Alarming News

November 28, 2007

“We’ll see”

I have several friends, Tom Elliott, Philip Klein and particularly Charlie Prince spring to mind, who are huge Giuliani fans and have been for some time.

I am too, I’ve detailed it before, but I have struggled to find a different candidate to support for the presidency for all the reasons I’ve outlined on this site previously (starting with my feeling that we’ll end up with McCain if Giuliani seems like he’ll win the nomination).

I settled on Fred Thompson because he fit in so many ways. A true conservative, well-spoken, and a man with presence, ideas and enthusiasm. Except it turned out that the last one, well, not so much.

I’m still hoping Fred can turn things around but it’s not looking too good and I admit that. That doesn’t seem to be enough for Charlie, who sent me an extensively researched email which shows that Fred’s numbers are too low to turn around in time and that I should give up hope. Here’s the money part:

Now, as you know, I am a big proponent of the theory that this year, with so many polls moved up to Feb. 5th, early states and the South play a far smaller role than they have in the past. I think it is increasingly becoming like a general election in that the bigger states carry far more weight (CA, FL, NY, OH, PA, etc.). And this is where Thompson has really not made much of a dent at all, presumably because he had to pick his battles. Polls show Fred trailing with gaps in excess of 20% behind the front-runners in California and Pennsylvania, and in other key states (Ohio, Michigan, etc.) he is normally about 15% behind. Arguably a key win in early states NH and IO might generate a surge to give a candidate enough momentum to be competitive in overcoming a 15% gap in the polls in other states, but that only helps Romney, as, again, Thompson hovers in or near last place in IO and NH, so a 15-20% gap in the larger states is almost certainly insurmountable.

Perhaps worst of all, his momentum is actually negative, as he had been gaining ground (capping out at around 14-15% in states like PA in June and July, but since has slipped to a consistent 10-11% in recent months). And in turn Huckabee and especially Romney have gained momentum, as the press will increasingly focus on them the closer we get to the polls in the early states where Romney leads. Ominously, some head-to-head pollsters are no longer bothering to poll Thompson at all.

So, in conclusion, I present you with the obvious: I boldly declared it in February, I wrote definitively about it on your site in April, I have hammered it home throughout the summer and fall, and now, moments away from Thanksgiving, I feel obliged to once again point out the giant elephant in the room that gets larger by the day.

You know too much about politics to continue to ignore these facts. I admire enthusiasm and positive thinking as much as the next guy, but with where we are today in the primary cycle, I demand a reality check. This email is a gauntlet. Think of this as a subpoena on political wishful thinking. You run a successful political website, you are an influential figure in NY GOP circles, you are ranked as one of the top 40 under 40 politicos in NY, and as a result, you cannot stick your head in the sand — you have an obligation to face the music and acknowledge it loud and clear in all those circles in which you travel (as they say in Pulp Fiction): “[Fr]ed’s dead, baby, [Fr]ed’s dead”.

And he’s right. Fred’s team is now hoping for third in Iowa which isn’t too inspiring. I’m readying myself to let go of Fred. I’m just not there yet.

Fred’s plans have been getting great press and my overlord Allahpundit writes: “He should stick to the “true conservative” stuff and start hitting the fact that while Rudy and Mitt are throwing punches and Huckabee’s chattering about faith, he’s rolling out one policy proposal after another.”

The truth is, I remain wed to the belief that Fred is the guy. He’s the one that can win both the primary and the general election and do it on true conservative positions. I’ll let go of this, I promise, as soon as a few results roll in and prove me wrong. Here’s what I want from my Giuliani-fan friends in return: if McCain has some upset in either NH or Iowa, I want all of you Giuliani people to admit at that time that McCain’s surge will be due to the fact that Republican primary voters just won’t vote for a pro-choice, anti-gun, ex-Mayor of New Yawk. They will be choosing McCain as a direct reaction to Giuliani. They will be worrying about Romney or Huckabee in the general and they will find McCain to be conservative enough to support in both. If you don’t believe me, believe Patrick Ruffini who writes “This is going to sound crazy, but I’ve got a simple message for my friends in the Rudy, Mitt, Fred, and Huck camps: watch your backs for John McCain.”

If Giuliani walks away with the nomination, you won’t find a bigger supporter than me. I will cheerlead for him like no ones business. I will go door to door. I will write glowing posts and tell you all stories about a pre-Giuliani New York that was practically a warzone. He is the man, he will be my man, just not yet.