The great Kate O’Beirne takes exception to my piece in the NY Observer as to why conservatives seem to be approving of Rudy’s candidacy. Just a few thoughts: 1) The conventional thinking was that he wouldn’t make it out of the box and social conservatives would descend on him. Perhaps they are in a state of shock but they have not yet done so. He leads in polls among all Republicans, social conservatives and Evangelicals. The piece is not predictive of his ability to win, and Romney — who is looking very strong — may in fact be the three-legged stool proponent some conservatives are searching for. However, a lot of conservatives, and a lot of social conservatives, do like Rudy (or at least tell pollsters they do) and there are reasons for it, many of which I discuss. 2) Contrary to Ms.O’Beirne’s contention, I do not “condescend” to social conservatives. Indeed I give them credit for knowing what Rudy’s positions are. I do not assume that they are ignorant of his widely known views. I do think they are considering their support strategically in light of the available options and the prospect of a Hillary presidency. 3) Ms. O’Beirne’s conclusion that Rudy may win but it will not be “because conservatives have grown up” raises an interesting possibility that a Rudy win may represent a fundamental readjustment of the GOP and the relative strength of social conservatives. 4) I do heartily agree that the race is fluid and there are multiple roads to the nomination.
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