Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Giuliuni and Electability

A couple of weeks ago, I laid into John Edwards for making an electability argument as to why he should be the Democratic nominee. I don't like this argument as a primary argument because there are too many variables and shows absolutely no leadership:

If a party has confidence that its basic ideas and prescriptions are both right and reasonably popular, and that it can also offer a fairly wide field of obviously non-batshit insane individuals than the electability argument should not be in play.

That statement has a couple of fairly strong conditions --- multiple non-batshit insane individuals, confidence in basic ideas and policy prescriptions being effective, confidence in basic ideas and policy prescriptions as being popular --- that must be met. As I said in the referenced post, I think the Democrats meet all of these qualifications this cycle, and we are barely seeing the argument being raised. I like some candidates more than others, but of the top five or six candidates, all of them will at least be, in my opinion, reasonably competent Presidents.

James Joyner shares a similiar set of concerns about the practicality and strength of a field when the electability argument is considered a reasonably strong and potentially vote moving argument. He is riffing off of the Washington Post reporting of the new poll that examines a significant portion of Rudy Guiliani's support is based on 'electability'

It worries me when “electability” becomes a major part of people’s calculations. That was a large part of the reason Democrats nominated John Kerry in 2004. While he came very close, he ultimately couldn’t beat a very flawed incumbent, leaving partisans to wonder how they would have done had they nominated a candidate about whom the base could get more enthusiastic.....

I’ve got serious reservations about Giuliani but could very well, when it comes to it, decide that he’s the best of the bunch. But I hope that, if he becomes the nominee, he does so because he’s the consensus favorite among the alternatives, not because people are trying to project what happens months down the road. Further, Guiliani certainly has plenty of baggage, so I’m not even sure the idea that he is “the most electable” is even correct.

A good chunk of the electability bubble is coming from a party that knows it is divided and out of line with the American public but can do absolutely nothing due to its own internal dynamics to break from previous decisions and embark upon a new course. Guiliani is running on the authoritarian Big Daddy bomb-em some more platform and he can not break with that without crushing his support within the supervoter GOP primary electorate base.

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