Man, oh, man does the 2012 Republican Presidential nomination race look like it’ll be interesting.
In a race shaping up as likely to be dominated in news cycles by the question “What will Sarah Palin do?,” it became clear that this race will be the journalists’ (and bloggers’) dream come true with the news that Rep. Michele Bachmann may throw her straight jacket into the ring.
That would mean two big Tea Party movement favorites battling some other big GOP names including former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and possibly former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. David Letterman, Jon Stewart, Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno are reportedly salivating.
But is there a Republican who can slip in there and offer an alternative? A Republican national figure? Someone highly respected by that nebulous, ever-changing but vital-to-win segment of the American polity called “the center?”
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.
You can understand why Guiliani might think this.
After all, last time he ran he started out as the front runner in polls and did so well when he made sure he entered all of the primaries. OOPS! He didn’t enter a lot of them.
Well, he put his money into Florida and wiped the others there. OOPS! He tanked after spending tons of money and time there.
UPDATE: Giuliani in an interview with The Hill denies that he is gearing up to run in 2012:
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) denied on Friday reports he is rounding up staff to explore a run for president in 2012.
Giuliani, the former 2008 presidential candidate, denied a New York Post report that he was gearing up to run again in 2012.
“I haven’t done that. I haven’t rounded up my political advisers,” Giuliani said on MSNBC.
He said that a coming trip to New Hampshire, a key primary state, came without political intentions, too.
“I go to New Hampshire a lot; I don’t have anything scheduled right now,” he said.
NOTE: The rest of this is the original post before The Hill piece. A lot of it is still valid about Giuliani, Mario Cuomo and John McCain so we are running it as it first appeared here.
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.”
That could be correct, but there most assuredly is a more of market for conservative Republican political product in GOP primaries. Much more than for a Republican moderate. Republican moderates are now to the Republican party what pay telephones are to the telephone business.
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.
And are his friends flocking to sign up, figuring that this means they are assured dream jobs in a Guiliani White House? Are they already looking into new schools in the DC area where they can enroll their kids? Apparently not:
The problem is that 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
Hey, that makes sense.
If your business slows, then look for a fall back job that might be a step or two down — like Vice President.
It sure beats looking for a gig doing Hair Club for Men infomercials. Guiliani could get that gig and Romney couldn’t.
The serious reality about Rudy Guiliani is this:
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 almost 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. McCain has now seemingly shifted again on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell but damage to his image and his more profound credibility problem with many voters remains.) to win votes.
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:
They both will have the same fate: a once-shining legacy damaged not by their foes but by their own flawed political choices.
UPDATE II: Doug Mataconis:
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.
ALSO: On his denial to MSNBC. If you follow politics you’ll either discount the denial or take it with a grain of salt. Reporters and columnists who get salaries and work for companies in jobs that others would kill to have do not make up quotes. So The New York Post (which has good GOP sources) didn’t just run the item to fill some space. They heard from someone and talked to some people who indicated the former Mayor is pondering another bid.