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Luntz Says GOP Must Win Ohio

Frank Luntz lays out a strategy for a GOP win in 2008 that (it seems) cannot even convince Frank Luntz. He seems pretty pessimistic about his optimism. The substance of what he suggests is sound, nonetheless--particularly this bit:

The final step is to win Ohio. To be perfectly blunt, no Republican can win the White House without winning Ohio. Although readers of this column would no doubt like to see and hear the presidential nominees up close, the reality is that California, at least when it comes to elections, is as blue as the Pacific. A successful Republican candidate in Ohio will have learned how to articulate a culturally conservative message fused with government accountability and economic opportunity specifically tailored to voters in the industrial heartland. Without the support of the anxious working class, Ohio will also turn deep blue. And so will the United States.

Discussions - 40 Comments

Well, his premise is correct because, if my memory is serving me well, no Republican has ever won the White House before without winning Ohio. Historically it seems to be somewhat essential for the GOP to win Ohio in most elections, and this election isn't going to be any different.

Not necessarily. The GOP doesn't need Ohio per se. What we need is 270 Electoral College votes come November, 2008. If Giuliani can deliver Pennsylvania, then we're fine. If he could deliver the Garden State, or the Empire State in addition, then it's the Democrats who are facing the brutal realities of Electoral College arithmetic.

But Thompson won't deliver Pennsylvania, New Jersey or New York. And he won't save Ohio for the GOP.

So Thompson can't be the choice.

Same goes for Romney. For Romney won't deliver any New England state or states that will make up for the loss of Ohio.

McCain executed one too many Kamikaze attack upon the base of the GOP for him to ever get the nomination. He's done.

So our only option is Giuliani. The GOP in the Buckeye State has so screwed up, that we're left with no other option than to go for that candidate who stands the best chance to completely upend existing Electoral College tectonics. We need Pennsylvania; we need to make a serious, SERIOUS play for New Jersey. And if we could force the Democrats to spend scores of millions of dollars defending New York, then we can pull '08 off.

Our only chance is Rudy Giuliani.

The arithmetic of the Electoral College dictates our choice.

Thompson is a fantasy born of desperation.

Romney an illusion.

McCain done.

No other Republican of any stature exists that's competitive.

So it's got to be Giuliani. It's real simple.

the lunatic base can't stand julie the ani. Going to be a blue wipe out in 08. It's real simple.


Didn't you hear of the warm reception that Giuliani got with Pat Robertson's group?

This is no real news, but it is unlikely that Guilanni wins New York even if Obama is the nominee and certianly he will not win if Hillary is the nominee. However, he does expand the playing field to New Jersey, Pennsylvannia and perhaps Conneticutt (they did vote for Lieberman). Ohio will once again be a huge battleground. Although, I would not write it off as lost. Ohio is angry about the war and economically worried, but it is still a midewestern conservative state at its core, and Hillary is not going to appeal to people who voted for Bush in 04. Rudy just needs to be enticing enough to get the base and some of the middle which is possible.

Apart from the arithmetic of the thing--about which we can argue many scenarios--don't you all think that Luntz's substantive point regarding message is sound? Forget about Electoral College votes for just a minute . . . doesn't it appear sensible on the face of it that a successful Republican candidate would have to appeal to the kind of voters that Luntz describes as typical in Ohio. Isn't "a culturally conservative message fused with government accountability and economic opportunity specifically tailored to voters in the industrial heartland" the sort of message the GOP needs to cultivate in order to regain the trust they squandered in '06? There's a reason why Ohio, historically, has had such an important role in determining the outcome of presidential elections and it's only partially tied to its number of electors. It's also because Ohio is so representative of the vast American electorate. A candidate who can win in Ohio is going to appeal throughout most the country. Republicans would do well to spend much time in Ohio and make an effort to understand the electorate here . . . particularly they should study the causes of their march away from the GOP and stop kidding themselves that it is entirely a phenomenon of local factors (such as Taft).

I agree on the near-indispensability of OH, and was intrigued by the go-with-Giuliani-because-he-might-carry-PA-instead line. Based upon my one visit to OH not so long ago, I think the rust-belt-not-sharing-in-the-general-prosperity-issue makes OH a long shot in 08, although following the advice Julie lays out should be the heart of the big effort that must be made. The most troubling feature of the D thumpin' in 06 is the northern rust-belt victories, which will be darn hard to reverse. I actually, by the way, don't think G. is the key to carrying PA. There is a strong social conservative/pro-life base there--incluing even the Amish--that wouldn't be energized by him.

