With Hillary Clinton pulling away from the rest of the Democratic pack (her average lead in the national polls is now 20 points), it appears that the only competitive national race is going to be with respect to the Republican nomination. Of course, how competitive the race is actually going to be remains to be seen. The mainstream media has been predicting that Guiliani's lead would disappear as soon as Republicans learned of his some of his social views. Yet, Guiliani's lead has stayed strong for the last 9 months and currently stands at about 10 points over his nearest competitor. Can any of the other candidates make a run at Rudy? My belief is that Fred Thompson has waited too long to get into the race. This hesitation on the part of Thompson raises the question as to whether he has the hunger to run a committed campaign. His organization is in disarray and his fundraising has been disappointing. It is doubtful that his entry into the race (which is expected to happen in September) will effect the polls that much since his entry is now expected. It looks as though the only candidate that could threaten Rudy is Mitt Romney. His position in the latest polls has improved markedly (he was even second in a recent poll) and he was certainly helped by his win in the Ames straw poll. But I question his strategy of putting all of his marbles in Iowa and New Hampshire. In previous years winning Iowa (see Bob Dole in 1988) or New Hampshire (McCain in 2000) was no guaranty of success and this year, with the primary season compressed into a very short time period, candidates will need to move beyond Iowa and New Hapshire rapidly. Guiliani with his broad support and large national lead seems to be in good shape. The Republican frontrunner rarely loses its lead (it hasn't happened in over 40 years) and doesn't seem likely this time around.
It appears that those who feared a Governor Spitzer would act in the same over-the-top fashion that he exhibted as attorney general have been proven correct. The Spitzer administration's attempt to bring down Joe Bruno by misusing state troopers and planting stories with a newspapaer is nothing short of outrageous. It remains remarkable that the governor's people believe that by claiming that have cooperated with a sham investigation conducted by the Attorney General that suddenly their bad behavior would be excused and forgotten. The best strayegy with dealing with scandal is to get all of the bad facts in front of the public as soon as possible. Instead the administration has chosen to delay disclosure (by allowing two top aises to not testify) and instead allow the disclosures to come out in drips and drabs. This assures that the scandal will drag on for months. For a governor that assured the public that everything would change on day one, it appears that this adminstartion believes in politics as usual. If Mayor Bloomberg were smart, he would rejoin the Republican party, stop thinking about an absurd run for President and run against Spitzer in 2010.