Every now and again, I read a column that “gets” the vicissitudes of American politics. Someone who understands that there are things which transcend a candidate’s stance on issues and his campaign bank account to try to fathom his political success.
People wrote off Ronald Reagan in 1980 as being too old and too conservative to unite the GOP and win election to the White House. That year, some marveled as former Texas Governor John Connally’s fundraising success, thinking that would make him a formidable candidate in the GOP primaries.
As pundits dismissed Ronald Reagan, they now seem to dismiss my man Rudy. He’s too liberal on social issues to win the GOP. Republicans will reject him because of his checkered personal life. Yet, George Will notes that the former New York City Mayor is “confounding expectations, calling into question some assumptions about Republican voters.” The facts about Rudy’s personal life — and stance on certain hot button social issues — are not, in Will’s words, “causing a recoil from him: According to the USA Today-Gallup poll, his lead over John McCain has grown from 31 percent to 27 percent in November to 40-24 today.“