This topic came up in my conversation with Markos of Daily Kos last week. And he was pretty clear that he thinks the Republicans' strongest candidate is Rudy Giuliani. But I'm having a hard time getting my head around this question.
Basically I agree. He's their strongest candidate. For all his problems of temperament, authoritarianism, ignorance and general ridiculousness, I know most people don't see him that way. The sheen of 9/11 is real for Rudy. And many otherwise sensible people see him as a generally moderate guy on social policy who couldn't be as stupid as Bush in managing the country's foreign policy but would still be ready to kick some ass to keep everyone safe.
So yes, he's their strongest candidate. Unless, that is, he splinters the Republican party and spawns a third-party social conservative protest candidate who siphons off numbers even in the high single digits and he gets crushed.
In the post below, it was generally agreed that Giuliani would be the worst president, though I argued he would be the best candidate in terms of allowing the Dems to win. I'm a bit taken aback that Josh and Kos both think he would actually make the best candidate of the bunch. Not only is he the one candidate who actually seems mentally unstable, his advising team includes Daniel Pipes and Norman Podhoretz, two of the most discredited neoconservatives around. A scary combo. Then we get into his cronyism and the culture of corruption surrounding him as mayor. And his decision to put the emergency command center in the WTC.
In Josh's defense, he does mention the potential disaster that nominating Giuliani could create for the GOP:
'm already repeatedly on record saying that I think it's ridiculous to believe that Rudy can win the Republican nomination with the burden of his social liberalism and personal profligacy.
I think that when average Republicans start looking at Rudy's personal life, that will be the clincher for them. Although with all the Republican sleaze scandals lately, maybe they just won't notice.
Anyway, it's interesting that this "best GOP candidate" meme has been making the liberal blog rounds the past few days. Are folks on the left getting bored with the Dem nomination, assuming Clinton has it sewn up now? It's also worth mentioning that some of the discussion is not exactly comparable. Matthew and Ezra are talking about which candidate they could potentially live with as a competent president, while Josh, Kos and I have been talking about which matchups work to the Dems' advantage or disadvantage.