Category Archives: Fred Thompson

GOP Delegate Math & PA

Miss me?  Well, I’m back.  And much like Nixon in ’88, I’m tanned, rested, and ready.

It seems the ascension of the Huck– which he may or may not have you believe is Divinely directed— has scrambled every campaign’s electoral math.  McCain thought social conservatives would forget about McCain/Fiengold and give him a boost since he’s been strong on abortion.  Mitt put about 8 million dollars worth of eggs in Iowa, and they’ve rotted prematurely.  Thompson thought he could be the Southern candidate.

And Team Rudy figured a top tier of four candidates and Ron Paul would be crowded enough to diffuse opposition support, but not so crowded that it would keep him from getting a majority of convention delegates with the support of all those big states with just a few smaller ones mixed in.

Well, Huck has ruined all that.  Turns out there are a lot more dissatisfied Red Staters out there with unread copies of Friedman’s “Free to Choose” that seem to dig a cross between Bill Clinton and Huey Long.

What does this mean to humble voters in PA?  Well, it means that I may have to eat my hat.  Our Coelacanth of a primary in the spring may actually mean something.  As this would be a once a generation occurrence– the exception that proved the rule– this does not obviate my criticisms of our silly later primary.  Reform is still necessary.

But the delegate math presented here seems to suggest that not only may all primaries matter in the GOP race in 2008, but we may actually be in for a brokered convention.  Well, it at least isn’t tin-foil hat territory for political geeks like me to start hoping for one.

A brokered convention would be bad, bad news for Giuliani.  His personal platform is, shall we say, a little too quirky to win in that environment, one would think.

It would be fun, though.  It also may be good for the GOP generally, monopolizing all the press coverage for MONTHS while Ms. Clinton (or, less likely, Obama) stuggles to get some attention.  I never thought I’d have to type those words.  Imagine.  A democrat presidential nominee struggling to get attention from the MSM…

So what’s Team Rudy to do?  As much as it pains me to admit it– as to me the entertainment value of a meaningful convention approaches that of a Genesis reunion including Peter Gabriel– he has to get a majority of delegates prior to the convention.  Giuliani is, rightly, the first choice of many GOP voters.  Alas, he is not anyone’s second choice.  Except for maybe my Dad’s.  We are not case studies one would choose if looking for a typical GOP voter.

So Giuliani needs to kill in Florida.  Anyone else noticing all those Florida focused e-mails from the Giuliani campaign, lately?  You know what other state they’re talking about a lot in New York?  South Carolina.  If Rudy kills in FL, and does especially well in SC, he’s off to a good start.

But if he slips in either state, he’s got problems.  He also has problems in CA.  He’ll win the most delegates out of CA on Feb. 5, but CA is also a proportional state, and right now it ain’t shaping up to be a TKO.

Finally, and strangely, it looks like Giuliani’s big mo may need to come out of MO.  Missouri, that is.  MO is a winner take all state on Feb. 5.  Team Rudy is strong there, but not prohibitively.  So here is my prognostication:

If Giuliani wins FL and MO, he will win the nomination.  If not, my primary vote in PA may matter, and we may be in for a fun convention.

What else should be on the top of Team Giuliani’s to do list?  Buttering up John McCain.  Being low on money and long in the tooth, he stands the highest chance of opting out of this mess and retiring from the race.  Of the top tier candidates, he’s the most likely to endorse Giuliani.

Perhaps people should also start explaining to Fred Thompson that the veep slot seems to suit his temperament more than the CEO’s chair…

Swing State Quinnipiac Poll Time: Looking like Rudy & Hil

Quinnipiac University does a monthly poll of swing states: PA, OH, and FL.

The big picture?  Hillary and Giuliani appear to remain the favorites for their respective nominations.  Rudy’s matchups w/her in a general election are looking marginally worse.  Still close, but he’s now behind her in all three.  The upside of this?  He’s still way better than all the other GOP candidates.

