face time on television.

The American oligarchy probably feels it is time to elect a Democrat. Have to give the people the illusion of democracy.

Now, is that cycnical enough for you?

I am hoping I am wrong,too.

Posted by: Ron Byers on June 22, 2006 at 8:44 AM | PERMALINK

but none of them got a BJ in the frickin' OVAL OFFICE from his intern!

What a bizarre point to make, since none of them has been President and had access to the oval office. Rudy probably had a lot of sex with his mistress in Gracie Mansion, though, which is surely the same difference.

Posted by: kth on June 22, 2006 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

Foolish consistencies are the hobgoblins of little minds and foolish inconsistencies drive the rest of us nuts.
Eagle Forum leader Alyse ONeill in Naples pops up with a ringing endorsement of Tom Gallagher for Florida governor because he's not a lawyer.
This the day after Gallagher pre-empted efforts to shame him by revealing evidence of his pot-smoking and marital double-dipping past.

"Too many elected officials from Congress and the Senate on down are lawyers. Therefore, whenever I have the opportunity to vote for a businessman versus a lawyer in government, I go for it. . .God bless America," she wrote in a letter to the Naples Daily News.

Which is worse? The GOP rule of law reduced to a single word seems to be: Depends.

They might as well worship a urine-soaked rag, even as they castigate "liberals" for their "situational ethics."

The hypocrisy and lack of intellectual integrity continues to disgust, though they've lost the ability to astonish.

Posted by: raybear7 on June 22, 2006 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

Well, you currently have a bisexual, coke-sniffing, alcoholic brain-damaged retard who committed statutory rape on a 15 year-old and paid her to have an abortion as the titular President of the United States and the so-called religious right (who are really neither) just love the guy, so go figure..

Posted by: Fred Flintrock on June 22, 2006 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

Smear all you want, but none of them got a BJ in the frickin' OVAL OFFICE from his intern!

Newt got a blowjob in the frickin' (why can't you just say fucking?) House Speaker's office from his office aide, who was 25 years younger than him, while he was at the same time denouncing Bill Clinton's infidelity. And Giuliani fucked his mistresses (both of them, the first one of whom was his employee) in Gracie Mansion.

So cheating on your wife and getting divorced from them to marry your mistress is OK, as long as you don't get (a) a blowjob in (b) the Oval Office from (c) an intern. That seems a rather, ah....selective thing to choose to be outraged by.

Posted by: Stefan on June 22, 2006 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

What about Ronald Reagan, who many Republicans would like to nominate for sainthood, and his divorce?

Let's look at the last four Republican presidential candidates:

Ronald Reagan: divorced.
George Bush: long-time mistress.
Bob Dole: had an affair, divorced, remarried.
George W. Bush: cokehound alcoholic sociopath.

Ah, yes, the "family values" party.....

Posted by: Stefan on June 22, 2006 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

Newt got a blowjob in the ... House Speaker's office from his office aide, who was 25 years younger than him,

I'm sorry, but that's just gross. I know power is seductive and all, but really - what could she have been thinking? It was a she, wasn't it?

Posted by: craigie on June 22, 2006 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

Jose McCain is DOA as far as his presidential ambitions, unless of course like the last election the choice is very bad or even worse.

Posted by: Myron on June 22, 2006 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

McCain could probably win the election, but he won't be able to get the Republican nomination. Giuliani's even more out of step with GOP faithful, and Gingrich has been out of the limelight too long (and not particularly beloved anyway).

Hillary Clinton can probably get the Democratic nomination thanks to the party bosses, but since many on both the left and right despise her, there's no way in hell she can win an election.
Edwards, Warner, Clark are all possibilities, but none have really caught fire with party faithful.

Obviously things change a lot in two-plus years, but if the presidential election were held today, "none of the above" would probably win. In this Bizarro political world, both parties appear to be playing giveaway checkers.

Posted by: Vincent on June 22, 2006 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

My bet is that the wingers will support their candidate of choice regardless of adultery. They'll make a big show of saying, "We're not sure about this because he's an adulterer," and then they'll regretfully conclude that McCain (or Giuliani, or Gingrich) is the best choice because they've seen his heart and he's atoned and blah blah blah. The Christianists make a lot of noise about their principles and keep their practicality out of sight, and they'll find a way to make it seem like they don't have a double standard (even if the rest of us can see right through it).

