Is Rudy Nominatable? And, Is Nominatable a Word? (Plus: Rudy-Staff Conference Call)

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Mar 12, 2007 4:07 PM

Well, the junkety-junk's hitting the fan for the Rudy camp in the form of a Drudge-linked YouTube clip in which Rudy insists on the great moral need for public-funding of abortion. Well, there's a powerful saw, indeed-- one that can fell both a fiscal and social conservative oak.

RCP reflects on the relative dirtiness and depth of the dirt on Rudy:

Rudy is now at 38% in the latest RCP Average,which will most likely be his peak as more candidates get in the race and more clips like this continue to be unearthed. If Fred Thompson gets in the race, he would likely vault to a strong third very quickly.

Let's be clear: Video clips like this are totally expected and justpart of the long string of baggage the Giuliani campaign is going to have to manage if they hope to capture the Republican nomination. It is exactly clips like these (and the three marriages, and the Bernie Kerik sludge) that make many analysts discount Giuliani's chances.

Rudy is, indeed, carrying a full set of Samsonites with him on the campaign trail. Are his charisma, promises on judges, and toughness on terror enough to carry him through?

Right now, it's working. Another poll in an early-primary state shows Rudy easily atop, well, everyone:

In head-to-head matchups in the generalelection, the survey found that Giuliani was favored by 46 percent toClinton's 38 percent, and Giuliani had 44 percent to Democratic SenatorBarack Obama's 42 percent.The poll of 600 voters was conductedTuesday through Thursday by Research 2000 for the Reno Gazette-Journaland K-R-N-V--TV. It has a margin of error of plus of minus four percent.Inthe G-O-P field, the survey found Giuliani was backed by 38 percent toSenator John McCain's 18 percent, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's13 percent and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney's four percent.

Today, well-known conservative Sen. David Vitter endorsed Rudy. Vitter is the proud owner of a 96 and 92 rating by the American Conservative Union in 2005 and '06, respectively.

And, a report from South Carolina dubs Rudy a "star on the rise," even in the Bible Belt. 

In his column last week, George Will pled with conservatives--a little more melodramatically than called for, I thought-- to consider the Top 3 candidates, the conservative credentials they do have,  and not make the perfect the enemy of the good (All of the Top 3 are moderate-ish guys, after all. What more does George want?). Here's his take on Rudy:

First, that some of the social issues have gone off the boil because argument about them seems sterile: Democrats have scant interest in federal gun control legislation; scientific advances may obviate the need for using stem cells; cultural changes will do more than any feasible legislation can do to reduce abortion numbers; the way to change abortion law is to change courts by means of judicial nominations of the sort Giuliani promises tomake.

Second, that his deviations from the social conservatives' agenda is more than balanced by his record as mayor of New York. That city was liberalism's laboratory as it went from the glittering metropolis celebrated in the movie "Breakfast at Tiffany's'' (1961) to the dystopia of the novel "Bonfire of the Vanities'' (1987). Giuliani successfully challenged the culture of complaint that produced the politics of victimhood that resulted in government by grievance groups.

Word. That second paragraph is what I love about Rudy, and what many people respond to, even those among us who might wish for a more ideologically pure candidate. Of course, I'm more passionately a fiscal/security conservative than a social one, but I know plenty of social conservatives who know Rudy well, know his predilections, and still dig him. The question is whether the luster will last as those social cons get closer to having to mark the dot next to the pro-choice, thrice-married guy in the actual voting booth, judge promises or no.

Will the charisma hold up?

Will the judges promises hold up, for that matter

He appointed Dora Irizarry, who had called herself pro-abortion and had the backing of pro-abortion Democratic Sens. Charles Schumer and Hillary Clinton, to the criminal bench in 1996.

A recent review of judges Giuliani appointed to three of New York state’s lower courts found that Democrats outnumbered Republicans by more than 8 to 1.

However, Kelli Conlin, executive director of NARAL's New York affiliate, disagreed with the assessment, saying there was no real ideological pattern to them.

I was just on a blogger conference call with a couple of Rudy's exploratory guys--Ed Goeas and Brent Seaborn-- and they're touting the consistently good poll numbers Rudy's showing.

Someone asked if maybe the numbers are a reflection of the fact that voters don't know Rudy that well, yet. Seaborn pointed to a Gallup poll, which shows that a majority of voters say they know "a lot" about Rudy.

"Voters may be done being told that they don't know about him when they feel they do know about him,"
His feeling is that people understand he's liberal on social issues, but conservative on fiscal and security issues, and they think of him as "conservative," overall.

"I don't think that can be taken as a miscue or a misunderstanding of where he stands."

Ed Morrissey of Captain's Quarters asked if they thought perhaps the polling was soft at this point, and how long the numbers would hold up. Seaborn again:

"It seems to me that the voters...the whole cycle's been accelerated...The primary schedule has moved up...We're really 8 or 9months away. We may have primaries in December this year. We'll have alot of the voting done by early February."

"I think the polling is remarkably strong. We have well-defined candidates.Both Mayor Giuliani and Sen. McCain have almost 100 percent name ID...We're all perfectly aware that the polling is gonna tighten...I think the polling is more accurate than not right now."

Gary Gross of Let Freedom Ring blog identified himself as a social conservative before noting that this go-round, he's more interested in how candidates would fight the War on Terror. Is that the sense the Rudy camp is getting from folks? Ed Goeas:

"I think you're seeing some of that in terms of the global war on terror. There is too, to some extent some factoring in of two other words--Hillary Clinton."

"I'm also a very strong social conservative myself. Sometimes we fall into the trap of believing what the other side generalizes about us."

"A large part of the social conservative family has always...been concerned about a multilayer of issues."

"It is that they (social conservatives) are factoring in (with Rudy)-- a balance between all of them."
I got on the call late, so I'm betting there was some good talk about the abortion video and the possible Fred Thompson candidacy (star power + conservatism = silver bullet for Rudy?), but I missed it. I'll try to find someone who blogged it up.