Monday, June 29, 2009

A Rudy Awakening

Rudy Giuliani, once, had all the political capital in the world at his disposal.

Giuliani, as mayor of New York in the wake of 9/11, was more popular in the city than the Statue of Liberty. The political world, it seemed, was his oyster.

He was another whose career aspirations were pumped up, albeit in an unseemly way, by the September 11 tragedy.

President George W. Bush rode that wave for a while, too, until he toppled off the surf board.

Giuliani, it says in the news, is contemplating a run for Governor of New York in 2010.

He's anything but a shoo-in.

When Rudy was at his political zenith, governor was small potatoes for him. Way too small. He had one destination and one destination only in mind: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C., as another Republican president to follow Bush.

Even after some of the very same firefighters and policemen that he bonded with in the aftermath of 9/11 grumbled that Rudy wasn't all that, a presidential bid was still on his radar.

It didn't matter that, as time went on, the grumblings began to grow and the whispers grew louder.

Rudy Giuliani, some of the city's finest said, is a fraud.



He wasn't at all, they said, the heroic mayor portrayed to the rest of the country. The way he treated some of the city employees, both before and after 9/11, left a lot to be desired.

But Rudy ran for president anyway, and he, for whatever reason, thought highly enough of his chances to all but ignore some of the early states' primaries and caucuses.

He focused on Florida, for example, and it backfired on him.

He didn't perform all that well in the debates and his policies didn't appeal to the Republican base. Or to anyone else, for that matter. At least, not enough to be much of a factor.

Giuliani, the people decided, wasn't all that, after all. The hard-working city employees in New York were right.

The run for the White House stalled in the first turn, and it looked as if Rudy had squandered away most, if not all, of the political capital he had accumulated--deserved or not--while Mayor of New York.

Now, they say, he wants to plunk his rear end in Albany and run the state for at least four years. After that, who knows?

It's anything but a sure bet that Giuliani will take the oath of office as New York governor on January 1, 2011, even though some of those surveys of mock elections has Rudy ahead of unpopular Democrat David Paterson, the incumbent.

This is because if Giuliani is matched up in these same fantasy polls against state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, then Rudy loses.

Giuliani disappointed me when he ran for president. I tried to put aside the cries of "fraud" from some of the citizens of New York when I assessed him. Even though he's part of my rival party, I was curious to see how he would fare on the national stage.

There just didn't seem to be enough "there" there, to borrow from an old quote.

Then it dawned on me, as it probably did on a lot of folks.

Since when does a guy go from being mayor to being president? Regardless of the size of the burg?

That's quite a leap--I don't care how you try to present it.

So will Giuliani indeed take a run at Paterson's seat in Albany?

"I'm thinking about it but I don't know if I'm at the point of seriously considering it. It's a little too early."

Translated: Hell, yeah.

That's my gut speaking.

Rudy Giuliani, it turns out, was nowhere near being presidential material in 2008. He may have enough to be a governor. But he might want to get the White House out of his head. Seldom does a candidate fare so poorly in a presidential bid, then is able to rebound and capture the nomination down the road.

Time to build that capital back up from its ruins, Rudy G.

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