Who has the most to gain in the Republican debates? Who has the most to loose? Who has to prove themselves? I’ve compiled a pre-debate rundown for my site.
Who Has the Most to Gain?
1) Mitt Romney, Former Massachusetts Governor– Romney has much of what you would expect in a Republican candidate, but he has had trouble getting a jump-start in national polls. His positions are Conservative, his record is solid, and he carries no major baggage, yet, perhaps because he is not a national figure, he has had trouble in the polls. A good performance in the debate will establish a stronger national profile, and draw more attention in his direction.
2) John McCain, Arizona Senator –McCain was once considered to be the man to beat, but he has slipped, falling far behind Giuliani. Even Romney, who’s numbers are considerable low, may find himself ahead of McCain within the next few weeks. If John McCain can show himself to be a strong candidate and a firm Conservative, he may be able to reverse his trend of sliding poll numbers.
Who has the most to loose?
1) Rudy Giuliani, Former Mayor of New York –As the current front-runner, Giuliani cannot perform any better than he already is doing. His expectations will be highest, meaning he is most likely to have a disappointing performance. Whats more is that Rudy’s stances on issues are outside of the Republican mainstream. With his liberal positions on abortion, gays, and guns, he is going to need to give Conservative a good reason to keep supporting him. Giuliani is in the lead right now because of 9/11, his leadership after the terrorist attacks lead people to see him as the strongest defense-oriented candidate. If either Romney or McCain prove themselves to be strong military candidates, Giuliani could begin to fall, and quickly.
2) John McCain, Arizona Senator – McCain is in an interesting spot on my list, making both of my “most to gain/loose” lists. The reason? Because, just as a strong performance could be a new spark to his candidacy, a poor showing, or even an average showing (if other candidates like Romney and Giuliani perform well), could further damage his campaign. McCain will be walking a thin line in these debates, trying to woo back Conservatives who have deserted for other candidates.
The Issues – Strengths and Weaknesses
1) Rudy Giuliani – Giuliani will want to focus on all things defense. Terrorism, Security, Iran, all of these will play to Giuliani’s favor. He wil l want to avoid social issues or anything to do with his messy personal life. These issues will do him no favors and could hurt him among Evangelical Christians.
2) John McCain – If McCain wants to play to Conservatives, my best advise to focus on spending. McCain is a strong anti-pork Republican. Like Giuliani, avoid personal issues. McCain also needs to dodge his past opposition to the Bush tax cuts and any thing related to his age. As for the war, McCain cannot avoid the issue, so the best advise I can give is: TREAD CAREFULLY. He needs to stick to a simple position, say he wants victory, and that Iraqis must do their part.
3) Mitt Romney– Romney is an interesting case. Pretty much all of his current positions are Conservative, so his aim should be to cover all basis and display his Conservative positions. He also needs to combat any remaining scepticism regarding past changes in positions on social issues. Romney also should take time to tout his experience as a reformer and budget cutter. There is very little Romney should avoid, but I will say he should also say away from personal matter, particularly religion, and even his family. These are not so much liabilities as they are distractions – things that take time away from the discussions on issues.
What Has to be Proved?
1) Rudy Giuliani – Giuliani, as I have said before, needs to give people a reason to vote for him. The 9/11 factor will only carry him so far. He has to give people a reason to choose him over the more Conservative Romney and McCain. If he can’t do that, he is in trouble.
2) John McCain – McCain has to try to stop his bleeding support level. He needs to prove that he is a strong Conservative, and that his age will not effect a McCain Presidency.
3) Mitt Romney– Mitt’s biggest challenge is going to be proving that he can play ball with the better known McCain and Giuliani. He also has to strike hard at criticism about his past positions. Other than that, just don’t do anything stupid. Romney has strong positions, and is comfortable in debates and in public. As long as he sticks to character, he can win.
Thats the rundown on the debate. I’ll have more Thursday, both pre- and post- debate. I’ll also be keeping an eye on other sites and news networks to see what the consensus is on the winner(s). Please feel free to add your own analysis in the comments section.