For me, it's far too early in the cycle to be really paying attention to the 2008 elections, but on the other hand high-quality summary articles like this piece by Mike Tomasky at the American Prospect on Rudy Giuliani are invaluable looks at the scene, and, in this case, at Giuliani's deplorable personal life. The guy's a creep. But
as a general-election candidate? Let's not kid ourselves: Giuliani would be formidable. McCain has spent the past year trying, in increasingly desperate fashion, to hold on to his appeal among independent voters while assuaging the right. He has flopped. But there is evidence that Giuliani could pull this off.
We know from many a poll that he's won conservatives over in the early stages. As to independents, a March 7 survey by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute shows the potential of his appeal. The survey matched the presidential heavyweights against one another in various permutations in the three crucial states of Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. In other words, nine possible matchups pitted Giuliani against the three leading Democrats -- Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards -- in all three states. Among independents, Giuliani won all nine of those matchups, seven of them by double digits. By contrast, McCain led in just six of those matchups, all by feeble single digits, and Romney trailed in all nine, many by 20 points or more. Yes, it's just a snapshot, but as snapshots go, it's an ominous one.