The Giuliani Bubble Could Pop By January, And Ron Paul May Be Holding The Needle

The oft-repeated mantra of Rudy Giuliani’s Presidential campaign is “electablity” — the idea that, of all the Republican Presidential candidates, he’s the only one capable of beating the presumptive Democratic nominee in November 2008.

But the early primary calendar poses a challenge to Giuliani that could put a big hole in the electability argument and go a long way toward erasing the lead that he has in the national polls.

First, there’s Iowa, where Giuliani is a distant fourth behind Romney, Thompson, and Huckabee.

Then, there’s New Hampshire, where he trails Mitt Romney by at least 6 percent and the possibility of a surprise performance by someone like Ron Paul could turn the primary into one of those tales of the unexpected.

Finally, there’s South Carolina where both Thompson and Romney have made significant inroads on what was once a Giuliani lead.

Poor performances in all three of these early primaries could by a serious problem for a campaign that would like for the rest of the GOP to think of as the inevitable winner.

Which is why, I’m betting Giuliani is spending a lot of time lately in New Hampshire:

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Rudy Giuliani, whose presidential campaign strategy originally downplayed New Hampshire, is now making a major bid to win the Granite State primary.

The new push includes spending four days in the state this week, the culmination of an effort which had him more in New Hampshire in October than in any other traditional early state.

The shift in strategy is motivated by both opportunity and fear

As well as no small degree of risk:

It increasingly looks likely that the GOP contest, like the Democratic one, may be virtually over by the trumpeted arrival of “Tsunami Tuesday” on Feb. 5.

That day, when 20 states will hold primaries or caucuses, had been the foundation of Giuliani’s strategy.
In a precedent-shattering playbook, Giuliani’s team has been gambling he could lose in the early states but score big in California, New York, New Jersey, Illinois and other states in a de facto national primary.

The risk: He’d be 0-3 after Iowa, New Hampshire and Michigan, meaning that Mitt Romney, his chief Republican rival, might have the momentum, the magazine covers and the frenzied media coverage, with the bonanza of volunteers and money that can follow.

So, it looks like the Giuliani camp may be writing off Iowa (a wise choice given both his standing in the polls and the relative unimportance of Iowa historically to who wins the nomination) and building a firewall in New Hampshire.

Ironically, while they concentrate on Romney and McCain, they may be forgetting the lesson of New Hampshire — which that it’s often the maverick candidate that ends up stealing the show. The maverick doesn’t need to win outright, though that has happened, just do better than expected.

The names should be familiar — Ronald Reagan (1980), Gary Hart (1984), Paul Tsongas (1992), Pat Buchanan (1992 and 1996), John McCain (2000). The maverick this year, of course, is Ron Paul and he’s making a move of his own in the Granite State. Should he do well enough to wreck Giuliani’s firewall strategy, it could have devastating consequences for the rest of Giuliani’s campaign.

Couldn’t happen to a more well-deserving apparatchik.

  • Buckwheat

    Gotta love the timing. Suddenly, when I’m about to discover his financial conflict of interest, Mataconis just loooooves Ron Paul!

  • Doug Mataconis


    As usual, you are so wrong its almost comical.

  • a Patriot

    I wonder how long Buckwheat’s been reading your blogs?
    I don’t think Ghouliani will do well in NH – They are good judges of character.

  • ILikeMike

    If you have listened to Mike Huckabee speak on the issues and like what he has to say, I invite you to visit and take my challenge. With your support, he will make a difference!

  • Doug Mataconis


    You mean the tax raising Mike Huckabee who wants to turn the government into a nanny telling us how fat we are ?

  • Buckwheat

    So Mataconis, what kind of law do you practice? Care to tell people?

    7900/600 seems like an interesting place. Lots of activity there.

  • Buckwheat

    Come on, Doug — tell people what kind of law you practice!

    I’m sure they’ll find it as interesting as I did — and it makes your pro-big government, anti-Ron Paul stances quite clear.

    And who is T.B., exactly?

  • Doug Mataconis


    You are treading into areas that could be considered harressment, though I won’t be the one to ban you.

    And for your information, I’ve already answered your question in the other comment thread and that’s all I’m going to say about the matter.

    Except to say that you should leave the firm you have apparently found alone, as I am no longer affiliated with them.

  • Doug Mataconis


    Here’s my answer again, and its all you’re entitled to know:

    I’m a lawyer in private practice in Virginia, concentrating in commerical debt collection, construction litigation, civil litigation, and defending the occassional minor traffic offense.

    Now, leave my private life alone.

  • CD

    Huckabee may be a social conservative, but he is a tax and spend liberal. People are soon figuring that out. Kind of like a religious John Edwards. double yuck. He also wants to continue the Bush Empire.

  • Buckwheat


    I’m not interested one bit in your private life, I’m interested in your work, and whether there’s a conflict of interest that affects your journalism, a conflict of interest that your readers should know about.

