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Friday, January 11, 2008

Rudy's Rope a Dope?

Is Rudy playing a rope a dope with his fifty state strategy? That is the perverbial 64 thousand dollar question. I have actually been known to add a dig or two to the strategy from time to time. Have I been to harsh and does Rudy know exactly what he is doing?

The genius of the plan is that if it works, it will work from the effective use of old school, textbook politics: retail politics. While the rest of the field is criss crossing South Carolina and Michigan, Rudy is about to embark on a bus tour of Florida...

That's the question after a two-day bus tour morphed late Thursday into a five-day swing through the state, further buttressing Giuliani's bet on winning Florida to make a serious stab at the GOP nomination. He arrives Friday in Coral Springs, and then on Saturday, hits Bradenton for a town hall meeting and speaks in Port Charlotte, both on Saturday.

And then the bus tour starts Sunday through Tuesday across the state.

Rudy has chosen to put all his resources in Florida and the states that follow on Super Tuesday. That's why I was treated to a commercial from Rudy Giuliani during the Republican debate from my place in Chicago. I have already attended a Rudy event and their office in Illinois (downtown Chicago) is full staffed with phone banks twice a week. While I haven't studied the campaigns of his opponents, I have to believe that in states like Florida, Illinois, California, New Jersey his organization is heads and shoulders more superior. He is relying on good old fashioned retail politics trumping the hype of the supposed momentum that others will get from winning the earlier and smaller states.

It will also come down to good old fashioned math. The sort of resources that Romney poured into Iowa and McCain poured into NH, Rudy is pouring into Florida. Florida's delegate count along with that of the other states (Illinois, California, New York, Washington, etc) Rudy is putting the majority of his resources into states with most of the delegates.

Rudy is also riding demographics. Huckabee won Iowa mostly appealing to the unusually large Christian Conservative base in that state. That is not the sort of constituency that Rudy will do well appealing to. NH is more moderate and there was fertile ground to Rudy, however McCain made a stand there appealing to many of the same type of folks. South Carolina and Michigan are also states where Rudy wouldn't be appealing to a good constituency. Florida is just right for Rudy. There is lots of wealth. They are more moderate. His social positions are a lot less of a drag in Florida than in say Iowa or South Carolina.

The other thing Rudy will need is luck. He can't have any one individual winning too many of the states, and so far things have fallen down quite nicely in front of him. Huckabee won Iowa but then finished fourth in NH. We will see how he will do however his momentum is questionable. McCain won NH and currently has momentum, but that would all be reversed if Romney wins there. Thompson has made South Carolina his final stand. This will open up very nicely for Rudy if Romney wins Michigan and Thompson wins South Carolina, however it is likely that McCain can ride his momentum into victories in both states.

By focusing on Florida, he becomes the only game in town so to speak. It is grass roots politics at its finest. He has about a dozen of events in Florida in just the next week...townhall meetings, speeches, barbecues...if there are Florida Republicans gathering Rudy will likely be there. The pundits were constantly pointing out that folks in NH and Iowa liked the politicians to meet them face to face. That is what Rudy is doing in Florida. Why should that state be any different? Only in Florida he is the only one doing it.

If he wins Florida, he will immediately take over the delegate lead. Furthermore, he will move into Super Tuesday and battle in states in which his organization is far superior to any other candidate. Taking the blows of losing states like Iowa, NH, South Carolina may seem like some sort of a failed strategy, but it may just be Rudy's rope a dope.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

there are more votes in 1 county in Fla than in all of NH... smart. very smart.