Does anyone have any evidence that Fred Thompson can't win in Ohio, and that Rudy can? Or are we just making assertions with no basis whatsoever in fact? This is exactly the kind of useless and unhelpful speculation that hardens into conventional wisdom with donors. Neither Thompson nor Rudy has ever run in Ohio. Period. So in fact we have no idea how Ohioans would react. However, if you are laboring under the notion that because Rudy could carry New Jersey that will translate into votes in Ohio, you need to spend a little more time in Ohio. Cleveland has gone from a population of 1 million to 400,000. This is not a state of rust belt liberal union members any more -they are only one faction in a truly purple electorate.

Even after the worst Ohio Governor in the state's history, a corruption scandal, and the worst run statewide effort in living memory - all in 06 - the Republicans kept the Ohio House, the Ohio Senate, and the Republican congressional delegation changed little. But wm, the Republicans lost a senate seat! - Dewine alienated his base completely; I have been at party functions since where a two term US senator was greeted with muted and polite applause by his own party. Indeed, Dewine has gone on to demonstrate his deep empathy with his base by becoming McCain's chair in Ohio (!)

We are all gearing up to surrender in the last war, here, aren't we? I would be thrilled if the Democrats decided 06 was a template for their future success; they will be trying to capture lightening in a bottle. Republicans cannot make such a ridiculous mistake. Bush won in 04 in Ohio by using Rove's micro-focus on individual voting blocs, and by developing block by block campaign tactics. All but one 06 statewide race was run through the television in a bloated orgy of out of touch television commercials. The statewide candidate who did not allow the State party to run her campaign? Mary Taylor - the only statewide Republican who won. Any Republican who uses Rove's ward by ward, one interest group at a time, volunteer-heavy approach can win in Ohio.

Wm: I love your spirit. I also don't see why Thompson could not win in Ohio (or Romney, if he worked at it). Thompson should do well with general likability--particularly in the Southern parts of the state and among the working class that is so much in flux here. Guiliani would also have a good shot at winning the state; though I think for different reasons.

But I did not know that Dewine was McCain's Ohio chairman! That's perfect. Pitch perfect tone deafness. That about sums up the problems with the Ohio GOP. If the national GOP or their candidates cozy up with that crowd in order to win friends and influence people they're sure to do neither. The best strategy for the national GOP in Ohio is probably to do the opposite of anything Dewine says!

The Amish do not vote unless they feel particularly threatened. The last time they registered to vote in force was the year there was a ban on the shooting of mourning doves on the ballot.

One main complaint against Taft as governor was that his administration was anti-business in terms of tax policy and business regulation. Gov. Strickland has not improved that, but neither is he making the situation very much worse, which the GOP would have to wish he were. If businesses left Ohio in the last administration - and given the weather, that temptation to move out would always be there if not for a favorable tax and regulatory environment - wouldn't that change Ohio's economic demographic? Prosperous business owners or business managers seem likely to have voted Republican in the past, and if numbers of them have taken or followed business elsewhere that will change voting patterns in the state. Except for the biggest cities (and this is the only good news in wm.'s description of Cleveland's population) the state FEELS conservative on social conservative/pro-life issues, but motivating that potential voting populace beyond economic self-interest is going to take a strong message and articulate leadership. If local and state Democrats in Ohio do not mess things up, national Democrats have a good chance to win the state, absent a great Republican candidate - who I do not see, even while longing to.


I didn't say it would be easy! Just that it could be done. Your comments about the business climate are absolutely spot on 100% corrrect.

It's not a question if Thompson can win Ohio.

Ohio is ALREADY lost to ANY Republican.

Take that as a given. Ohio is gone.

Now begin the Electoral College calculus. And that leads you inexorably to Giuliani.

Sorry folks, there's no one else.

Dear Dan,

CAPITAL LETTERS are not evidence, they are just CAPITAL LETTERS. You have a poll? Let's see it.

What poll evidence are you looking for?

What state is Romney going to deliver for the GOP that we didn't carry in 2000 and 2004, furthermore, what state COULD he deliver to make up for the likely loss of Ohio?

