Remember when Rudy Giuliani made the off-the-reservation loony claim that if we were to cut taxes, we would have to fix the resulting hole in the budget by balancing it out with more tax cuts? (Crazy as it sounds, of course, it's just a logical inference from the supply-side argument that lower taxes always mean more revenue.) Everyone assumed Giuliani had misspoken. When he insisted he meant what he said, everyone assumed it was just gratuitous, empty pandering to the economic right.
Manchester, New Hampshire--The early conventional wisdom is that Thursday’s tragedy in Pakistan will help the Republican candidate with the most foreign policy experience (John McCain) and the one most associated with 9/11 (Rudy Giuliani). For all I know about the dynamics of Republican primary politics, that’s correct.
Now that Rudy Giuliani's candidacy has been derailed largely thanks to a media frenzy around charges that he used city budgeting tricks to cover up his extramarital Hamptons excursions, today's Times buries a short fact-check which casts doubt on the premise of the accusations. I'd like to see more detail than the quickie Times piece offers before rendering a verdict, but suffice to say that if Rudy is largely exonerated it ain't gonna make the front of the New York Post and dominate MSNBC for three days. Meanwhile it's stunning when you think about it how much damage this story seems to have
The Weekly Standard's Mike Murphy Richelieu spins out a fairly unconvincing (to me at least) scenario by which McCain captures the Republican nomination. But he does go on to raise one very intriguing possibility: Rudy could be more than a mere spectator in all of this. Here is a farfetched but not impossible scenario you can use to wow your friends at cocktail parties: Rudy continues to drop in the polls. His campaign is indeed broke. The media continue to hammer him on ethics. He finishes a dismal fifth or even sixth in Iowa. Polls show him third or worse in New Hampshire.
Speaking of Romney getting under people's skin, one of the themes I'm going to be exploring while I'm out here is the extent to which the rest of the GOP field detests the guy. Not long after he dropped out of the race, Sam Brownback seemed to sing the praises of the pro-choice Rudy Giuliani as a way of sticking his finger in Romney's eye. Rudy seems to have an even harder time than usual concealing his contempt when he and Romney share a stage. That's more than you can say for John McCain, who often doesn't even bother to conceal his contempt for Romney.
Still the One [James Joyner, Outside the Beltway]: "The path by which someone other than Hillary Clinton gets the nomination is easier to see than it was a month ago. But it's still hers to lose." Rudy's In Trouble… [Stephen, Cogitamus]: "Giuliani might be the Hero of 9/11--at least in his own mind--but no one is still walking around Kansas City with Rudy Giuliani hats and T-shirts." …Or Is He?
Came, not surprisingly, during the Bernie Kerik portion of the program: Russert: Do you recall the warning you were given about Mr. Kerik? MR.
The New York Observer has a nice piece up today on how questions about Rudy Giuliani's obscure expensing of costs for his visits to the Hamptons refuse to go away despite his campaign's aggressive, and shifting, explanations: [Giuliani political adviser Tony] Carbonetti argued that it took some time to settle on a defense—Mr. Giuliani’s original reaction was that it was a political “hit job”—because he needed time to go through the hundreds of pages of documents.
Evolution as Indoctrination [Liz Sidoti and Libby Quaid, Associated Press]: "Huckabee, at a dinner in Des Moines, told reporters that the theory of intelligent design, whose proponents believe an intelligent cause is the best way to explain some complex and orderly features of the universe, should be taught in schools as one of many viewpoints.
So Hsu Him [Chuck Neubauer and Robin Fields, Los Angeles Times]: "A federal grand jury indicted Democratic fundraiser Norman Hsu on Tuesday, accusing him of operating a massive Ponzi scheme that bilked investors out of at least $20 million and making illegal campaign contributions to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and other candidates." N-I-Who?