I’m just catching up because I was in transit yesterday, but I see that over at RedState, Spectator contributor Hunter Baker has pronounced Rudy done because of the Planned Parenthood story. While it goes without saying that the story harms him, I don’t think it changes the big picture. All along, there have been two reasons why I have felt that Giuliani would win the nomination: 1) National Security will prove the dominant issue of the campaign and 2) There isn’t a viable conservative alternative. Fred Thompson’s flirtation with running has challenged my second assertion (and clearly he steals the most from Giuliani in the polls), but thus far it remains a big question mark whether he will live up to the hype once he actually announces. If he does, I’ll have to reassess my analysis. As for national security, after watching Obama ignore terrorism in his stump speech last night, it reinforced for me the fact that this election will very much be decided in the way Giuliani has framed it: Do we want to stay on offense against terrorism, or go back on defense? When Republican primary voters are looking at the prospect of America electing a Democrat who wants to retreat in the face of the terrorist threat, the focus will ultimately be on national security, which will play to Rudy’s strong suit. Furthermore, as a general rule, I have a hard time counting out Giuliani because throughout his life he has proved himself to be a fighter who has overcome long odds, and who has recovered from setbacks to achieve things that people once considered impossible. To be sure, the recent pummeling he has taken both for his past record on abortion and his confusing statements during the campaign, gives credence to the position of Rudy skeptics who argue that once conservatives learn more about his social views, he’ll be toast. But it’s far too early in the campaign, and he has far too many other things going for him, to write off his chances just yet.
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