Ohio has what, 20, 21 Electoral College votes. So when those votes go for the Democrat candidate, as they surely will, what states are you going to steal from the Democrats to make up for the loss of those Electoral College votes? Or is that a thought that you prefer to avoid, because it dictates the Party choose Giuliani, that is, if it hopes to win.

Does Thompson have the necessary pizazz to make up for the Ohio GOP implosion that's been going on since 2000?

I use caps as italics.

But as for polling, you can find all the polling results you'll need over at

An intelligent and informed discussion. My take is this: Rudy has virtually no chance to carry NY or CT. OH is conceivable, but also conceivable for Thompson, who might do better in the southern part of the state than Rudy. Only two states are really relvant to the Rudy calculus: NJ and PA. I'll let someone else speak to NJ. But PA seems awfully problematic. Kerry was a lousy fit for PA's Reagan Dems, yet he won the state. Santorum, as a well-funded incumbent, simply collapsed in '06. That suggests to me that an effective appeal to the Reagan Dems would, if anything, improve upon Kerry's margin. Bob Casey did so in the Senate race. I would not dismiss the ability of Shrillary (and Team Clinton) to do this with fakery. After all, the Shrillary conquered another Rust Belt region, upstate NY, in 2000. In addition, the Philly suburbs are practically Ground Zero for the "I'm a Republican, but ..." crowd. They've been lost to us since 1996 -- Clintonized, you might say. I doubt that Rudy will bring enough of them back. Nor can the utter rejection of Rudy by a significant segment of our party be overlooked. There is and always has been only one possible position on abortion for the successful GOP presidential candidate: pro-life, but not too vocally or seriously, viz. Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II. Thompson seems to fit that bill.

I understand that everyone thinks Ohio is "conservative at its core", but ideology matters little right now. The Democrats have really started to push universal health care, cheaper college education, and the elimination (or at least attempt at an elimination) of poverty. All of these things are appealing to particular groups in Ohio (especially gay-hating, racist, "Christian" industrial laborers who usually lean right). If my conservative, uber-Christian, evangelical parents (and all of their factory worker, teacher, farmer Christian friends) are any indication, they are tired of Republicans telling them abortion can be made illegal or that gay marriage should be constitutionally banned (even at the state level). To them, the Republicans haven't delivered. And, they really like the idea (what they believe to be Christian ideas) of universal health care, cheaper education, un-privatized social security, etc.

Perhaps there is a resurgence of a post-Progressive era Social Gospel movement ("Take care of your orphans and widows")? I don't know. But I really think that the religious residents of Ohio (and many other states) will not be as dedicated to the Republican party as they have been in the past. That is probably the Republican party's own doing, and I honestly believe it's going to cost them the '08 White House. It certainly cost Blackwell and DeWine (so much so that Ohio voted for the super-blue-blood Sherrod Brown!).

The PA Dems performed up to (rather high) expectations in '06 in PA congressional races. They knocked off Republican incumbents Don Sherwood (in a solid red district), Mike Fitzpatrick, Curt Weldon, and Melissa Hart -- beating 4 of the 5 seriously contested races in that state. OH Dems underperformed in congressional races, taking only the -- open -- Bob Ney seat. Bob Taft undoubtedly did terrible damage to the party. But by '08, both the former governor and the damage may well be fading if Republicans play it right. Where, by the way, is Ken Blackwell? Politicking, or think-tanking?

I find myself agreeing with much of the substance (if not the tone or with the same hopefulness) of Matt's post above. And I think he's right that the Social Gospel movement is positioned to appeal right now--particularly because Republicans are seen to have failed to deliver and because they have never been able fully to sell the message of Reaganomics to the working class. Republicans get into trouble when they apologize for their beliefs instead of defending them. Democrats almost never do that. That's why they look stronger now.

The evangelicals who whine about lack of action on abortion and gay marriage -- that is, who do not understand either politics or our system -- are probably foolish enough to be sucked into phony Democratic "Christian politics" (welfarism plus occasional talk about the Sermon on the Mount). We need a nominee who can express a firm sense of identity with them across the board. People naturally want action, but they can be gotten to focus on the risks of a Democratic presidency, if we can get a candidate who dares to speak plainly, not covertly. Romney's vague references to "a good environment for our kids," the need for "a mom and a dad," etc., won't be enough. Nor would a repeat of Bush's meaningless "culture of life" mantra.

Matt is quite right, and I would argue that part of the disgust over Republican "Christians" comes from ridiculous abuses--see Ken Blackwell, Rick Santorum, etc.

