Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Speaking of Bizarre Scenarios...

What if the Republicans ended up nominating a Double-G Ticket in 2008, Giuliani and Gingrich?

What on earth would the social conservatives and the religious right do if the GOP nominated two alleged serial adulterers for President and Vice President, each married three times, one of them an unabashed supporter of gay marriage, abortion rights and gun control?

What if the Democratic Party, in turn, nominated a ticket of Obama and Clinton or Clinton and Obama, one member of which is a born-again Christian and the other a lifelong mainstream Christian do-gooder?

This December, after the second set of midterm elections during President Bush's tenure, with the nominations of both parties wide open, is a time for weaving scenarios. And this bizarre one has some chance of coming true.

Republicans, as I've pointed out several times before (see here and here), have a penchant for honoring an informal plan of corporate succession that, in spite of John McCain's past run-ins with the GOP establishment, has him as the favorite for the nomination among the guardians of conventional wisdom. Robert Novak has just recently written about this. (TY to Andy Jackson for pointing me to Novak's piece)

But Rudy Giuliani enjoys folk hero status for how he handled himself after the 9/11 attacks occurred in New York City during his watch as Mayor. (It should be pointed out that John McCain is a genuine hero!) Giuliani also has strong support within the general electorate and will probably be able to raise a lot of money. As this article in The Washington Post points out, if Giuliani can get the New Jersey primary scheduled ahead of the one in South Carolina and he's able to win in both the Garden State and before that, the Granite State, New Hampshire, he might have something called momentum working in his favor.

In the meantime, Newt Gingrich, apparently the Freddy Krueger of national politics, is running the most intriguing non-campaign campaign for President I have ever seen. Gingrich, a self-admitted gadfly, loves ideas and right now, he's generating a bunch of them on critical issues.

He knows that he can only run for president by artful misdirection, so many are the questions about his ethics, his divorces, and his proto-Delayist politicking. Gingrich offers his ideas to the other candidates, claiming to hope that they will talk about issues and not each other.

It gives this one-time hyper-partisan warrior the appearance of being above the fray. And if, over the course of this coming summer, Gingrich's ideas gain traction, but the other contenders for the GOP nomination don't, the way will be cleared for him to make a Labor Day announcement that he's going to run.

By sticking firmly to discussing the issues, Gingrich hopes to effectively check questions about his personal life. In short, he hopes to shout down all doubts with incessant wonkiness.

The strategy may not gain Gingrich the top spot on the GOP ticket in 2008, but I could envision Rudy Giuliani as a presidential nominee, wanting to shore up his right wing, asking Newt to come on board as his running mate.

It's a very bizarre scenario, to be sure. But it could happen. And if it did, all conventional wisdom about how liberals, conservatives, Democrats, and Republicans might vote would have to be tossed out. That would especially be true if the Democratic ticket included a pro-war Democrat and an anti-war Dem. (Clinton and Obama, respectively)

And just where would the religious right go under such circumstances? My guess is that it would still fall heavily to the Republicans, but not in the proportions it has in recent presidential elections.

But my guess also is that we'll never get the chance to find out. I doubt that any of the four potential candidates I've mentioned will be on the national tickets of their parties come November, 2008...Except maybe Freddy Krueger. (No, I'm not kidding.) That's because Freddie--I mean Newt--is more conservative than any of the other candidates in the running for the GOP nod and because he's not associated with any of the policies of the Bush Administration or the past three Congresses.

Rudy won't pass muster with GOP voters. Obama is untested. Clinton won't run, knowing she's general election poison in most of America and she doesn't want to be blamed for taking her party to defeat when Democrats' shot at victory in 2008 is so strong.

But watch out for Freddie.

[THANKS TO: Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit for linking to this post on December 20.]

[UPDATE, IN RESPONSE TO SOME OF THE COMMENTS: A G-G ticket would almost certainly be trounced. This was a post about "bizarre scenarios," mind you. But as I considered it, I realized that it could happen and that of the four potential candidates pictured here, amazingly, Gingrich was the one whose strategy could likeliest put him on a national ticket. Still, I would put his chances at about 1%. But I think those odds are better than those for Giuliani, Clinton, or Obama.

Do I like Gingrich as a candidate? I don't get into stuff like that here. I don't do endorsements.

Newt is smart, to be sure. But he certainly has issues. It would appear that he doesn't, as they say, put the fun in dysFUNctional.

Nonetheless, if you were Newt Gingrich, with almost no chance of winning the presidency, rehabilitating your image through a non-campaign campaign of churning out ideas and position papers is the only way you'd have a shot. Gingrich seems well aware of how remote his prospects are. But at this point, I'd say he has about 100% more of a chance chance of being on the national ticket than Sam Brownback or Duncan Hunter have.]

