Monday, October 8, 2007

Nomination Discussion Provoked By The Last Post

I got a quick and friendly email response to the last post. I will post it without a name, because it was an important point and raised an important discussion:

Reply to the post about not supporting Giuliani:

Larry, Even though I don't want Rudy to win the nomination, I don't think it has to be a losing situation. We know that a principled third party candidacy would give the presidency to Hillary Clinton. If Rudy wins the nomination, then we need to press for Mike Huckabee as vice-president. And social conservatives led by Mike will influence Rudy on the non-negotiable issues.

I realize this would not be the ideal situation, but it could be a practical solution. We can influence an unprincipled person because they are driven by vanity. Social conservatives provide the votes to give Rudy the presidency.

He gives in to our principled demands. A synergistic solution.

My response to the reply:

I have sometimes in recent years, but in the 90’s, I never disagreed with Alan Keyes. I disagree with Mike Huckabee’s approach on occasional issues. But unlike Keyes, what I most highly prize in Mike Huckabee is his embrace and expression of the character and grace of Jesus Christ.

Alan Keyes certainly wouldn’t and it would involve a lot of discussion for me: But, if Mike Huckabee saw fit to accept a spot on a ticket with Rudy Giuliani, I would trust his intentions and support that ticket.

Fortunately, I think there is at least an even chance that that won’t be necessary. Notwithstanding what foolish media and political “experts” may say, Huckabee has a good shot at the nomination. I am constantly tracking campaign activity, reports, and polls. In the early states, Huckabee is now very competitive with Rudy Giuliani, including what I predict will be well ahead of him by Iowa Caucus time. That leaves out the avalanche of media advertising that Giuliani will release upon Iowa before the January caucuses. But, a Des Moines Register poll shows Huckabee leading in Iowa among voters who have made up their mind about who they will support, which reflects the fact that his support is built more on personal contact and engageme4nt than on media circuses.

I have constantly tweaked predictions about Iowa Caucus results since the Ames Straw Poll in which Huckabee took second to Ronmey while spending less than a twentieth of the money and bussing in no supporters. What is constant in my ongoing predictions is that Huckabee is tweaked upward while others are tweaked downward. In a similar process before Ames, I predicted Romney and Huckabee’s finish almost exactly.

In short, if trends continue until caucus day, Huckabee is a sure second and competitive with Romney. As for Giuliani, the question is and always has been how badly he will finish in Iowa and whether he can “hold his breath" (popular profile) through the early primaries until February 5th. How badly will poor early primary showings affect him?

Giuliani skipped Ames and debates with Huckabee and others. I expect him to downplay the importance of the Iowa Caucuses before they occur, which of course may well only make his showing there worse. But, he has no choice. As I’ve said, the contest between he and Huckabee boils down to character and personal appeal vs. money and media. In the big picture, character and personal appeal is gaining on money and media. I’m not certain whether in 2008, the former can turn the tables on the latter and win. But whatever happens, I’m certain it will be way closer than expected and that turning of the tables is coming, eventually.

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