GIULIANI’S COLLAPSE….I suspect Josh Marshall speaks for many (including me) when he notes that now is an “appropriate moment to give thanks for something we can all be thankful for, even across our political divisions and support for contending candidates — that’s right, the collapsing campaign of Rudy Giuliani.”

In Iowa, where admittedly Rudy hasn’t made much of a run at it, he now appears on track to come in last place among the major candidates. And, to be clear, I’m here defining ‘major’ rather generously as including Ron Paul. In other words, sixth place.

In New Hampshire, Rudy is similarly dropping like a stone. He may still come in third ahead of Mike Huckabee, though they now seem to be roughly tied there.

Nationally, Rudy appears either tied with Huckabee or in a three or four way tie with Huckabee, Romney and McCain, depending on which of the very most recent polls you look at. And expect that number (to borrow the Army aphorism) not to survive first contact with his drubbing in Iowa and New Hampshire…. Even in his ‘firewall’ states like Florida, Rudy’s lead is rapidly diminishing.

This comes on the heels of polling evidence that shows the more Republicans voters see Giuliani, the less they like him.

I realize the Giuliani campaign claims to have a plan — premised almost exclusively on big victories in Florida and the Feb. 5 states — but it seems pretty far fetched. The thing about losing repeatedly is that one starts to look like a loser. That’s particularly true if an assumed frontrunner can’t actually win when people start voting — exacerbated if he finishes behind Ron Paul.

At this point, the former mayor’s campaign apparently doesn’t see the stars aligning exactly they way they’d hoped, so they’re moving on to Plan B: more war talk (via Greg Sargent).

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.