Vis a vis the GOP race, the big news is this: Giuliani *still* is doing well amongst evangelicals.  He leads amongst them in OH and PA, and comes in second to Fred Thompson in Florida.  I say that’s more a product of the fact that Thompson is Southern than anything else.  It’s easy for us northerners to think of Florida as Miami and Orlando.  Travel around the state, though, and you’ll see many parts are every bit as “southern” as Mississippi.

Also interesting to note is that in hypothetical general election matchups the GOP candidate that comes closest to performing as well as Giuliani is not Romney or Thompson, but McCain. So stay in the game, John!  It’s good for Hizzoner.

Aside:  They seem to like Obama a lot in OH.  It seems it can’t catch a break in the Dem. primary, there, but he’s arguably stronger than Hillary in a general.  Weird.  I guess they just hate the GOP that much.

Consider yourselves warned, Commonwealth GOP leaders in PA.  You guys aren’t all that different….wait….I’m one of those guys, now, since I’m now a ward leader.  Well, at least I’ve warned myself!

PA & Giuliani’s Electability

It would be disingenuous to deny that some of Hizzoner’s appeal lies in his electability.  It is difficult to imagine any other GOP candidate has a better chance at winning a general election.

Of course, the fly in the ointment has always been about his electability in the GOP primary.  Take a look at this map, though: (ht Lead Us Forward)


This map is based on the most recent polling in various state’s primaries, as they stand right now.

When the math is broken down, Mayor Giuliani would have more than twice as many delegates as his next nearest comeptitor, Fred Thompson.  Romney and McCain would have about one seventh the delegates of Giuliani, with McCain actually beating Romney.

Currently, the Giuliani and Romney campaigns view each other as the primary competition.  I judge this by the e-mail missives sent to pundits from each team’s communication’s apparatus.  Last night the Giuliani campaign sent out nine such e-mails, with five taking digs at Romney and two taking runs at Fred as something of an afterthought.  I am told the Romney campaign is maintaining a similar ratio, just taking jabs at Rudy.

Frankly, though, I find it hard to imagine Romney can overcome these odds.  He’s spent about 10 million dollars to build his lead in IA, and not even he has enough money to do that everywhere else.

This is where PA comes in.  Everyone knows Giuliani is strong in the Northeast.  What other campaign’s must bitterly realize is these are all states where it is really, really expensive to organize and purchase media.  Giuliani’s strength, you’ll see, also lies on the West Coast and upper Midwest (yes, yes, I know these are considered more “liberal”, but you be careful saying that to an Orange County Republican who launched Reagan’s political career).

Thing is, unless some candidate can erode Giuliani’s support in PA, NJ, NY, CA, he may be unstoppable.  Not that those states are enough to win.  But again, they are pricey.  On that terrain it is much less fiscally prohibitive to play defence than offense.

Given this, the Giuliani campaigns electoral bar for the rest of the country may be set about as low as the one set for Fred Thompson at yesterday’s debates.

Fred Talks A Little About Electability

Fred Thompson flashed his Hollywood tailfeathers last night by announcing his candidacy on the Jay Leno program.  While I don’t generally stand on protocol, this seemed to be a little innappropriate given that the country he wants to lead is, you know, in some wars.

One of the points he tried to make concerned elecability.  He pointed out that he won election twice in TN, a state Bill Clinton carried twice.  Everyone knows Giuliani has the market cornered in the GOP vis a vis electability, so I thought it would be interesting to bear down on this point.

Fred initially won his seat riding the GOP landslide in 1994.  He filled out Al Gore’s term after Gore became veep.  While it is hard to imagine now, Gore was considered at the time a fairly conservative Democrat.  He then won reelection by spanking a non-entity named Houston Gordon, who’s qualifications for the Senate included being a Democratic party hack and trial lawyer in a state that voted for Bush II twice.

So if Fred wants to talk electability, let’s consider the Commonwealth of PA.  Giuliani is a Republican who won election twice to be mayor of NYC, which currently has two republicans filling out 51 seats. That would put them exactly one seat ahead of the “Working Families” party.  Hizzoner managed to enact a broad regime of tax cuts, by the way, working with that council.

