The Giuliani Campaign

Writing at the Washington Examiner, Byron York reports that “Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, whose presidential campaign fizzled in 2008, is leaning toward another race for the White House, according to a close associate.

That would be Representative Peter King (R-NY), who says if Giuliani “were to make the decision today, he would run.”

King says Giuliani has learned from his tactical mistakes in the 2008 campaign, and York suggests a surprisingly strong performance in a poll of New Hampshire Republicans could “encourage the former mayor.”  The Boston Globe notes that Giuliani is preparing to make his third visit to New Hampshire this year, albeit not explicitly for gearing up a presidential run.

York wonders if shifting voter priorities might make Giuliani’s legendary performance during the 9/11 attacks less important, with economic issues foremost in the public mind.  The passage of time would also tend to dull the luster of “America’s Mayor,” especially since he’s been largely absent from the national stage since his 2008 campaign fizzled.  “There was a lot of glamour that attached to him in ’08 as America’s Mayor,” political scientist Dante Scala told the Globe.  “That’s a decade old.  It will be a bit tougher to run now.”

On the other hand, the leadership qualities Giuliani displayed have a timeless appeal, no matter what the issues of the day might be.  There also is also a strong appetite for a tough-talking candidate among Republican voters.  Giuliani might have been toast in 2008, but at least he wasn’t milquetoast.

Like virtually every other potential presidential candidate at this point, Giuliani’s people say he’s looking at the current crop of candidates and trying to decide if he can get behind any of them.  “If he saw someone who he felt very definitely was likable enough and strong enough and tough enough to take on the current president then he would get behind that person,’’ his 2008 New Hampshire chairman, Wayne Semprini, explained to the Globe.  “Whether he’s seen that person yet, I don’t know. . . . As of now, he’s still weighing it.’’  He may yet see a Giuliani-shaped hole in the 2012 field.

He’s currently on a speaking tour in Australia, where he told the UK Daily Telegraph he’ll “probably decide [on a presidential run] at some point during the summer.  I don’t know the answer.  I am thinking about it, thinking about all the relevant information you need to make a decision.”

Giuliani had some tough criticism for President Obama’s Libya policy in Sydney, calling it “an example of no vision.”  If he wants to run for President, he should try offering Republican voters his comprehensive vision for restoring America from Obama’s domestic policies.  This will be a race decided by the power of the candidate’s total critique of a collapsing system.  If Giuliani has one to offer, I think he will find many voters interested in hearing it.  2008 demonstrated that “America’s Mayor” can very quickly draw – and lose – an audience.  If he learned the right lessons from that experience, he could become a real contender in 2012.