If you missed it, Part 2 of my Democratic prediction was posted on Wednesday over at 1% More Conscious. The Republicans, however, are completely unpredictable. Quick hit on that coming right up...
It is not news that conservatives, as a group, have no idea who to turn to in the upcoming Republican Primary (though liberals would say that the cluelessness extends well beyond just elections). Conservatives, it seems, can find more reason to vote against each Republican candidate than they can find to vote for him. It's become a self-fulfilling story for the GOP. The more people talk about how the Republican candidates have flaws, the more significant the flaws seem to be, and this leads to more ink and airtime dedicated to this growing conservative dilemma.
I'll be sure to discuss all of the candidates at later dates, but the quintessential example is the current Republican frontrunner: former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Why would a conservative vote for him? Because he seems to be strong on terror. Why wouldn't a conservative vote for him? Because he's too liberal on core conservative values, including abortion, gay rights, and gun control. Additionally, he's on his third marriage after previous well-publicized affairs.
Therefore, depending on the priorities of the Republican voter, the GOP could go either way on Giuliani.
And since, as a history teacher and presidential politics blogger, I'm in the field of not only retrospection but also of prognostication, the question must be asked: What will the priorities of conservative voters end up being? While this might appear that I'm hedging my bets, I'm actually answering truthfully: They will both be very important. Despite the Congressional turnover last November, there are no polls that show the country is any less conservative than the one that re-elected President Bush in 2004.
The point: Eventually, the Giuliani campaign will implode faster than you can say Donna Hanover. His current double-digit lead will not withstand the test of time plus an educated national conservative constituency.
As few as a couple weeks ago, I was open to the possibility that his Strong On Terrorism stance might overcome all obstacles a Republican Primary could erect. I have since come to the conclusion that the obstacle course ahead of him is simply too difficult to complete. He will need to scale the wall of abortion, hurdle the trip wire of gun control, high step through the tires of gay marriage, and climb the rope of family values. And no one is in that kind of shape. Not even a tough guy like Rudy Giuliani.