The once-powerful Reagan coalition had three legs -- strong on defense, less government and social conservatism. But the war in Iraq is not the same as the war on communism. It's very unpopular, and Rudy has become as identified with this unpopular war as John McCain. Meanwhile, he has abandoned social conservatism. What's left of the Reagan coalition for Rudy to run on? Naked fiscal conservatism? Conservatives are deluding themselves if they think fiscal conservatism by itself is a winning political coalition. Do they not remember the party of Gerald Ford? It was very fiscally conservative, socially moderate, and a permanent minority party.
The halo of "America's Mayor" is already slipping. For months, polls showed Rudy Giuliani leading Hillary Clinton in a head-to-head matchup, but by June of this year that lead had begun to evaporate. The latest poll, conducted in late September by ABC News and The Washington Post, shows Hillary Clinton beating Rudy Giuliani by eight points. Meanwhile, Mitt Romney trails Clinton in a head-to-head matchup in the latest Rasmussen poll by only nine points. One point better than Romney does not a convincing argument make for abandoning all principles.
And that's before Christian conservative leaders bolt the party, which has abandoned them on abortion, to run a third-party candidate.
A little political realism, please. If you think a candidate who breaks up the Republican Party is the best man to lead the nation, vote for Rudy. But don't imagine, it's going to be easy to elect him.
Maggie Gallagher is a nationally syndicated columnist, a leading voice in the new marriage movement and co-author of The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially.
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