Rudolph Giuliani continues to lead both the GOP nomination race national polls and critical state polls in delegate rich contests in both the North and South. However, his candidacy is flawed enough that he is unlikely to win the general election in 2008 if nominated.
Giuliani has attempted to stake a reputation as a major fighter of terrorism. Yet the fact of the matter is that two successful terrorist attacks took place at the World Trade Center site while Giuliani was Mayor. He failed to prevent either attack and merely responded with police or firemen after both incidents already took place. He is 0 for 2 in combating terrorism. As Mayor, Giuliani was particularly involved in what he called "quality of life issues" such attempting to zone adult entertainment businesses out of the Times Square area so that the Disney Corporation could open a souvenir store there or other minor city business issues. This is the hardly the record of any major combatant against terrorism or proves any real success preventing terrorist attacks on American soil. Compared to his likely opponent, Hillary Clinton, this is a particularly weak record to run on.
Giuliani will also face substantial opposition from a strong and vocal wing of pro-life voters in his party, who could easily sit out the general election or even bolt the party and support a third party candidate from the right running on a pro-life platform.
Giuliani will not even carry his home state of New York. Some polls have him traling Hillary Clinton by nearly 20 points in their common home state. Hillary Clinton will also likely carry California and other critical Northern states with large electoral votes. But Ohio will prove to be the state that determines the ultimate winner.
Giuliani and Clinton are both character challenged, and this will become a wash for both candidates, making it difficult for either campaign to attack the other on this issue or to stand on the high moral ground on the issue. But as the election of Richard Nixon in 1968 and 1972 both proved, voters will elect a character challenged candidate if they can prove to be highly competent and able to do the job. This factor favors Clinton, not Giuliani.
Fred Thompson's problems are also difficult to overcome. So far according to FEC records his fundraising efforts has been very weak, only proving some support from his home state and some supporters in the South. In addition, Thompson has missed too many debates, the Iowa straw vote, and time needed for critical organizational work. Even if he enters the race after Labor Day, he has probably lost too much organizational time to effectively compete with the other candidates and is probably little more than a regional candidate with some real strength only in some parts of the South, and not enough support in states nationwide to win enough delegates to wrest the nomination from Giuliani.
In addition to all these problems, any Republican nominee will have to survive the reputation of the Bush Administration as well as the failed Iraq War. This factor certainly favors change, and is another major bad omen for any Republican hopes in 2008.
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