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Dewey With a Cause?

Jay analyzes Giuliani's campaign itinerary over at HorseRaceBlog:


But in other respects, Giuliani's campaign itinerary has left me puzzled. In particular, Giuliani has made no stops in Michigan since November 1. He is up in the RCP average, but not by a large amount. I have no answers to this puzzle. I have only questions. Does the Giuliani campaign know something that the poll numbers are not telling us? Perhaps his position is stronger than the polls show, thus enabling him to ignore Michigan. Perhaps it is weaker, thus making trips there not worth his while. Are Michiganders like Floridians - not yet on-line in the same way that voters in Iowa and New Hampshire are? Does the Giuliani campaign simply not regard Michigan as a game changer?

Just as puzzling is Giuliani's de-emphasis of South Carolina, which has merited just two appearances since November 1. South Carolina is legitimately a five-way contest between Romney, Giuliani, McCain, Huckabee, and Thompson. And yet Guiliani does not seem to be campaigning there very hard. All of the questions that we asked about Michigan can be asked once again - with one additional hypothesis. Perhaps the Giuliani campaign thinks that, regardless of what happens in South Carolina, it cannot lose. In a five-man race, it is unlikely that the winner will win by enough to develop any momentum.

So - where has Giuliani been spending his time? Essentially, he has been toggling between New Hampshire, where he has made 18 public appearances since November 1, and the Super Tuesday states, where he has made 11 public appearances. This is consistent with the hypothesis about Giuliani's campaign I made in October. It is striking a balance between the early states and the states of February 5. This strategy has come into better focus now - whereas Giuliani was largely spreading his time between Iowa, New Hampshire, Florida, and South Carolina when I last wrote, it now appears that New Hampshire is the focus of his efforts.


Tom broke down the Giuliani campaign's public nomination strategy last month, and as Jay argues, it would seem as if Rudy's itinerary is consistent with that plan. Since delegates are awarded by Congressional district in SC--and for the time being has no clear leader in the polls--it makes sense that he skip out on that primary for the granite state. In order to maintain a healthy position, he needs to do respectably in New Hampshire. While this thing has turned into an apparent dash between Romney and Huckabee, Giuliani is hoping to turn it into a marathon, with the finish line being in St. Paul. I get that.

Thus, you get the impression that Rudy views himself as too liberal to be the base's candidate. It's more likely that he sees himself as the ideal national candidate for the bulk of the party, and perhaps the second choice of the base, mainly due to the salience of security and terror issues. It strikes me as a bit of a gamble, but one that would give Giuliani a good degree of probable deniability if he were to get the nomination and run to the center.

I'm a sucker for historical parallels, so I wonder if Giuliani is basically Thomas Dewey with a cause. In other words, a relatively liberal Republican willing to embrace a cross-cutting issue that resonates across the spectrum. Dewey refused to redbait for political expedience, at least no more or less than Truman had already been doing. He once argued that you can't "shoot an idea with a gun." Well, Rudy is not only going to shoot that idea of Jihadism, he's going to bunker bust it, and keep all other options on the proverbial table.

Could this backfire on the GOP? Were he to get the nod, would they inadvertently be ending the Republican coalition built over the past 30+ years?


UPDATE:

Well there goes that "marathon" strategy.

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