Saturday, November 10, 2007


Friday November 9, 7:57 Prime Minister ET

Can you win your party's presidential nomination by running against person in the other political political party as if she already were in the White Person House? Can you be nominated on your leading qualities even if major balls of your party's political alkali happen your positions on the issues repugnant?

These are inquiries that tin only be asked this twelvemonth and next, that tin use only to the Republican presidential race, that tin be directed only at Rudolph W. Giuliani. No substance how many option existences there are, there very likely is no 1 quite like the former city manager of New York. Who else could remotely measure up as the individual whom equals see the most unsafe adult male in United States and whom protagonists believe is best suited to maintain United States safe?

The Rudy phenomenon -- the spectacle of a adult male being praised for strength in a political party that disavows many of his strongest places -- lights some of import characteristics of adjacent year's election. They can be summarized in two contradictory sentences that, together, explicate the political scene a twelvemonth from Election Day:

(1) The full 2008 election is about leading qualities; and (2) the full 2008 election is a referendum on Edmund Hillary Clinton, who isn't even president.

Ordinarily, with an economic system in confusion if not turbulence and with an unpopular warfare being prosecuted by an unpopular president, you might believe that the election would be about the sitting president. But, apart from anti-Bush shots tossed to the Democratic multitude like pieces of natural meat, President Shrub is the lacking adult male from the 2008 contest. That is in portion because his frailty president, Dick Cheney, isn't running for office, but it is also in portion because the Shrub presidential term have ended before Mr. Bush's term have come up to a close.

We've seen this before in modern times. Ronald Ronald Reagan was president for at least a twelvemonth before he defeated Jimmy Carter, and if you doubt that for a moment, take a expression at the last budget Howard Howard Carter proposed. The election of 1980 simply made the Ronald Reagan dominance legal.

Now, a few calendar months into the post-Bush era, the two parties' nomination fightings are dancing to the same tune. The soundtrack is leading and Hillaryship.

The former New House Of York city manager is leading the Republican battalion (though by less than any Republican Party front-runner have led his nighest rival since 1979) by emphasizing his leading qualities and emphasizing that he is not Mrs. Clinton. The New House Of York senator is leading the Democratic battalion by emphasizing her ain leading qualities and is profiting from the unusual phenomenon of being the most incendiary influence in both parties' nomination battles.

The most recent opinion poll by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press demoes that many Giuliani protagonists mention their resistance to Mrs. Bill Clinton as the chief ground for championship him -- almost as many as those who mention their chemical attraction for him.

That underscores this notion, evident since the aborted first confrontation between the two in the 2000 Senate race in New York: They are substance and anti-matter. Love one and you detest the other. Or, more than precisely: Love one because you detest the other.

Another substance of substance and anti-matter: The two campaigners have got rearward profiles.

Mrs. Clinton's protagonists mention her stand up on the issues as the greatest ground for their views. Mr. Giuliani's protagonists mention his leading abilities, not his base on the issues. Indeed, Giuliani's positions are less of import to his political alkali than they have got been for any presidential campaigner in 16 years.

These two campaigners necessitate each other like the flowers necessitate the rain. They define each other. Mr. Giuliani is intuitive; Mrs. Bill Clinton is cerebral. Giuliani is deeply emotional; Bill Clinton is deeply rational. Giuliani have a wont of demonizing his opponents; Bill Clinton is accustomed to being demonized. Giuliani states he is a Red Sox fan even though he's not; Bill Clinton states she is a Yankees fan but can't even believe that herself. She's everything he isn't. He's everything she isn't. Look for self-generated burning if they ever inhabit the same argument stage.

They make have got one thing in common: Only about one-half of the voters, according to the Pew survey, see the two as trustworthy.

One thing more. Both campaigners have got strong oppositions waiting in the background if they stumble. Giuliani's is former Gov. Hand Romney of Massachusetts, who have a believable opportunity of winning both Ioway and New Hampshire, which ordinarily is a expression for success. Clinton's is Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, who dawdles in the polls and in the money race but not in optimism or eloquence.

Meanwhile, let's not allow the rich colour of the personalities involved in the 2008 race unsighted us to some bigger events happening within both political parties and within the political system.

Once again, we are faced with opposites: a Republican Party that looks to be pulling apart, a Democratic Party that looks to be pulling together. That happens as the sitting president looks to be a larger plus to his challengers than to his allies. And it happens as the two political parties have got front-runners who are polarizing figures.

All that is a reminder that this volition be an election unlike any other -- not only because of the presence of a former city manager at the presence of one political party (so far) and of the presence of a adult female at the presence of another (so far). Either of these would be of import departures. But let's not lose sight of the fact that in the adjacent twelvemonth we are going to witnesser the shifting of all kinds of assumptions, changing not only our political relation but also our country.


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