One pro-Romney blogger’s round-up of the reacts.
On tonight’s show,Politico’s Mike Allen agreed that Rudy has swung into full contest mode in New Hampshire –realizing it seems that a candidate has to win one of the early races in Iowa, NH, Michigan, South Carolina or Nevada to stay competitive in Florida and beyond. Allen also hinted that Rudy has a big endorsement coming in the Granite State this week. Only an endorsement from John Sununu would compare with the Gregg boost for Romney, but most observers are expecting Sununu to sit out the primary.
Clearly, though, the “two-man race” dynamic has taken over in the Republican campaign, and the Thompson-Huckabee camps have to be fighting that sinking feeling. (The McCain campaign sunk months ago but the Arizona senator will run on fumes to get to New Hampshire just to spite his legion of GOP critics.)
As I noted on tonight’s show, the most accessible of the GOP candidates have been Romney and Giuliani. Yes, they also have had the best fund-raising organizations, but the mayor and the governor have also had the confidence to do public event after public event and every media availability offered in which the questions have been unscripted and the opporunities for hostile queries endless. Both have built confidence through their willingness to engage every day on any issue. Whichever one emerges as the nominee will have to figure out how to keep interest high after the February results are in, and that will mean a continued willingness to meet the media –old and new– as well as the voters in forum after forum. The nominee will have to visit Ohio at least as often as they have been in New Hampshire or Iowa to keep that state competitive in the fall.
The long campaign and the expected early wrap-up of the nomination will put a premium on campaign innovation, perhaps even breaking with the old tradition of not naming likely Cabinet members in a future Administration. The old saw is that such a practice would be an illegal exercise in office-promising, but for advise-and-consent positions, that objection is nonsense. One way for either Romney or Giuliani to build out their GOP coalition as well as contrast their seriousness in foreign affairs versus a return to Clinton fecklessness would be to name the senior Administration officials in waiting for a few offices of special concern (while paying appropriate deference to the Senate’s Constitutional role.) There are no binding rules for a year in which a former Massachusetts governor is contending with a former NYC mayor for the Republican nomination.
Let’s hope it stays wide-open when it comes to tactics as the alternative of letting MSM propel a Clinton campaign via its standard agenda journalism will doom the GOP nominee. Just read yesterday’s hit piece, “Rudy the Values Slayer,” on Giuliani from the New York Times’ resident radical Frank Rich. Rich is clearly alarmed by a Rudy run and has begun his attempt to bleed away Giuliani voters via a negative attack ad dressed up as “analysis.” Of course almost every evangelical voter will take it as a sign of Rudy’s acceptability that he is being attacked by Frank Rich, but Rich is just one of thousands of MSMers waiting to do their part to speed the Clinton Restoration.
It is a very good thing that the GOP has narrowed its field to two out-of-the-mold Republicans. Keeping the MSM agenda-journalists off-balance and thus off-script for the next year is one of the keys to keeping the White House in responsible hands.