We've long known that Sam Brownback was not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but his possible endorsement of Rudy Giuliani would be one of the dumbest things I can imagine him doing.
Haven't seen anything on this yet at Cyclone Conservatives or The Real Sporer blog, but the gang at TPM has been all over the story:
Brownback said a few days ago that he has become “much more comfortable” with Rudy after getting assurances from Giuliani that he would appoint only “strict constructionist” judges:
Brownback's former political director in Iowa says Sam may endorse Rudy as the candidate with the best chance to beat Hillary:
The Family Research Council is very upset and says conservatives will desert the GOP if Rudy is the nominee:
Endorsing Giuliani would be a really dumb move by Brownback. He campaigned as the guy with consistently pro-life views, and had support from many social conservatives, especially Catholics. To turn around and back Rudy is a slap in the face to them.
Presumably Brownback is angling for a position in Rudy's cabinet, or even the VP slot, by toying with an early endorsement. But let's get real. Are GOP primary voters going to nominate Rudy after seeing the ads his rivals will run against him? I know Fox News is in the tank for Rudy (he and Roger Ailes go way back), but they won't be able to save him from the ads showing Rudy calling himself the “liberal” mayor of New York, ads showing Rudy in drag, ads showing Rudy talk about being pro-choice and supporting state funding for abortion.
Not to mention the fact that Bernard Kerik is about to go on trial on federal charges–this is the guy Rudy pushed Bush to appoint as Homeland Security secretary. Great judgment there!
And who will be the first of Rudy's opponents to run this ad? When Rudy was appointed to the Iraq Study Group (also known as the Baker-Hamilton commission), he never bothered to show up for a single meeting. He was too busy giving $100,000 speeches to cash in on his 9/11 celebrity.
Romney, McCain and Thompson are not just going to hand this nomination to Rudy. They will fight him for it.
And even if Rudy could get the nomination, I think he is far from the GOP's best candidate against Hillary. As I have written, Mike Huckabee is the one we need to be worried about–especially if Hillary is our nominee.
There are two obvious plays for Brownback. The safest one is not to endorse at all. The risky one would be to endorse Huckabee. He's a longshot who lacks money and faces the wrath of the Club for Growth. But at least endorsing him would show some principle and would upset social conservatives less than endorsing Rudy.
We'll see what Brownback is made of.