PA has not voted for a Republican for president since Bush the elder in 1988, and even in that election PA was the third closest state in the general election.

Yet current polling puts Giuliani ahead of or within the margin of error against potential Democrats in PA.  He is alone amongst GOP presidential aspirants in this.

I encourage Fred to make electability an issue.

Pure Distilled Quinnipiac PA Goodness

Given my remarks below, I can’t really explain why Clinton is opening up an even bigger lead in PA over Obama in this PA Quinnipiac poll.  Of course, I can’t really explain why we should care about PA primary rankings either, given the fact that the nominees will be working on their convention speeches by the time we vote.

On the GOP side, Giuliani of course is still well in the lead.  It appears Romney may have enjoyed a small bump, but it was actually at the expense of Fred Thompson.  In fact, as it stands now if Romney took ALL the voters away from Thompson AND McCain he would still be almost 10 points behind Giuliani.

In potential general election matchups, the story in PA is the story in all swing states.  Hizzoner is the only potential GOP candidate with a prayer of beating a democrat for the White House.

Quinnipiac Swing State Poll: Rudy Clearly Best GOP Candidate

Quinnipiac has issued their always illuminating swing state presidential poll, which covers PA, OH, and FL.

In it, Giuliani holds comfortable leads for the GOP nod in all of the states.  Not that PA matters in this regard, but FL certainly does, with its pre Super-Tuesday primary.  Thompson is the closest competition, and this pundit thinks his numbers will automatically deflate as soon as he demonstrates his dillentantish approach to voters in a real campaign.  Look at this Giuliani video from a town hall shindig in Iowa.  Does anyone really think Fred grasps details to that level?

Of course, none of that matters, right?  You have to do well in IA and NH, right?  Oh, wait.  And SC too.  That state moved up even further.  Next thing you know we’ll be having primaries before we’ve woken up from our triptofan Thanksgiving naps.

Point is, people are going to eventually have to stop flogging tired old reasons why Giuliani can’t win the GOP nomination.  He clearly can.  To pretend otherwise is just foolish.

This poll also proves the point that Giulianin remains the most electable GOP candidate.  He’s the only GOP cadidate that can poll ahead of Obama and Hillary with any sort of consistency.

Finally, for the best analytic part:  Being associated with a special interest group of any sort seems to be a losing proposition in these states, except for Big Labor in PA.  Big Labor hates Giuliani down to their surly, shadetree toes.  So this may not bode well.

But what is interesting is getting a pro-gays rights endorsement loses a candidate more votes than it gains them.  So does getting a conservative Christian endorsement.  Somewhat contradictorally, so does getting an endorsement from the pro-abortion lobby.

Yet pundits keep telling me Giuliani can’t win because he down the middle on all that stuff:  Pro-civil unions, but anti full-on gay marriage.  Abortion makes him squemish, but he’d rather let rational courts guide us to a federal solution.  He clearly is a law and order guy, but his social life does not exactly make him the first choice for keynote speaker at an Assemblies of God confab.

In other words, he’s pretty much like most American voters.  Why wouldn’t he win?  What more analytical evidence to we need to confirm not only his electability, but the fact that most Americans actually agree with him?  This is a representative republic, right?  At least in most states?

Primary Moves Up + PA Pollage

I should have gotten this news out to y’all earlier, but circumstances prevented me.  You see, I live a life of Reilly freelance existance which has recently kicked into high gear.  By that I mean I have much more business than I had before, to which I can only ascribe a beneficial business environment created by the anticipation of a Giuliani administration.  But that does mean less blogging…

The Pennsylvania House managed to find the time to pass House Bill 289, proposing we move our presidential primary up to Feb. 12.  This is great news, especially given all the recent agita over the state budget which caused the government to shut down for a day, although employees of the lottery and various casinos were kept working.  So we know our legislators know what *really* matters.

