November, 14th 2007

Guess I was wrong about McCain and Rudy being the best of friends

– Liz Mair

Last month, I penned a piece for the American Spectator on the subject of McCain's targeting of Mitt Romney, and how it could help Rudy, who is close friends with McCain. That argument has, of course, been echoed elsewhere in the blogosphere, and the idea that McCain and Rudy might be tag-teaming to take down Romney and deliver the nomination to Rudy obviously p*ssed some people in a particular camp off.

So, perhaps it's not surprising that after me, and others, commenting on the apparent, and uncommon, super-friendliness between McCain and Rudy potentially designed to ultimately benefit Rudy, the McCain camp should have sought to quash the notion that they're staying in the race to help a friend, rather than win. (For what it's worth, I think McCain is running to win-- as I pointed out in my piece, a major reason why McCain has targeted Romney so mercilessly is because he stands in the ay of McCain winning New Hampshire, which he must-- a tactic that, incidentally seems to have improved McCain's standing in the Granite State, for what that's worth).

But, as Patrick Ruffini notes, the McCain camp is now doing quite a lot to show that, actually, they're not all that chummy with Rudy, and yes, McCain really is "in it to win it." And they're playing hardball, too. Per Patrick:

John McCain has a new quiz show-style game up on his Web site. It's very nicely produced.

It also makes news, showing how McCain is sharpening his attacks against Rudy Giuliani.

A user who answers "Rudy Giuliani" on question 7 of the game -- "Which candidate is the best general election candidate the Republican Party could nominate?" gets this answer.

The nomination of Rudy Giuliani would likely lead to the formation of a third party made up of social conservatives. He would also likely get "swift boated" by fireman (sic), police officers, and even victims of 9-11 who are upset with his performance. According to recent polls by Survey USA, Rudy Giuliani loses swing states such as Ohio, Kentucky and Washington against Senator Clinton and even loses Virginia -- a state that has not voted Democrat since 1972. Rudy Giuliani changes the electoral map in a way that makes it very difficult for the GOP nominee to win. The correct answer was John McCain.

This is the first time that I am aware of that a Republican candidate has hyped the idea of a third party in the event of a Giuliani nomination.

McCain also lends legitimacy to the "swift boat"-style campaign against Giuliani being spearheaded by liberal unions and 9/11 Truthers.

Wow. This is getting ugly.

Yes, indeed. I must say, I'm not a huge fan of this kind of thing, cute and slick though it is. Perhaps it's that it's coming from McCain personally, who's always been the keep-it-clean, stand-up-guy in politics, at least from where I sit. Perhaps it's because I'm a fan of his and Rudy's, and I don't like either of them beating up on the other. Perhaps it is, in fact, because it is cute and slick, and that makes me think of something that Matinee Idol or his team would cook up. It's certainly because I think one of the assertions being made by the McCain team is BS. I may have more on that later.

Side note: It also appears that Team McCain doesn't know much about the 1972 election. At least according to Wikipedia's map, which jives with my understanding, Virginia did not vote Democrat in 1972. I think, rather, that they mean 1964, when (unfortunately) Barry Goldwater got his butt handed to him on a plate.


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