Thompson is quite electable, and the Republicans could win in 2008 without Ohio. Given our sour GOP mood, Ohio could lean further left than usual, while states like Iowa, New Mexico, Oregon, and Minnesota remain in play.

I just read this thread straight through from top to bottom, and it had the same impression me that Hemingway had on E.B. White. It reminds me of "the farting of an old horse."

12: Clint, we have a less than even chance of winning Iowa, which we won in '04. Minnesota is a near-impossibility. The upper Midwest is antiwar, bordering on isolationist. In addition, the Democratic governor of Iowa has restored voting rights to felons, just on his own. Pretty tyrannical behavior if you ask me, but of course, Democrats are always on the side of the angels, so it's a nonissue to the MSM-propagandized voters. Needless to say, felons are overwhelmingly Democratic (it's no accident). I suspect we have a similar pacifist/isolationist problem in Oregon. In addition, all balloting there is by mail -- not a good thing for Republicans, especially in a Democratic year.

21: Michelle, why not just go away?
If E.B. White offends you and discussions of Republican electoral strategy offend you, and you think Hemingway was a good judge of anything, you probably don't have the brains to post on an intellectual site. Why not try Daily KOS?

Sure David, but it is ridiculous for Republicans to give up on winning without Ohio. It is also ridiculous to give up on Ohio like Dan has. Thompson and Giuliani--which seems to be what the race will come down to--would both have a good chance to win the state and the election.

You all will have read something on this which I read on Drudge this morning. I am guilty of being in that camp, the "What the heck?" crowd, sickeningly aware of the uselessness of my position.

Which is to say that David Frisk is quite right to be discouraged. The best news for the GOP is that the nation is neither saying "I HEART the Democrats". If there was ever a year for a third party challenge, it is this one. Yet, no happy or even plausible options are there either, I would say. I will try to take this as good news for the GOP, as much as possible. Yet, I dread the coming political year.

It is July of '07. The election is 15 months away. Children will be born and will be walking and talking before we have this election. Nothing is settled right now. We can see trends and patterns, but it silly to be either optimistic or pessimistic at this point. Really, it is. There are real very serious problems in Ohio; but it's by no means a lost cause. The reason to pay attention to Ohio--apart from the large # of electoral votes it has--is because it is a good barometer of the electorate in general. The scandals and woes of the Ohio GOP look to me like a fast-forward indication of what the National party can expect if they don't turn things around. Seeing what's happened here, why wouldn't they? And why not start here where it will be pretty easy to gauge success and pretty hard to do worse?

24: Clint, I'm just saying that IF we have to choose between giving up on Ohio and giving up on Pennsylvania (and we may), I say give up on Pennsylvania. Also, it is not a two-man Thompson-Rudy race. Romney is very disciplined and very strong on the ground. Rudy needs an outstanding ground game in either Iowa or New Hampshire. So does Thompson.

25: Kate, I think that's right. It will be absolutely essential to capitalize on the Dems' negatives, to really rub voters' faces in them. The milquetoast tradition is unfortunately quite predominant in the GOP, so it's unclear if this will happen.

26: Julie, the year (or certainly the 12 months) prior to an election tends to set the tone for it. I don't say for one minute that '08 is hopeless. I do say we're the underdogs and will remain so, whatever positive blips might or might not occur for us. In your posts, I often detect the old belief in the "silent majority." To which I'm always tempted to respond with Pat Moynihan's jibe (as a Nixon aide) back about 1970: "The Silent Majority is silent because it has nothing to say."

Remember, Giuliani doesn't need to actually take the Empire State. All he needs to do is make the Democrats spend scores of millions MORE than they ordinarily would simply defending New York.

Likewise Connecticut.

As for Pennsylvania and New Jersey. I think some of you have overlooked in your political assessment the number of Italian Americans who live in both of those states. Italian Americans might not deliver Pennsylvania and New Jersey outright for Rudy, but they could offset the huge voting imbalance that results from the Democrat's control of Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Scranton, Trenton and Camden. And by doing that, Republicans can take New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Republicans are competitive in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. And with Giuliani, I think we can win those two states.

And if the Democrat candidate can't count on the Keystone State, it's game, set and match.

If we take Pennsylvania, which has about 20 Electoral College votes, and then we take New Jersey, which has 15, then the Democrats have to find 35 Electoral College votes out there somewhere.

