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Friday, December 14, 2007
posted by jason | 7:58 PM | permalink
Rudy made an accident. It happened on two levels: strategically and tactically. On the strategic side, Rudy’s plan to wait for a win until Florida was a huge mistake. Pat Buchanan said it best:

Whoever thought up this strategy is the kind of guy who plays Russian roulette with four bullets in the chamber.


That is an apt description. Why? Because just as a game of Russian roulette with four bullets in the chamber relies on something out of your control to decide your destiny, so does a strategy that consists of hoping no one will emerge as leader from the early state primaries and caucuses. Hoping that Romney, Thompson, and others would split the early states was not a plan, it was a roll of the dice.

Where the miscalculations of the early states proved to be a high-risk gamble, the tactical mistake of pushing Huckabee was indeed an err of hubris. It was born out of the idea that Guiliani was an institutional front-runner, today’s Florida Rasmussen poll shows he clearly is not.

The Rudy campaign made two deep miscalculations of what the American electorate’s response to Huckabee would be. They figured Huckabee, a social conservative, would pull from Mitt’s social conservative crowd. They also figured that it would be minimal, only in Iowa, and perhaps somewhat in South Carolina. They were utterly wrong.

In fact Huckabee supporters turned out to have two characteristics that Giuliani underestimated 1. Hard Core Evangelicals, 2. People who prefer rhetoric to substance. In fact neither of these groups were likely Romney supporters. People who like Romney love concrete answers and details. They love the efficiency of his whole persona. Romney’s supporters aren’t worried about a Gordon B. Hinckley puppet president, or at least they don’t view their vote in a Republican primary as a Christian war against a secularist MSM.

Hard-core Evangelicals never preferred Rudy, but rhetorical carnivores did. They fell in love with the guy who put Ron Paul in his place, and found it just as easy to fall in love with the preacher who joked of Jesus not being in politics. Then they gave added legitimacy for the Evangelicals.

In the end (or at least three weeks prior to it) we see that the tactical err on Guiliani’s part of giving up the rhetorical loving voting population in Iowa was the impetus that drove Huckabee’s Evangelical base to him. This tactical error is what exposed the strategical disaster you and I have come to know as the Guiliani Campaign.
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