The Fringe, Part 5
Presidential candidates you've never heard of.
Updated Friday, Oct. 26, 2007, at 6:05 PM
Mike Huckabee on Mitt Romney, implicitly: He "has more positions on abortion than Elvis has waist sizes."
Huckabee on baby boomers and Medicare: "Just wait till old aging hippies find out they can get free drugs from the government."
The emcee on Al Gore: He couldn't make it, as he's busy investigating the "global threat of the Loch Ness monster."
Rudy Giuliani on Hillary: "It takes a family, not a village, to raise a child."
Of course, not everyone was a hater. Bill Bennett snagged the award for most heaping praise, describing our leader in Iraq as "not Leonidas of the 300 Spartans, but Petraeus of the 300 million Americans."
Girl talk: If the GOP debate in Michigan earlier this month was the Fred Thompson debate, last night's was the Hillary debate. (Click here for a transcript.) No matter what the topic, talk kept reverting to the Democratic senator from New York. Just take a look at the number of Hillary references, compared with other mentions:
Hillary Clinton: 44
Mitt Romney: 17
Rudy Giuliani: 15
Ronald Reagan: 11
Attacks on Hillary certainly give her a boost over her Democratic opponents. (Not that she needs it.) They feed her "inevitability" narrative, for one thing, and they also give the impression that a Clinton presidency is, to borrow Thompson's phrase from last night, the GOP's "worst nightmare." You don't hear them spinning apocalyptic tales about an Obama administration.
But I wonder if these attacks are going to ultimately hurt the Republican candidates. They can go after Hillary all they want in front of a friendly audience. But what happens during a general election debate? Clinton famously used Rick Lazio's brash style against him in the 2000 Senate race, calling him a bully for raising his voice and pointing his finger during debates. She could always take a similar tack if faced with a tough-talking Giuliani in the general election (against Romney, maybe not so much). Of course, the strategy could come off as cheap, and Republicans would no doubt accuse her of playing the girl card.
Christopher Beam is a writer living in Beijing.
Photographs of: Cap Fendig courtesy Cap Fendig; screenshot of The Huffington Post.