Can He Be Stopped?

Josh Marshall fears that Giuliani would continue to get a free ride from the media, and could soar to victory in the general election by campaigning as America’s mayor.  And because Josh, rightly, believes that his presidency would be a disaster, he writes that he may have to hope for a Romney candidacy.

I disagree.

I’ve long believed that he cannot win the GOP nomination, but now I hope to be proven wrong.  I think his candidacy would give us a chance to drive a stake through the heart of the know-nothing neonationalism that he represents.

Giuliani had a Bushesque approval rating on September 10.  There’s all manner of missteps from his pre-9/11 persona to be brought to light.  And he’s extremely vulnerable on September 11 itself.  His recent gaffe comparing himself to the rescue workers is a revealing one— there are plenty of 9/11 rescue workers willing to go on TV and tell the truth about his failures in planning and failures in responding.

What’s more, the country is different now than it was in 2004.  Of course it’s true, as Josh points out, that Fox News will roll over for whoever the GOP nominee is.  But who cares?  They don’t set the narrative anymore.  Bush is seen as an incompetent bumbler, the Democrats aren’t showing up to participate in the partisan charade over there anymore, and Fox’s ratings are on the decline.

Sure, George W. Bush’s mythology was also easily debunkable, yet undebunked, but in 2000, there was a completely cowed Democratic Party, no netroots, and his mythology wasn’t the sum total of his campaign.  Today, this country hates the Iraq occupation.  And Rudy has absolutely nothing to offer but nonsequiturs about Islamic terror, demonization of Democrats, and fear itself.

I thought that Rudy’s vulnerabilities left him with no chance to win the nomination.  But it just might be that vague bellicosity and a perceived willingness to irritate liberals is enough to win over the base.

Bring him on.

The “dittohead” formula is not enough to win the general election, not now, not with public opinion turning against the war and against the GOP, and not with a somewhat more alert Democratic Party— and with the netroots prodding them towards addressing facts.

And hey, if I’m wrong, I’m pretty sure my dad can still get an Irish passport.  What are the rules on that?

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