 You can find a roll call vote on 289 here.  I am disappointed to note my state representative voted against it after telling me a couple months ago she was favorably disposed towards the measure.  My fellow constituents in her district are encouraged to join me in asking her “What the heck, Carol?”

The next step is the Senate.  I will be e-mailing my state senator’s office today– that would be Dem. Andy Dinniman– and I hope all of you will do the same.  E-mail your Senators, I mean, not Andy.  I think Andy is on board on this one anyway.

This is obviously great news for voters.  We would actually have a say in the election of the next president of the United States, the campaigns will have to spend more time and money here, which is good for the economy.  The candidates will have to cultivate better relationships with local legislators, too, which will bring more star power to local races, which should increase political participation.

This is also good news for the Giuliani campaign, as evidenced by this recent poll which indicates Hizzoner is the prefered GOP candidate of 42% of PA GOPers.  The next closest candidate is Thompson at 16%.  In our Commonwealth, McCain still beats Romney as well at 10% to 6%.

In the places where election 2008 will be decided– PA, CA, FL, MI, OH– Giuliani is the obvious preference of GOP voters and runs competitively in general election matchups.  He also happens to have the most compelling story of executive conservative governance post-Reagan.  He also happens to have positions on most issues consistent with the positions of the average voter.

Of course, others are welcome to consider the Romney-bot, Amnesty McCain, or an actor who found the velvet coffin of the Senate too tiring.

PA GOP Straw Poll: Big Rudy Win

This is a crushing defeat for Romney and McCain.

One of the reasons the PA GOP wants to keep our presidential primary a quaint political relic is because much of the party leadership, and the remnants of Ridge’s claque, support McCain or Romney.  Given this, they wanted to keep the presidential primary out of the hands of the voters and in the hands of the insiders.

The state committee had a straw poll this weekend, though, and the results indicate exactly how little power and influence the leaders of the state party apparatus have.  (Link at Pennsyltucky Politics via Josh Drobnyk at the Morning Call.)

Here’s the numbers:

Giuliani — 87 votes
Fred Thompson — 40
Mitt Romney — 12
New Gingrich — 10
John McCain — 7
Sam Brownback — 4

Shockingly, some expressed disappointment that none of the candidate showed up.  Well, pinheads, stop obstructing the electoral process so some of the candidate may care!  Then they’ll show up.

Team Rudy has spent some time attempting to cultivate relationships with the PA GOP leadership, potentially alienating some of the conservative grassroots.  Well, the bill to move up our primary is on life support, and those same leaders can’t do much to sway their own committeemen.  I suppose its possible some of their new friends like Bob Asher convinced their colleagues it was OK to vote for Giuliani.  If so, great.  I think it’s more likely, though, these committeemen are simply listening to actual voters as opposed to the guys that run the party.

BTW, who did the PA GOP select as a major speaker for their event this weekend?  Karl Rove.  Now, I don’t have anything bad to say about Rove.  But I can tell you that he and his boss are freaking radioactive right now.  That, my friends, shows you how disconnected the PA GOP can be from politics on the ground.

Moving Up PA’s Primary: Matt Baker = Delphic Clarity

To recap why we care what a state representative from the remote portions of Pennsylvania thinks about moving up our primary:

Pennsylvanians have not cast a meaningful presidential primary vote for a generation, since we made the tragically unwise decision of opting for a peanut farmer with messianic tendencies over Scoop Jackson– a sober, reasonable adult– back in 1975.

Currently, the people of Pennsylvania are showing an impetuous desire to favor candidates different from those favored by political insiders, especially on the GOP side.  Actual voters seem to prefer Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson.  The GOP leadership seems to prefer John McCain and Mitt Romney.

Matt Baker is the GOP chair of the PA House of Representatives’ State Government Committee, which tomorrow will vote on whether to pass on to the House a bill moving our presidential primary to early February, thereby managing to fulfill one of the basic tenets of representative republicanism.

