I’m told by two reliable sources that Rudy Giuliani intends to run for the GOP nomination for president in 2012. He may throw his hat in the ring soon.
Rudy’s theory of the race: In the fall of 2007, he decided he couldn’t compete with both Mitt Romney and John McCain in New Hampshire, and disastrously decided to try to pull back there and pitch his tent in Florida. This year, he’ll commit everything to New Hampshire, where he thinks he has a good shot at beating Romney—whom he criticized there earlier this week. He then thinks he can beat whichever more socially conservative candidate(s) is left by winning what are still likely to be winner-take-all primaries in big states like California, New York, and New Jersey.
Rudy’s message: I’m tough enough to put our fiscal house in order and to protect us from enemies abroad. The U.S. in 2012 is in bad shape—like New York in 1993. The budget crisis is as severe—and seemingly intractable—as the crime/welfare crisis was in New York then. Rudy dealt with that when people said it couldn’t be done. He’ll deal with this.
Isn’t his abysmal 2008 campaign a disqualifier? Rudy’s answer: Consider the New York parallel. Rudy lost to David Dinkins in 1989, making several unforced errors and running without a focused message. In 1993, as the streets of New York plunged into crisis, Rudy ran a disciplined campaign pledging to turn the city around. He won, and in a disciplined first term, he governed successfully.
The Tea Party did a good job of putting social issues on the backburner last year, but of course, it remains to be seen if this time around, Rudy can survive the primary process in the conservative heartland. But if he does, Rudy survived the reactionary liberal proto-Racer New York press to beat Dinkens in ’93, and saved Manhattan from becoming Detroit on the Hudson, both of which may make him uniquely suited for next year.