Tuesday, February 14, 2006


That Rudy & Rice Train?

Someone forgot to tell the conservatives to get on board:

In the CPAC presidential preference straw poll,

The biggest losers...were two moderates: former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who dropped from first place last year (with 19%) to third this year (with 12%); and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who went from second last year (with 18%) to fourth (with 10%).
Well, regular readers of this space and Alarming News could have predicted this.

So, who are the leading candidates right now?

Sen. George Allen (R.-Va.) went from a middle-of-the-road presidential candidate one year ago to the favorite among conservatives...The unscientific poll of CPAC attendees gave Allen 22% -- double the 11% he received in last year’s straw poll. Although conservatives remain divided, Allen’s plurality cements his status as one the leading Republicans. Finishing second was Sen. John McCain (R.-Ariz.) with 20%. One year ago, McCain tied Allen at 11%. McCain’s strong showing came as somewhat of a surprise given his role as a maverick unafraid of bucking his party. McCain has also rankled conservatives for his support of a campaign-finance law strongly opposed by those on the right.
So, Allen vs. McCain for the hearts of conservatives? It's waaaayyyy too early, but, it still raises an interesting question: Willl that put an odd sort of pressure on McCain to come help his Senate colleague if James Webb is the Democratic nominee challenging him in the Fall?

How does McCain play it? Will he do the same as he did in '04 -- support and campaign for the Republican non-veteran (Bush/Allen), while refraining from overt negative attacks on the Democratic veteran (Kerry/Webb)?

My Virginia Republican (see previous post) thinks that sounds right: "That's exactly it. I think McCain will campaign forAllen in northern Virgina and maybe the Norfolk area. McCain will promote Allen but he will not bad mouth Webb unless Webb draws first blood -- and Webb just might do that over McCain's support of the Iraq War."

But, as we speculated in the previous post, what happens if both Allen and Rick Santorum -- the golden lights of the socially conservative right -- lose in Fall '06? Would conservatives give Condi and Rudy another look-see? Perhaps, though I doubt it (assuming, of course, either of them truly are interested in making a run).

Would Sam Brownback of Kansas begin to surface more strongly on the radar screen (to mix metaphors)?

This year may be more interesting than anyone could have imagined.

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