Posted by: Wally on June 22, 2006 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

Does the name Terry Nelson ring a bell with anyone re: John McCain? Say, NH phone jamming/Tobin convicted trial? Tobin worked for Terry.
Here's a blurg on this walking around free butthead:
http://dcspectator.typepad.com/weblog/2006/05/08/index.html

I used to respect John a whole lot......not anymore...winning is all that matters no matter who gets you there(has the stank on them)! Please, John, wake the hell up and do your job...you are a better man rather than abdicating!

Posted by: avahome on June 22, 2006 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK
Hillary Clinton can probably get the Democratic nomination thanks to the party bosses, but since many on both the left and right despise her, there's no way in hell she can win an election.

I can't remember the last time a Democrat, other than the sitting President or Vice President, was nominated to the Presidency that was the favorite of the party bosses and presumptive frontrunner two years, or even a year, before the primary.

But I think Hillary is well set up to be the Joe Lieberman of the 2008 primary season.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 22, 2006 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

But I think Hillary is well set up to be the Joe Lieberman of the 2008 primary season.

Yes, but does she have Joementum?

Posted by: Stefan on June 22, 2006 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin, you forgot polygamy: George, Laura, and Condi.

Posted by: on June 22, 2006 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

Face it. Dems will not have any hope of winning until they learn how to steal the elections BACK.

Posted by: Michael Buchanan on June 22, 2006 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

The Republican Dark Horse is Chuck Hegel.

These other guys are a distraction.
More Rovian info-warfare.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on June 22, 2006 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

Giuliani would be my pick for a Republican nominee. I think the fact that he is socially liberal would sway thousands of middle-of-the-road republicans and democrats alike. The difference in the parties, republicans are inclusive, they are more willing to take a hit on some issues to advance others. Democrats, on the other hand, are exclusive, it is all or nothing. i.e. I can be a pro-choice republican, but I could never be a pro-life democrat. Plus, imagine if he could do for the US what he did for the city of New York. Middle-of-the-road is GOOD!

Posted by: Ty on June 22, 2006 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

Face it. Dems will not have any hope of winning until they learn how to steal the elections BACK.
Posted by: Michael Buchanan on June 22, 2006 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

Sadly true.

And if they did that, then why would I support them over Republicans.

It's the dishonest scumbaggery we need to get rid of. The system is broken, and replacing one set of gaming criminals with another isn't going to fix the system.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on June 22, 2006 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

By dishonest scumbaggery, do you mean capitalism or democracy or both?

Posted by: Michael Buchanan on June 22, 2006 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK
Face it. Dems will not have any hope of winning until they learn how to steal the elections BACK.

What we need is an electoral and political system where its harder to make major swings in partisan power by playing games to make tiny manipulations around the edges of vote totals; largely, that means a more proportional system of legislative elections and reversing the accumulation of executive power. Ending "winner-take-all" as the model for state elections of slates of Presidential electors would help, too.

You aren't going to stop people from gaming the system when its so easy to get such big rewards from small distortions.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 22, 2006 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

Why aren't we talking about election reform? Because no one really wants honest elections.

ready for a revolution yet?

Posted by: Michael Buchanan on June 22, 2006 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

Dobson et al are posturing.

If wingnuts cared about adultery, they would have never voted for Reagan. Heck, if they cared about adultery, they would be pushing to outlaw it (instead of gay marriage) as the biggest threat to the "institution of marriage" (whatever that is).

It's not about morality, much less logical consistency. It's all about power and control.

Posted by: Disputo on June 22, 2006 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

yeah, so why do we all read this guys blog anyway? He is always missing the point.

Posted by: Michael Buchanan on June 22, 2006 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

Democrats, on the other hand, are exclusive, it is all or nothing. i.e. I can be a pro-choice republican, but I could never be a pro-life democrat.

Yeah, that Harry Reid fellow is a nobody in the Democratic party.

Posted by: Alf on June 22, 2006 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

but none of them got a BJ in the frickin' OVAL OFFICE from his intern!

This comment, along with Al's hilarious query as to why democrats were obsessed with Republican sex lives (?) show how desperate the rightards really are. Hey, Karl, you need to hire smarter trolls.

Giuliani is too socially liberal

Bullshit. Giuliani was "socially liberal" because he had to be to get elected in NYC. If he's serious about running in '08, he'll be sucking Falwell's hose to make it happen. He'll be the pro-life, anti-gay poster child. Why do people think he has any integrity?