And they're not going to be able to do that. They might pick up an Arkansas. They might pick up a Missouri. But they're not going to find 35 Electoral College votes.

They ABSOLUTELY have to hold Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

And they know it.

Which accounts for that over-the-top attack launched against Rudy by the head of the Firefighter Union. They're ALREADY attacking him, because they know he's the guy whose reputation they have to destroy.

They don't need to worry about Romney.

And Thompson is the fantasy candidate born from desperation. He's no real legislative track record behind him.

I don't understand the qualms some have with Rudy.

Do you really think that Rudy is going to emulate GW's second term approach, which was to launch one Kamikaze attack after another against the base of the GOP. Do you really think that Rudy is that stupid, that he would go after his base?

GW and this administration have left Americans with an image of our party as one of hacks, incompetents and cronies. And we need a guy who will leave them with one inescapable fact, he knows what the hell he's doing, and he isn't going to surround himself with a pack of unready second stringers.

I think it's also wise to project that when the general election rolls around, GW will be even MORE unpopular than he is today. I'm relatively confident that GW will leave office the most detested President in our lifetimes.

Which means we have to select a candidate who is altogether unlike GW. Whereas GW got to the top through connections, Rudy climbed the hard way. Whereas GW got to the Ivy League by being a legacy, Rudy earned his education, again, the hard way. Whereas GW had no real resume other than beating Ann Richards, and cutting deals with Democrats in Austin, Rudy had an amazing resume EVEN BEFORE assuming control of the Big Apple.

Behind Rudy exists a wake of success a country mile wide.

Compared to Rudy, compared to what Rudy's done, compared to what Rudy's faced, what do the Democrats have to offer?

Hussein Obama, who enjoys the support of Oprah and has a pleasant speaking voice.........

Hillary, who has her husband to thank for every position she ever got........

Edwards, still beating that "two Americas" mantra, which he riffed off of Benjamin Disraeli...........

Compared to Rudy, those candidates are a joke.

Rudy should be our selection.

I don't fathom the unease that some of my fellow Conservative have about Giuliani.

Dan your electoral predictions are just plain wrong. That's not an insult to your political skills, but it is just impossible for anyone to be speaking so confidently about the electoral landscape when it is July of 2007 and the election is fifteen months away.

28: Dan, Rudy is the best qualified, aside from (at least arguably) Newt. But many conservatives are equally concerned about three other things, not always in this order: 1)Rudy's apparent lack of connection with the conservative base; 2) Rudy's pro-choice and pro-"gay rights" and (alleged) previous pro-illegals positions; and 3) Rudy's personal deviations from family values. (I am concerned quite a bit about the first beef and somewhat about the second myself, though not about the third beef except insofar as it may be a political minus.) The people who are seriously concerned about these Rudy minuses are probably not that interested in his competence, since they tend to think he'll either score for the wrong team, or is a bad man. Rudy cannot with either the nomination or the general election unless he substantially diminishes the right's concerns about him. Turning himself into a paragon of family values is impossible. Redefining himself as pro-life or anti-gay rights is impossible at this late date. Redefining himself as tough on immigration (not just border security) is, I think, still possible. And Rudy can still make the conservative base like him but making it clear that he feels their pain on as many issues as possible, and holds the Democrats in contempt on as many issues as possible. He needs to modify his cool, shrugging-off, casual manner and show some real passion. He has the potential to be the strongest general-election nominee. But he needs to turn into a champion of conservatism on most issues, not just a generic Republican who reduced crime, happened to be there on 9-11, and truly hates terrorists. A good start: Some deep and constantly repeated ACLU-bashing?

Clint, that's an apt point. Despite a veneer of confidence, my assessment is still speculative. It's a projection of a political landscape over a year out.

But for all that, there are certain political givens. Such as it's unlikely the Republican candidate will take California, or Massachusetts, that certain candidates will have more of a chance to take Pennsylvania and New Jersey than others. That's not a stretch.

Certainly some electoral probablities are worth consideration, and as you point out Rudy would run ahead of Thompson in NJ and PA. It's just that months before even the primary I am not going to side heavily for any candidate on that basis.

23 David Frisk: Michelle, why not just go away? If E.B. White offends you and discussions of Republican electoral strategy offend you, and you think Hemingway was a good judge of anything, you probably don't have the brains to post on an intellectual site. Why not try Daily KOS?

