The Political Impact of Bhutto's Assassination ...

Matt Lewis
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Posted: Dec 27, 2007 12:24 PM

Though it’s macabre to think about, with Iowa right around the corner, any major news story has the potential to impact the outcome.  The assassination of Bhutto is no exception, and has the potential to “re-frame” the entire debate.   

During the past month or so, as things settled down in Iraq, we saw more experienced candidates -- like Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Clinton -- begin to fade, as more charismatic “change” candidates -- like Huckabee and Obama -- emerged.  Today’s assassination has the potential to change that. 

Political strategists understand that voters don't live in a vacuum.  As such, if Republican caucus-goers show up at the caucus, and the most important question they have on their mind is: “Who is the most pro-Life” -- then Huckabee probably wins.  But if voters are asking themselves, “Who has the experience to deal with bad guys and keep me safe,” then all of a sudden, Huckabee doesn’t fare so well.   

Simply put, people who are worried about terror don't have the luxory of rooting for a charismatic candidate who is offering "change."

This unfortunate event probably helps candidates like Hillary, Giulaini, and McCain (who is surging  in the polls), and harms candidates like Huckabee and Obama. 

Lastly, because this assassination did not involve Iraq, it probably helps Republicans, in general (who are usually branded as the “tough” party) unlike the recent violence prior to the surge, which obviously hurt Republicans…