An EFM reader has an interesting comment on my post regarding the Foley fallout. Regarding the idea that the event further advances my “Rudy v. Romney” thesis, he says:
While I agree that both Romney and Rudy have a track record of competence, even excellence, in their political and business careers, I think the Foley incident hurts Rudy. He’s been known for suffering from a lack of judgement in some of his appointments, the latest being his enthusiastic but flawed endorsement of a new department head for Homeland Security. His administration as mayor was plagued with similar less than stellar decisions on character.
And, with the fact that Foley’s scandal is sexual in nature, the American public, particularly the Republican party, might be hesitant to turn to someone who has had his own scandals, though of the heterosexual kind (i.e., two nasty divorces and a prominent mistress).
Romney is the only candidate to offer both excellence in office and a problem-free, even squeeky-clean, personal life.
These are good points, and I had forgotten about the Homeland Security debacle. But I think for Republicans the primary “takeaway” from the Foley scandal won’t be that sexual indiscretions can be costly but that, above all, we must respond appropriately and vigorously to problems in our own camp. For many voters, the primary failure in the Foley scandal (fairly or unfairly) is a perception of failed or negligent leadership. Leadership is much more Rudy’s strength than McCain’s.
When people think of McCain, I think one of the first words that comes to mind is “maverick.” With Rudy, it’s “leader.” With Governor Romney, the public will soon see that it’s “leader who shares our values.”