Let’s see … you’re the one who called this an intelligent and informed discussion. So you begin with an infant’s grip on reality. 8wm got it right: [A]re we just making assertions with no basis whatsoever in fact? This is exactly the kind of useless and unhelpful speculation that hardens into conventional wisdom with donors.

Useless and unhelpful speculation. Every bit of it. Thirty days from now, not one syllable of this thread will have made the slightest difference in the course of political events. It will be as if nothing whatsoever was said.

"It will be as if nothing whatsoever was said."

The stupidity of this comment is almost endless. In the first place, there is no way of knowing when a public utterance will make a difference and when it won't. You have no idea who is reading NLT and what a given comment might lead them to think or do; no more than I do. In the second place, discussions are still worthwhile because it is a good to inform ourselves and others, even if we accept the very questionable assumption that those people never matter. Third, you appear to think that
all comments on this thread (yours and mine) for example, are equally meaningless and useless. Not so.

Michelle, given what you say, why do you bother to write here? You seem very heated and engaged in something you find useless and it seems very odd that you take the time and effort for this, given your view on it. Have you some personal animus that compels you? I am just curious as to why you bother.

David, looking at what you say in #30, and if I do read Ohio politics correctly, Guiliani would not win in Ohio. ACLU bashing would do him no good at all. If the GOP must have Ohio in the election, Guiliani would not be a good candidate.

If the GOP selects someone other than Giuliani, then I think they HAVE to have the Electoral College votes of Ohio.

And I don't think they'll get 'em.

But if they make a virtue of necessity, and reach out to a national hero, a national figure, but someone who doesn't wholly satisfy the wish list of their base, they won't absolutely have to have Ohio. Because they'll be making a play for Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Connecticut.

It needs to be recalled, Giuliani is a challenge to our party, but he is to that of the Democrats as well.

Furthermore, I think Giuliani can take New York. Giuliani will somewhat blunt the huge turnout effort in New York City, and he'll find an enormous amount of support throughout the rest of the state.

At the end of the Presidential campaign season, Giuliani's resume is going to show up. And that resume is amazing.

And NO Democrat remotely comes close.

I don't see any other candidate out there of whom it could be said: "He deserves it."

What he did for New York City was incredible, and most said it could never be done.

36: Kate, I've said that Rudy may be weaker in Ohio than Ol' Fred. But even with Rudy, Ohio is not out of reach, merely difficult. ACLU-bashing is good just about everywhere. Is Rudy a good candidate in general? I'm not yet persuaded that he is. But I believe he has tremendous potential. With Thompson not announcing for the past few months, and fluffing the abortion-lobbying allegation with Beltway lawyer talk, it doesn't seem that he's exactly at his best right now.

David, I was driving around NE Ohio running errands, going from Amish country to a sprawling suburb by the lake and then to a densely populated suburb further south and closer to Cleveland. I was thinking about people, especially Republicans, who I know in all of those places and what issues and candidates were likely to move them. This is pretty subjective, but I cannot picture a lot of Guiliani yard signs in Windsor or Middlefield. In the suburbs, he might get ethnic support in that there are a lot of Italians out there and ethnicity means something to them in that they would eat pizza for lunch rather than a hamburger, somehow on principle.

These are areas that would have Republican support. They counter Cleveland, which is Democratic to such a degree that people I know who work the elections have trouble finding Republicans to man the polling stations. As far as I can tell, there is no Republican message that is likely to motivate voters. There is considerable ambiguous anger about the war, but no certainty about what to do. All of those issues Matt Mingus mentions above do not really push lots of people out the door to vote. As I have said before, if there is another terrorist attack of significance in America before the election, Guiliani might look better to people out here. As things are now, I do not think people out here will like him, much. Is Thompson taking off? No one speaks to me about him.

Dan, what Guiliani did in New York WAS amazing. Is he running as a law and order candidate or could he? If he cannot run on his strengths his weaknesses will be more evident and they are considerable for my neighbors.

Giuliani doesn't have a natural connection to base Republicans in the manner of Ronald Reagan, Thompson (potentially), or GWB after people became familiar with him. But I don't think Kerry had a natural connection to base Democrats either. They turned out for him anyway, and there were a hell of a lot of signs for him too, in my experience. Fear and loathing of Hillary can accomplish a great deal, as has fear and loathing of GWB.

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