A couple months ago I shared with my state representative– Carol Rubley– that Matt Baker’s office had been helpful in providing me information regarding relevant legislation, but an opaque enigma when it came to actually expressing a position.  She casually remarked that she found that unsurprising.

Well, yesterday the Democrat chair– Babette Josephs– finally got off the fence and told me she supported the measure.  Matt Baker’s office, though, remains mum.  He should be embarrassed.  This also seems entirely typical of a legislator who is a member of a body with a reputation of having casual disregard for actual voters.

UPDATE:  Matt Baker sent me an e-mail in which I think he said he was going to decline to move forward 289.  As he used the word “pass”, which could mean take a pass on the bill, or perhaps actually pass the bill, I’m not sure.  The tone of the e-mail seemed to suggest he was for it in principle, but there were too many bureaucratic interests against it to merit the bother.

Thus actual representative democracy may actually take a back seat to the interests of the unelected bureaucracy.  At least that’s how it seems Representative Baker wants things to go down.

Developing, as Drudge would say…

PA Polling Extravaganza: Rudy Rules PA; Gore Dem Savior?

Recent polling in Pennsylvania confirms some of what I said yesterday, and also muddies the waters a bit.  Giuliani’s strength has slipped in Southeastern PA, but he still remains the dominant presidential candidate in our Commonwealth.  Pennsylvania’s leading paper in presidential converage, The Allentown Morning Call, had a poll yesterday.  It does look like there’s some pro-McCain spinning going on, though.  Analysis from the paper is here, the poll internals are here [PDF].  A poll from Quinnipiac that came out today tells us pretty much the same thing.

The Morning Call poll of all voters shows GOP candidates McCain and Giuliani show very well against potential democrat nominees for president.  While Giuliani’s strength is greater, and has a longer track record, McCain’s strength gets equal billing in the analysis to which I linked despite its inconsistency.

The most interesting thing about this poll, though, is what it does not bother to track:  How well Romney does in potential match-ups against democrats in Pennsylvania.  You see, Romney was running behind Newt and Fred Thompson back in late March, and he’s still sucking wind in PA as we shall see.

This is because when it comes to the relative strength of candidates in their party’s primaries Quinnipiac’s poll has more good news for Team Giuliani.  It also has news likely to cause indigestion among democrats.  Of course, this exercise remains purely academic as our General Assembly– and former and current Governors– remain uninterested in graciously extending to us a national franchise.

Should PA move its primary up and become relevant, though, Team Giuliani would be very happy.  He has opened up a lead to almost three times that of the rest of the field.  He garnered 28 points in the poll, with McCain, Romney, Thompson, and Newt clustered within the margin of error between 8-11 apiece.

So when it comes to Pennsylvania, Giuliani remains the clear leader among Republicans, and beats all current potential democrat nominees.  It is of some interest to note previously Giuliani beat Clinton in the southeast Philadelphia suburbs, but not Obama.  Currently, both Obama and Clinton beat Giuliani in this region.  This is not a good indicator, and merits further attention as a potential canary in the mine.

But you know the Democrat that shows the strongest in potential general election match-ups?  That’s right, dear hearts, it’s Al Gore!  My, it would be fun if he tried a Nixon from the wilderness maneuver.  And don’t fool yourselves, he may try.  It seems in PA his enviro-cred picks up votes from the GOP upstate.  It also may not hurt that he’s from Tennessee and much of Pennsylvania is functionally Southern.

This is confirmed by the fact that he ranks second in a potential democrat primary, and he’s not even running.  Those types of numbers certainly persuaded Fred Thompson to take a crack at running, and he’s merely a former senator of the more disinterested breed.  Gore actually won the popular vote for president a few years ago.

The takeaway from all this polling, though, is the song remains the same.  Pennsylvania Republicans love Rudy Giuliani, and it appears he definitely has the best chance of beating any democrat in a general election.  Why?  You can all say it with me this time:  Because Giuliani sincerely happens reflect the general electorate on a wide range of issues.  It’s just that simple.