In the last 45 years, there has been one charismatic Republican presidential nominee. His name was Ronald Reagan. All of the Republican candidates aspire to that level of appeal. One of Reagan’s greatest gifts was his ability to put a human face on capitalism and free markets. None of the current candidates can do that. So they end up with mediocre free-market rhetoric that is unconvincing. They also look mediocre on television. In yesterday’s debate, Romney had a few good moments but his jokes were rehearsed and once he got them off, he looked uncomfortable. Giuliani is the only one who looks comfortable on his feet and semi-normal in front of a camera. That’s going to give him a huge edge down the campaign road. Fred Thompson, the candidate that is supposed to be Reaganesque (former actor, lots of character in a craggy face), looked extremely unhappy through the whole affair and this is his first debate. Wait till he’s really bored. I will be very surprised if his candidacy come alive.
Giuliani’s stand on "social issues" will turn off a significant part of the Republican base. But if Hillary gets the nomination (which I think she will), her presence on the other side will make up for that. I don’t think she can beat Giuliani given the current state of the world. Over the next 18 months, the economy could tank or there could be another terrorist attack on the US or Bin Laden could be caught (or his body discovered) or things in Iraq could get even worse or they could improve. The only event on that list that is both likely and that could help Hillary a lot is the economy tanking. Without that, I say he wins.