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Because it's never too early

The handicapping of the 2008 presidential race has already begun. While everyone seems to agree hat the Republicans are in grim shape, Howard Fineman of Newsweek thinks the Democrats are in no position to exploit it.

A remarkably pessimistic assessment of the GOP's near-term prospects comes from none other than Fred Barnes of The Weekly Standard. I'll be the first to admit that the Republicans are facing a strong headwind at the moment, but I seriously have to question some of Barnes' basic assumptions. First, there's this:

The field of Republican candidates is weak.... The strongest potential Republican candidates are Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

What?? Is he serious? I don't know a single Republican anywhere who would cite this trio as the GOP's "strongest" candidates. Does anybody? Barnes is on crack here. He then goes on to rehash this hoary (heh, heh) canard:
Giuliani is a social liberal.

Yeah, so? Has he looked at the Ruffini straw poll lately? Rudy is running away with it. What's more, this poll is far from an outlier. It's right in line with every single GOP survey I've seen since the 2004 elections. I'm still in contact with many conservative Republicans from the South, which is territory supposedly hostile to Giuliani, and he's still enormously popular down there. It's high time we retire this fallacious bit of "conventional wisdom" about Rudy being anathema to party conservatives.


Keep an eye on Utah Governor Jon Huntsman (Republican) and Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln (Democrat) as VP contenders.

I think the winning duo for the republicans would be McCain-Hagel. Guliani is highly unpopular among independent and democrats.

I think the winning duo for the republicans would be McCain-Hagel. Guliani is highly unpopular among independents and democrats.

I'd vote Guliani in a heartbeat. People who talk about the south and what we want (aka, newspapers, magazines) are usually not ones who actually come down here and talk to us. However, I am in Texas, and believe it or not, I'd put us up as the most well-adjusted people in the world.

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