For a long time, people have been talking about an "anti-McCain" candidate emerging to stop John McCain from taking the nomination. Both Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney have been benefiting from this. From where I sit in Washington, this is most clear in the way that the pay-to-play lobbyists are signing up to Mitt Romney. This has primarily been a Washington movement that does not appear to be mirrored at the grassroots with anything like the same level of intensity.
Now, at the grassroots, there is an emerging "Stop Rudy" movement. This is primarily social conservatives. Last week, we saw both Catholic and Southern Baptist leaders come out against a Rudy candidacy in a strong way. Now, we have a "Giuliani Life Long Liberal" packet floating around, with a differently named website, created by former Giuliani Conservative Party opponent George Marlin. There is also a conservative "Declaration of Independence" of conservatives who pledge not to support Giuliani under any circumstances.
Who does this benefit? The first, most superficial hunch is that Romney is the winner because there are both anti-McCain and anti-Rudy operations. However, Marlin says that he could support McCain:
Marlin said he will “sit out” the 2008 election if Giuliani ends up the nominee. He said he isn’t thrilled with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s “flip-flopping,” but could “probably live with,” U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Az.
The point here is that different people are behind these two movements. The insiders hate McCain, and many in the conservative grassroots won’t stomach Rudy (and, perhaps Romney).
I think that in both of these cases, though, these people are prime targets for the Fred Thompson campaign. I’m still thinking about Thompson but will have something up soon about it.