[THANKS TO: Aaron Hockley of Another Blogger and Tai-Chi Policy for linking to this post. Hockley thinks that a G-G ticket would be heaven-sent for the Democrats. TCP says yes to any ticket with Gingrich on it.]

[THANKS TO: Simon at Stubborn Facts for linking to this post. I think that Simon is ignoring some stubborn facts, though.]


Rick Moore said...

With Clinton and Obama, which one is the born-again Christian and which one is the lifelong mainstream Christian do-gooder? I'm so confused...

Charlie said...

Rats, Rick stole my comment.

Mark Daniels said...

Obama is the born again Christian.

Clinton was involved in MYF activities as a teen. Like her politics or not, one can see a connection between the positive do-goodism of Methodist theology and some of her views about communities and children. (I see them because like her, I grew up in the Methodist Church and went through MYF, Methodist Youth Fellowship.)

I'm pretty confused myself, Rick.


kmg4 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
kmg4 said...

Another thing that will confuse the 2008 election is the immigration issue, as there is no clear left-right position.

It will be superconfusing to most people. Being pro-immigrant is pro-free market and anti-union, but pro-multiculturalism, etc, etc, etc.

Ryan Waxx said...

America is truly lost when a canidate putting forth policy ideas can be condemned with a straight face for trying to avoid the REAL debate (mudslinging).

Mark Daniels said...

Who has leveled accusations at anybody for failing to engage in mudslinging? That's a story I'd like to read about.


Reliapundit said...

yawn. it's gonna be romney+frist

versus richardson-warner.

Bob Munck said...

Giuliani-Gingrich '08? I love it. They've got what, a total of six wives between them? That's counting Giuliani's cousin (and no, she wasn't married to Newt). Plus documented adultery, multiple instances. Yes, please, nominate those two.

Seven Machos said...

Gingrich brings nothing to the table as far as electability. He is unliked by moderates and his private failings will give pause to social conservatives. He would also fire up Democrats against him.

Candidates who pick the best vice presidential candidates either address a perceived weakness or strengthen a perceived strength.

*. Bush I made Reagan palatable to mdoerate Republicans. Johnson made Kennedy seem palatable to Southern Democrats.

*. Gore solidified Clinton's Southernness.

*. Cheney made Bush seem like less of a lightweight.

Weak VP candidates bring nothing and are chosen vapidly.

*. Quayle was a lightweight. Ferraro was chosen because she was a woman but added nothing else. Kemp added nothing whatsoever. Gore has to be kicking himself for adding Leiberman instead of a Southerner.

If Guiliani wins, and I very much hope he does, he must choose someone who can help him either geographically (from the South) or with the conservative Republican base. An African-American candidate would be a good choice as well.

Anonymous said...

Gingrich is loved by a few bloggers and talk-show types, but that's it. I could see Giuliani/Romney or McCain/Giuliani as solid Republican tickets, but Newt?

The hit-piece ads write themselves.

Michael said...

Gingrich is vaguely remembered as one of the most disliked politicians in recent history.

This is a basis for running for president?

I grant you his big-thinking tendencies are occasionally exciting, next to a nothing like Denny Hastert, but he reminds me of a boss I once had of whom it was said "Every day he has 10 great ideas, but has no idea which 5 are 5 of the worst ideas you ever heard."

It would take $100 million to get Gingrich's negative rating fromt he 90th percentile to the 70th.

Anonymous said...

"Gingrich is vaguely remembered as one of the most disliked politicians in recent history."

Only by the Democrats. Newt is the heart of Conserative America. Wives, cats, kits and sacks - I don't care. Newt kick started the Conserative movement and took over Congress. Something the Republican Moderates managed to loose.

I am a Conserative and I'll vote Hillary in before I vote for McCain.

David Rogers said...

As a conservative Southerner whose greatest concern is actually winning the Global War on Islamo-Fascism, I can't think of a better ticket. Guiliani was not only the best mayor of New York since LaGuardia, he is the only still-living America Hero of the GWoIF. He has more charisma in his pinky than Hillary. But as a Southern conservative, I am concerned about his bona fides on issues like gay marriage, judicial activism and gun control. He picks Newt, and I'm not worried about those issues any more -- and I know that Newt has the idea filter he needs, because Guiliani will shoot down Newt's bad ideas, but will give him a platform for the (many!) strong ideas he generates.

G-and-G wins every state Bush won, and puts much of the Northeast into play. You think the hero of 9-11 won't challenge the Dems in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, whiile he locks down Florida cold? I've got a bridge in Brooklyn I'm looking to unload -- cheap! Hill might pick up Arkansas and New Mexico, but in the face of the G-and-G juggernaut, that won't be anything like enough to win.