Posted by: MeLoseBrain? on June 22, 2006 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

better question: Why do people think elections matter?

Posted by: Michael Buchanan on June 22, 2006 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

By dishonest scumbaggery, do you mean capitalism or democracy or both?
Posted by: Michael Buchanan on June 22, 2006 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

I mean, Duke Cunningham, Jack Abramoff, Tom DeLay, I Lewis Libby.

I'm talking about power brokering, bribery, election fraud, lying, secrecey, everything the Republican Party stands for - and everything that the Democrats would most certainly be doing if they regained power.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on June 22, 2006 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

Forget Al Gore's inconvenient truth. The really inconvenient truth is that the 'greatest democracy in the world' has had an illegitimate president for 6 years and counting.

Posted by: Michael Buchanan on June 22, 2006 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

better question: Why do people think elections matter?
Posted by: Michael Buchanan on June 22, 2006 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

We're told that elections have consequences.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on June 22, 2006 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

I'll get interested in this when David Broder and the NYT publish articles on how Newtie and Rudy's sexcapades carry great import in evaluating their political character.

What's that I hear? Chirping crickets?

Posted by: Jim on June 22, 2006 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

McCain's problem with Focus on the Family and Family Research Council is that he's attacked the process by which they raise money. They won't ever get past that unless it looks like his election is inevitable. It wouldn't matter if he'd been married to the same woman since high school.

Posted by: Zathras on June 22, 2006 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

Democrats, on the other hand, are exclusive, it is all or nothing. i.e. I can be a pro-choice republican, but I could never be a pro-life democrat.

Bob Casey says hello.

Posted by: Vincent on June 22, 2006 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

How does Giuliani get away with absolutely no one calling him on his boneheaded decision to setup the NYC emergency operations center in the WTC after the building was bombed by terrorists in 1993? Of course, the operations center was useless on 9-11.

It seems that almost everyone considers the guy to be a really smart guy.

Posted by: Chris Brown on June 22, 2006 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

"Giuliani is too socially liberal and would genuinely have trouble defending his messy past, "

This misconception will die apparently a slow and terrible death among Democrats. Multiple polls in recent months have shown Giuliani to be the front-runner for the GOP nomination, but one poll in particular is especially worth nothing. A Diageo/Hotline poll (I'm too lazy to find my bookmark for it; I'm sure it's still online) from March found that not only does Giuliani beat McCain in a head-to-head primary contest, Giuliani's base of support *is* the Republican base: Bush voters, conservative evangelicals, the hardcore, unrepetentants. These people may be dumb in any number of ways, but they know who Giuliani is, and what he has done (publically and privately). Not only do they know he is their best shot for keeping control of the White House, but they really genuinely adore him.

My own view is that Rudy is a kind of brownshirt and demagogue, that New York turned around largely because of efforts by ordinary people and business and to the extent government had a role it was because of decisions made years if not decades earlier, but this SOB has an immaculate image that will be difficult for the Democrats to take down. He is a true charismatic. He has the glow, like Reagan, Kennedy, FDR. And remember: Reagan was a divorcee as well.

Posted by: Linus on June 22, 2006 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

Some sensible discussion here. Maybe historians of the future won't think as poorly of 2006 as they will of 2003, the year there was serious talk about amending the constitution to make way for Arnie Fever!!!!

I don't think it will be McCain, which is too bad because I don't think he'd do as well in the general election as a lot of folks suggest. The media love affair with him is coming to an end, the Falwell love-in won't be forgotten. A lot of Perot-type libertarians may not be down with that either. I actually think some cracker like George Allen might do better than McCain electorally, as long as he can convince the GOP base he's like George W but even more serious about defending conservative values. South Carolina in 2000 showed a good phony cowboy can trump seven years in Hua Lo prison and a lifetime of public service in the GOP nomination process.

If Guliani got the nomination he would probably win, but the funny thing is I think he would have to run as a Democrat for re-election. Four years of social moderation would be for some wingers... just too much.

Posted by: sweaty guy on June 23, 2006 at 12:33 AM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: sunday on June 23, 2006 at 12:43 AM | PERMALINK

Well, then. Good news for twice-divorced Russ Feingold!

The people won't have a choice. All candidates must be gay divorcees.

Posted by: sa rose on June 23, 2006 at 1:22 AM | PERMALINK

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