Rudy Giuliani Thinking About A 2012 Run? Why?

Rumors are floating that Rudy Giuliani is thinking about running for President again. All of America asks, Why?

The New York Post is once again renewing the rumors that former Mayor Rudy Giuliani is thinking seriously about running for President in 2012:

Confident that he’d have a chance to win, Rudy Giuliani is rounding up his top political advisers for a possible 2012 presidential run, sources tell Page Six.

Sources say the tough-talking former mayor “thinks the Republican race will be populated with far-right candidates like Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee, and there’s opportunity for a moderate candidate with a background in national security.”

Giuliani has even scheduled a trip to New Hampshire for next month to meet with constituents in the state that failed him in January 2008, when he placed fourth in the Republican presidential primary.

The obvious question is why Giuliani would even think about doing this. After all, three years ago he set a rather dubious record:

Rudy Giuliani spent $5.5 million on TV ads and a total of $49 million overall — and what did he get for that investment? Just one delegate.

That’s a new record for futility — topping the late John Connally — who spent $11 million for just one delegate in 1980.

And this was in an race that, in many early polls, Giuliani was the overwhelming favorite and in a political environment that seemingly favored a more moderate Republican. The idea that he’d have a better shot this time around is simply absurd.

Of course, as the Post goes on to explain, Giuliani may have other motives:

Even Rudy loyalists think it’s a bad idea. “They think this is crazy,” a source said. “They realize how long the odds are, but they are standing by.”

Some insiders say it’s a way for Giuliani to stay relevant. “He’s not doing all these morning talk shows because he enjoys the conversation, it is because he wants to stay in the game,” one said.

“He has previously said he would not run again, but he wants us to think he will,” a different source said. “He’s not being talked about among the Republican contenders, and his ego can’t take that.”

Others say that Giuliani is positioning himself as a Republican nominee hopeful to leverage a cabinet position, or even a nomination for vice president because his previously lucrative business has slowed.

“Nobody is paying $100,000 to hear the same warmed-over 9/11 speech. His speaking fees have dropped as well as his consulting fees,” a source told us.

In other words, Giuiliani is playing the same game that Newt Gingrich and others have played so well in years past. Keep your name in the papers and on the interwebs by letting people think you’re thinking about running for President. Then, let the checks role in. Nice work if you can get it, I suppose, but hardly reason to take a person seriously.

Update: Joe Gandelman at The Moderate Voice sums up the Giuliani situation quite nicely:

Like Mario Cuomo and John McCain, Guliani had a moment in history when he was defined by forces that were not in his PR department. He had a golden political ring right in front of his face.

And all he had to do was to grab for it.

Cuomo was perceived as Presidential material but dithered forever until he became known as a kind of political Hamlet and his moment was gone. (There is speculation that if his son Andrew gets the same moment one day he will not be Mr. Dither.)

John McCain was a national hero not trusted by fierce partisans on each side but someone who truly excited college students, independent voters, moderates and centrists but proved to be someone willing to do anything (like nominate Sarah Palin who would not be someone who the 2000 McCain would nominate — with little vetting) or say anything (turning far right and becoming known as the single biggest obstacle to Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’s Repeal, doing an about face on his attitude about immigration reform, and showing the only real clear example of sour grapes we have seen from a Presidential campaign loser in decades).

Guiliani was America’s mayor after 911 and could have remained a loyal, partisan Republican but in several instances his rheotic was so over the top that he could have been mistaken for a fill in on the Michael Savage radio show. He ended his Presidential run being perceived by many independents and Democrats who supported him as being just one more ambitious pol who would say anything to try and win elected power.

Like McCain he is now a former darling of independent voters, moderates and centrists. Like McCain, when faced with the need to gain votes anywhere he could he essentially slapped his former national constituency in the face.

And, like McCain, it is unlikely he will ever fill the Oval Office again (but don’t tell him that since he’s apparently not listening). Or ever have the credibility he once had with voters who admired him for being someone who transcended partisan and talk show polemics.

Guilani and McCain are reportedly good friends, and it’s fitting:

Perhaps they could go on a speaking tour together, and maybe Mario will join them not withstanding the partisan difference.

FILED UNDER: 2012 Election, Environment, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. sam says:

    Ah, too bad it’s all bullshit, I would so love to see the opponents’ ads featuring this and Rudy’s push-back (push-up?)

  2. Giuliani hasn’t gotten 3 years better, just three years older.

  3. Rudy Giuliani Thinking About A 2012 Run? Why?

    Because 9/11, no doubt.

  4. Dave Schuler says:

    Because it’s something you never lose the taste for.

  5. UberMitch says:

    opportunity for a moderate candidate with a background in national security.”

    Wait, since when does Giuliani have a background in national security?

  6. anjin-san says:

    Dude, where were you on 9.11? In case you have forgotten, on 9.11, Rudy stood tall. 9.11 was a defining moment… and so on, and so on.

  7. Nightrider says:

    @UberMitch: I think the article meant to say there is room for a “moderate candidate with unnatural insecurity.”

  8. sam says:

    Dave Weigel wins: Rudy Giuliani Has A One in 911 Chance of Being Elected President