This is really interesting. Grassley was quoted in today’s Des Moines Register talking about the 08 race. The good bits:
â€œOnly one stands out right now, John McCain because of his efforts to pursue it,â€ Grassley, R-Ia., said Friday during the taping of Iowa Public Televisionâ€™s â€œIowa Press.â€ â€œAnother person who would stand out would be (former New York City Mayor Rudolph) Giuliani, if he were taking on a campaign mode.â€
Grassley then makes a bit of a pitch for McCain:
â€œHeâ€™s coming into Iowa strong,â€ Grassley said. â€œI believe the thing that would appeal the most to Iowa Republicans is his fight for openness in the appropriation and budgeting process in Washington D.C.â€
â€œJohn McCainâ€™s got to prove that he can get a broad base of Republican support, particularly among conservatives. If he can show that he may be anointed but today he is not anointed,â€ Grassley said. â€œAnd I donâ€™t think he is on the process of being anointed yet.â€
About Giuliani he says: â€œYou have to be very strong social conservative to do well in the Iowa caucuses.”
But who was not talked about? Mitt Romney. That’s extraordinary, given Romney’s frenetic level of activity in Iowa. Of course, Grassley knows McCain from the Senate.
In some sense 2008 may come down to a fight between the Senate/Congressional party — which McCain sometimes is the de facto leader of — and the state/gubernatorial party — which Romney is currently the leader of.
But in the early primary and caucus states, who will be the governors? In IA, it may yet be Nussle who would be indebted to Romney’s fundraising support. In NH, it’s a Dem. In SC, it will be Sanford, but he’ll probably be a McCain supporter, as he was in 2000. In MI, it is unclear what DeVos would do, given his Western Michigan links to the Yobs and Romney’s roots in Oakland County. It is also unclear that he will win. In AZ, McCain is fine. And I suspect that McCain gets Riley’s support in AL. So while Romney may be the leader of the governors, it is not clear that he would be the leader of the governors in the early states.
On the other hand, I have long thought that if Romney does poorly in the early states, he will not fold. He is building a fifty-state organization like McCain.