Whistling Past Graveyard: Some in MSM Cling to Belief GOP Won't Support Rudy

I seem to be detecting a trend. There's a current in the MSM that fears Rudy Giuliani, perhaps sensing he might be best positioned to defeat the Dem candidate. Such folks console themselves by clinging to the belief that the GOP won't nominate Rudy, or at least won't avidly support him if he is the candidate, given his liberal positions on some issues.

This evening's Hardball offered a perfect example of the phenomenon in the person of Craig Crawford. Time and again, the MSNBC analyst returned to the theme:

View video here.

  • "Getting onto the social conservative stuff: abortion, gay rights, etc., [Rudy at CPAC] did make the case that I'm 80% with you, better than most marriages, a pretty good line, but at the end of the day, they're important issues to these people, and I just really wonder, the more they learn about him, and just how liberal he really is on those issues, I think it's going to matter to them."
  • "Maybe I've just covered these social conservatives and these Republican races for too long to believe they're suddenly going to forget about that stuff, no matter how much they like Giuliani otherwise."
  • "I think if Giuliani wins this nomination, and he well could, social conservative voters are not going to play in the general election, and that's going to help Democrats."
  • "I really do believe a lot of these [socially conservative] voters and a lot of these groups are losing interest in politics."
  • "I don't think they've heard all the details of his personal life, and the judges [the liberal ones in NYC Rudy appointed] we're talking about."
Jim Vandehei, ex of WaPo, now with Politico.com, was dubious of Crawford's notion: "I think that the conventional wisdom must be wrong, this idea that once conservatives get to know Giuliani's record. I mean, how can they not know his record? Everybody's talking about it."

Chris Matthews, flatly rejecting Crawford's theory, adopted a real-politik analysis:
  • "Are [abortion, gay rights] relevant issues?"
  • "Hasn't [Rudy] kow-towed a bit by saying I'll pick strict-constructionist judges?"
  • "You really think they're going to put Huckabee up there against Hillary Clinton or Obama and risk getting beat?"
  • "I couldn't disagree with you [Crawford] more. When [conservatives] get a look at the Democratic nominee, they're going to vote like they've never voted in their lives."
  • "American voters don't vote 'for,' they vote 'against.' And when they see Hillary or Obama coming, a lot of these Republicans are going to say, 'God, that Rudy is pretty cool, I like him."
  • "Sometimes I wish I was in the gambling business. I could stop talking to guys like you [Craig] and put some money on the table, and I'd get rich. Wait a year from now."
Be that as it may, whether the MSM is finding reasons to hope Republicans won't nominate Rudy, or betting they will, it does seem clear that the liberal media view him as the most formidable candidate.

Contact Mark at mark@gunhill.net
Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.