John McCain and Rudy Giuliani have been leading all of the Republican primary polls, but nobody seems to consider either one to be a conservative’s conservative. From McCain’s eagerness to work with people like Russ Feingold and Teddy Kennedy to Giuliani’s well-known positions on issues like abortion and gun control (and disposable wives), these guys do not exactly represent the “Republican wing of the Republican Party.” But they lead the polls because of name recognition and, no doubt, perceived electability.

At least, until now: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16829011/site/newsweek/

You have to wonder what use the average Republican primary voter — who no doubt considers himself or herself well to the right of both McCain and Giuliani on many issues — will have for these guys if they no longer are considered good bets in a general election. If these candidates don’t have the electability card to play, what do they bring to the table to appeal to the caucus-goer or voter who cares enough to actually show up in January or February 2008? The answer seems to be: Not much.

This would appear to leave the door wide open for candidates who have far better established right-wing track records. That’s right, all REAL conservatives, please step forward (not so fast, Mitt Romney — getting blown away by the top three Democrats can’t be impressing anyone). You get the feeling that guys like Sam Brownback, Mike Huckabee and yes, even Newt Gingrich, just love the fact that the “golden boys” are losing their luster. While McCain and Giuliani still have to be considered the front-runners, seeing them stumble can only give hope to the rest of the field.

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