    I think there is one. And I think it’s the reason you’re so anti-Ron Paul. And I think an honest journalist would tell his readers about it.

  • Judy Ruleyoni

    Given their record, it’s almost tempting to just let NH pick the party nominees. I think I could live with that. Might change my mind about that, though, if Paul fails to win there this time. ;^)

  • John Carpenter

    Ron Paul is a non factor who will influence the general election or primaries about as much as Ralph Nader does every time he throws his hat into the ring.

    Iowa and New Hampshire have been relegated to political anachronisms in the same way the Breeders’ Cup in Thoroughbred racing has minimized the impact of once illustrious races like the Champagne Stakes and Jockey Gold Cup.

    Giuliani’s critics are in full-flail mode, trotting out mindnumbing issues like his position to pull for the Red Sox in the World Series and contesting the accuracy that the mob once considered having him sleep with the fish.

    The stench of desperation is everywhere. Fred Thompson has barely been a blip on the screen after being annointed the chosen one and even attempts by the religious right to have Giuliani genuflect and kiss their rings has only demonstrated the extent to which he is bullet proof on value issues.

    When Giuliani finally gets to debate any of these guys one on one it’s not going to be pretty and if he does square off against Hillary someone will have to stop the fight.

    They are counting on

  • Buckwheat

    John Carpenter,

    Since they’ve been #1 and #2, no one, Democrat or Republican, has ever won Iowa and New Hampshire without going on to win their party’s nomination.

    Guess that makes them a little more than the “political anachronisms” you try to paint them as.

    The day will come when people will wonder how Giuliani — who will win zero primaries — was ever considered the “frontrunner” for the Republican Party nomination.

    Indeed, his entire campaign is a media- and establishment pollster-driven mirage.

    Isn’t it strange how this “frontrunner” hasn’t won a single straw poll, and in fact refuses to attend them any more? How he draws no crowds of any size? How he doesn’t win post-debate polls?

    The only two metrics Rudy comes out on top in are money, which is donated heavily by the legal and financial sectors (go to and see for yourself), and the “scientific” polls, which are pure Luntz.

    Check out the latest Fox News poll: Rudy at 31%, Ron Paul at 1%!

    Who are you going to believe, Frank Luntz — or your own lying eyes?

  • Rolland

    Giuliani would be a disaster for this country. One of the worse presidential candidates to come by in recent memory (and that includes the moron we have in the White House now). Another politician bought and paid for in the same mold as Hilary, Bill, and W. Have to ask yourself why MSM is pushing these two down the throat of the American people…

  • Buckwheat

    Frank Luntz admitting that “scientific” polling is total fraud:

    Psst: who’s the real frontrunner for the Republican nomination? Hint: he’s on Leno tomorrow night.

  • Buckwheat

    Ron Paul’s record again Rudy Giuliani in Republican straw polls? 32 wins, 5 losses:

  • Greg

    I’d be just pleased as punch if Ron Paul was the reason Guliani bought the big one in the primary. I’d be more pleased if Paul did something more, but I’m happy with small contentments. My ill will towards Hillary just isn’t enough to hope for anything less than the worst for Il Duce.

  • Observer

    Do not underestimate Ron Paul in New Hampshire, he is on 7% in the latest poll and is just starting to campaign and run ads, he will continue to spread his message and the odds are he will improve his polling

    the real killer is that half of New Hampshire voters are independents and with the Dem’s being a lockdown for Hillary many of them may decide to support Dr. Paul throwing a spanner in the works, in a wide open contest he could emerge victorious with a quarter of the vote.

    in short, many people think he is doing better than the polls suggest (unofficially and among independents) plus he’s only just started to campaign so he could yet surprise!

  • FreedomFanatick

    Yeah, suuuuuure, Giuliani will win, definately…

    Ron Paul isn’t going to be a factor… don’t pay attention to the elephant in the room, after NH no maverick will upset the polls, never ever ever ever happened.

    Oh, and yeah, Paul will be like Nader, because the Republican party is a third party xD (you haters crack me up!!!)

  • Rob

    A Ron Paul victory would be great, but so would a second-place showing. It would be well above expectations. The problem is, a strong showing by RP could hurt Romney the most and give the victory to Giuliani in New Hampshire.

    But hey, that’s the breaks. It’s no reason for RP not to go all out. Huckabee’s got momentum in Iowa. If RP could pull a surprise upset in New Hampshire, we could see those “front runners” dying an early death. Just like Joe Lieberman who led the polls at this stage of the game in 2004.

  • Chris

    The fix is in. Ron Paul is going to win NH.z

  • Larry in SC

    I agree with Rolland. It does appear that the MSM has already chosen and annointed Hillary and Julie to be the chosen ones. Spooky huh? Is this a halloween trick?

