Coward Old Universe…

by Jeremy G.

Giuliani’s momentum: Why the Thompson effect won’t matter

Posted by Jeremy Ghez on September 6, 2007



Several reasons could lead an unregistered voter in the U.S. to hate a Republican nominee for a Presidential election.  Those include the abortion question, social issues such as gay mariage, and more broadly social conservatism.  Guess what…  None of these reasons apply to former Mayor of New York, Rudolph Giuliani, the current front runner in the Republican primary.

Giuliani has made a lot of enemies.  I discussed the hits coming from the left here.  Social conservatives, as Michael Gerson of the Council on Foreign Relations explains here, have a lot of trouble to imagine how Giuliani’s nomination could actually occur and continue to consider Giuliani’s success as an accident soon to reveal itself.  None of this will matter, though, in the long run.  My intuition tells me that once the Bush-era closes, and once Republican strategists will have figured out a way to clearly distance their candidate from the Bush legacy, Giuliani will be able to dominate whichever Democratic candidate he will face in the fall of 2008.

French analyst Bruno Tertrais gave a very detailed account of Bush’s 2004 victory.  The bottom line of his study is that it is impossible to win a Presidential election without the South.  This bodes ill for Hillary Clinton.  Her husband Bill was able to win the 1992 election precisely because he was a good fellow for a Southern State, Arkansas.  This is all but true for the former First Lady from New York, who even tends to be hated by some of Northeast acquaitances who have voted for the Democrat party ever since they can remember.

Rudy Giuliani’s case might just be similar, some may point out, since he too is from New York.  Nevertheless, in the presidential strech, he may have a much greater appeal than many of us have expected, as Peter Boyer of the New Yorker explains pretty clearly hereGiuliani has been very cautious about using the 9-11 image, to which he could have easily been associated to.  Instead, his campaign has focused on the image of the “fixer”, the individual who was able to repair the ungovernable city, NYC…  This image will play well in the South, where voters are most attached to moral values, and who could be attracted to such a “fixing” figure.  In the more liberal electorate, as stated above, Giuliani is not the guy you’ll love to hate. 

It’s hard to imagine what could damage Giuliani’s path today, or more precisely how Fred Thompson’s official arrival will change anything, contrary to what the Wall Street Journal Editorial claims hereThompson does not present any additional advantage in the South that Giuliani does not have.  But as a populist from the South, it seems hard to imagine how Thompson will perform well among undecideds.  There are many potential Giuliani Democrats out there.  The same does not hold for Thompson.  

One final question remains: Who are, at the end of the day, the crucial voters?  The Karl Rove school states that it is the Republican base that makes the difference in the end – i.e. whether or not they decided to go out and vote.  The 2006 election disaster for the GOP proved the limits to Rove’s strategy.  Perhaps America is not as polarized as claimed by Rove, and a uniting figure may help the country make the difficult choices to come.  Giuliani has a lot of potential from this perspective.


3 Responses to “Giuliani’s momentum: Why the Thompson effect won’t matter”


  2. […] Giuliani’s momentum: Why the Thompson effect won’t matter […]

  3. […] not the first time, but I was wrong about Giuliani.  After his third place tonight, in Florida, the former mayor is likely to quit tomorrow and […]

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