So what should the Republican candidates do?

December 5, 2007

TPT gives the Republican candidates some advice.


One of the more interesting exercises when making predictions about political events is put oneself in the shoes of the candidates themselves, or more accurately their campaign managers. This is not just an education exercise but also a good way to see whether they have a plausible path to victory.

Mike Huckabee – In many ways Huckabee is the ideal Republican candidate in that he lacks the baggage of all the other candidates, is a social conservative without alienating liberals, is a Governor with a moderate record and has the proven ability to connect with Hispanic-American and African-American voters. He has also used John McCain as a snow-plough, in that McCain has taken most of the flak from ‘the base’ for his views on immigration and his dismissal of the Club for Growth, enabling Huckabee to do essentially the same thing without losing any support. However, Huckabee has a glass jaw in the form of his opposition to the War in Iraq and his support for a ludicrous (and deeply regressive) tax plan. Huckabee needs to keep sticking with his socially conservative, but inclusive, message and to tone down his support for a flat tax (although completely abandoning it would be impossible). He essentially needs to avoid either flip-flopping on social issues while still keeping his moderate positions on immigration and the role of government.

John McCain – McCain has been given a new lease of life by Romney’s weakness in Iowa and by the fact that none of the candidates have been that inspiring. McCain needs to hope that Huckabee fatally wounds Romney in Iowa and that he can win the resulting three (or four) way contest in New Hampshire. Although his attack on Ron Paul probably stopped the Texan from draining voters from him, McCain needs to fix Giuliani in his sights and ignore everyone else. I believe that Giuliani’s weakness is the fact that he spent the last six years out of public life, especially given the dubious nature of some of his firm’s clients. McCain referred to this in an earlier debate with his ‘patriotism not profits’ line, but he needs to spell this out more clearly. Although McCain cannot come out for repealing Bush’s tax cuts or Comprehensive Immigration Reform (at least not yet), he needs to make it clear that he does not support a flat tax and that he does not favour mass deportations. McCain needs to generally move to the centre on economic issues. The only note of restraint that I would note would be that he needs to wait until South Carolina to attack the ‘(un)fair tax’.

Fred Thompson – He desperately needs to break 20% (or even 25%) in Iowa if he is to remain at all credible. He also needs to abandon any attempt to triangulate abortion or gay marriage and come down in favour of strong federal action against both. Like it or not, Thompson’s place in the contest is as a fiscal and social conservative and he will need to stick to that message, even if it makes life difficult for him if he actually manages to get nominated. He also need to desist from personal attacks and hope, like John Kerry in 2004, that Romney and Huckabee take each other down and that both Giuliani and McCain prove unpalatable to the base.

Rudolph Giuliani – Like McCain, Giuliani needs Huckabee to beat Romney. However, he needs to make sure that he finishes convincingly ahead of McCain, and ideally gives Thompson a run for his money. He also needs to focus far more on New Hampshire and Michigan and less on the later states. If he gets to February 2nd without a victory then he’ll be obliterated everywhere. Giuliani also needs to emphasise his crime fighting record and give a Romney style ‘talk’ in the next month about his private life.

Mitt Romney – Romney’s campaign seems to be imploding before his eyes. Even if the ‘talk’ about his Mormonism stops the bleeding in Iowa, he still might not be able to win there. He needs to pray that he can survive until he gets to New Hampshire. He then needs to emphasise his reformist credentials as Governor of Massachusetts, and remind people of his health-care plan, while still maintaining a generally conservative course.


One comment

  1. […] post by thepoliticaltipster This was written by . Posted on Wednesday, December 5, 2007, at 8:41 am. Filed under […]

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