  • Paul

    John Carpenter,

    From what I can tell, you are Giuliani’s lone supporter.

    I’ve been saying all along, that Rudy G has no supporters. You have proven me wrong; he has you.

  • http://?? gao xia en

    Ghouliani will run out of cash and the media companies will lose interest. He’ll crater. The only reason he wouldn’t kiss the ring is because it would do no good. They know what he’s about.

  • Robert Biegler

    Ron Paul like Ralph Nader? How do you figure? On what Planet? Ralph was never able to draw the crowds of people that the good Dr Paul does! Ron Paul is drawing in people from the left who see that their candidates won’t actually end the war. He is also drawing the Libertarians. Ron has also done something I’ve never seen before…Ron has the young people supporting him and they are actually going to vote in this election! Wow, I find that amazing. They could really shake things up! They are very involved! Who do you think it is that is calling in on these text votes. Who do you think it is that is watching the YouTube Video’s. There are thousands of them and that’s just the ones that are actively participating Now! When the time comes We may all be in for A shock. On the 5th of November they say the going to donate lots of money. I am no Youngster but I’ll be sending in my $100.00 Besides other than Ron both sides are the same. Both will increase the government, continue poking around in other peoples business and generally making a mess of things as they make themselves and their friends/donaters Rich. So spoil away Ron and Good Luck! I believe in Freedom, I believe in Ron Paul!

  • Bob

    Do not underestimate Giuliani. His support is very real as is his war chest. At here in Connecticut he draws large crowds. I disagree with him on the issues but I respect his power as a candidate.

  • Doug Mataconis


    I agree. You cannot underestimate someone who has tens of millions of dollars in the bank and high poll ratings.

    But it’s the same old story. He’s got to prove he can win if the money and support are going to keep flowing — especially from GOP insiders. If he can’t win at least one of the first three primaries, he at least leaves himself open to a strong challenge leading in to Super Tuesday.

  • Freedom Junkie

    I believe the term apparatchik should be used to describe our current administration ie Bush & Cheney and also Guilliani not the 10th term congressman Ron Paul. On what grounds to you call him by that odious slur? Did you think Ron Paul supporters are all so young eyed and uneducated that we’d let it slide and think it was amorous reverence but in fact was guised malevolence??

    You sir are the well deserving, moribund bunkum.

  • Doug Mataconis


    If you read what I wrote, you’d realize I was referring to Giuliani, not Ron Paul.

  • Bones

    I think Giuliani could win NH, but not Iowa, SC, or any other more socially conservative states. I think this race comes down to Ron Paul (with continued ads and name recognition producing appearances like the Tonight Show) vs Mitt Romney. I have no doubt Mitt will spend himself further into debt to become President. Huckabee, Thompson, and McCain are going to help Ron Paul by splitting Mitt’s pro-war vote. But, after the early primaries if Romney is doing well, and has a narrow lead over Ron Paul, don’t be surprised to hear that all the pro-war candidates have quit abruptly so Romney can consolidate the pro-war voters by Super Tuesday. Ron Paul’s success hinges on the stubbornness of the other pro-war candidates to hang around. Given the nature of dumb pro-war politicians, I have some faith they will be stubborn enough for Ron Paul to win half of those Super Tuesday states and keep the money coming in long enough to make it very interesting against Romney for the final tally. If it’s very close, don’t be surprised for there to be some fraud or GOP delegate tampering of some sort. Sad, but very likely.

  • Bob

    I agree that Giuliani has to win one of the early states or he might get steamrolled by Romney (or who ever wins the early primaries). This site has Paul supporters who think their man has a better shot than Giuliani. Some even think that Paul is winning right now! They underestimate Giuliani’s support and view his unwillingness to participate (and Paul’s victory) in straw polls as proof they have the stronger hand. Giuliani has more support, better name recognition, more money, and better favorable/unfavorables. Is it possible that Paul will win? Yes! Is it likely? No. Will I vote for Paul? Yes!

  • Chad

    Doug, I don’t always agree with everything you write, but god bless you!

    I can’t believe how inane and flat out stupid many internet commentators are. Somehow you seem to be getting particular abuse from a couple of absolute morons.

    You’re always patient, and that’s impressive.

    Whoever the Buckwheat character is: quit being a nuisance.


  • hototter

    Ron Paul will have just as much impact on the 2008 election as Ralph Nader did in the 2000 election.

  • David

    Too late, hototter, in case you haven’t noticed yet he’s already having more.

  • winona

    I certainly hope Giuliani doesn’t win. I am an independent but I plan to vote Republican this time given I am tired already of the Dems agenda. On the other hand I won’t vote for Giuliani.

    After going back and reading old press reports, I come away with the feeling the man is a fake. Even more then most politicians he is about the political moment, the media event. He isn’t where we need to go and his stance on illegal immigration does not help him at all.