The Also-Rans: Rudy Giuliani

Apr 08 2008 Published by under Featured News

Well, it has been about two weeks since I contributed the first part of my comprehensive look at the Presidential candidates that have fallen by the wayside. I do apologize for the delay, but apparently I forgot about Opening Day in St. Louis, which was last week. I happened to score tickets to the game, which was rained out and thus meant I needed to go the following day (the horror, going to baseball games on consecutive days!) Also, at the same time, my birthday hit, and we had the celebration, bitches! Anyway, long story short, last week was spent on extracurricular activities and there was no time to write about the losers of the 2008 race. However, that time has passed and it is back to pointing out the shortcomings of another candidate who thought enough people would think he was White House material: Rudy Giuliani.

Giuliani, if you didn’t know, was the mayor of New York City on September 11, 2001. He was probably the most visible person in the aftermath of that tragic event, perhaps even more so than the President himself. He was able to parlay that visibility into all kinds of accolades in the following months, as he became Time Magazine’s Man of the Year and received an honorary knighthood from the Queen of England. Due to term limitations, he had to step down as mayor in 2002, but that didn’t keep him from the public spotlight. He was a key ally of President Bush during his re-election bid in 2004, and there was even grumblings that Bush would possibly have Dick Cheney step aside due to health concerns, and have Giuliani sep in as the VP. Of course, this was just a far-fetched rumor, but could you imagine the campaign stops for the Freedom Twins, especially down the stretch? If you think the 2004 Republican Convention was over-the-top, just imagine how much you would have heard the words ‘terrorism’ and ‘9/11′ on the trail with Bush and Giuliani? If you did a drinking game, you would have blacked out after 7 ½ minutes.

Anyway, Rudy was basically the Neo-Con golden boy and successor to Bush the moment Dubya won the 2004 election. The rumblings began soon after the election but real movement began in late 2005, when there were independent committees being formed to spread the world about Giuliani for President. By early 2006, Rudy himself was acknowledging that he was thinking about running if he was able to raise enough money. By late 2006, he had formed an exploratory committee to gauge interest and support, which is really a way of declaring your candidacy without ‘formally’ declaring your candidacy. He officially entered the race in February 2007 when he filed a statement of candidacy with the FEC. One of the first things Giuliani did after he announced his candidacy, besides remind America that he was mayor of NYC when 9/11 happened, was release his ‘Twelve Commitments to the American People’ which was really just a list of neo-con positions on tax-cutting and anti-terrorism plans.

After listing his plans and policies if he were to be President, Giuliani’s campaign made a weird, and ultimately fatal, decision. As Giuliani enjoyed frontrunner status all throughout 2007, due to his high visibility from the outset and the support he had within the party, his campaign decided it would be more worthwhile to focus on the larger states that had more delegates (such as New York, Florida and California) rather than the states who had the earlier primaries and caucuses (like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina). Therefore, Giuliani spent most of his time campaigning and building his base in the larger, but later, states rather than focus on the earlier states where all the other candidates were spending their time and money. While in theory, perhaps this strategy could work, especially with a crowded field where delegates are at a premium. But, if you aren’t where everyone else is, then the press is not covering you either. So, Giuliani saw his national lead in the polls dwindle and while his poll numbers in the early states were absolutely dismal. He tried to make a last ditch effort to save face in New Hampshire by firing out millions of dollars in ads there at the last minute, but the damage was done. It didn’t help that other candidates were reminding voters of issues in his personal life at this time, like his three marriages, his adultery and his relationship with Bernard Kerik, who was indicted for tax fraud in late 2007.

Well, by the time primary season started, Giuliani was placing all of his chickens in the Florida basket. He already knew Iowa, the first state, was a lost cause. He ended up finishing 6th in that state, pulling a pitiful 4% of the vote. He hoped to see at least a 3rd place finish in New Hampshire, as he spent more and more time there closer to the primary, but with no momentum to ride from Iowa, he ended up finishing 4th with 9% of the votes, well behind the leaders John McCain and Mitt Romney. With 3 weeks to go until the Florida primary, he decided to skip the remaining early states and focus all his efforts on Florida. Therefore, he barely registered in the primaries for South Carolina, Nevada and Michigan. The nail in the coffin was probably when just prior to the vote in Florida, Governor Charlie Crist decided to endorse John McCain instead of Giuliani, despite the promise that he would endorse Rudy from the outset. Instead of building momentum in Florida to use for Super Tuesday in states like California, New Jersey and New York, where he had focused his attentions earlier, he fell further and further behind McCain. After losing in Florida and seeing his support dwindle in the states he was relying on, Giuliani decided to call it a day and withdrew from the race on January 30th. When he withdrew, he endorsed McCain

Most of the highpoints (or at least memorable moments) in Giuliani’s quest to be President happened early on in his campaign. During an early debate in South Carolina, Rudy got into it with fellow candidate Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), who also happened to be the only GOP anti-war candidate. Basically, Paul gave a very lucid and well thought response to the moderator’s question on our Middle East policy and the whether we invited the attacks of 9/11. Rudy made sure to interrupt and throw out his 9/11 bluster which only made Paul seem more knowledgeable and schooled on foreign policy. Of course, it was lost on a GOP audience, but what can you do? Instead, they cheered on Giuliani for asking Paul to withdraw his comment (very American, don’t you think!) It should also be pointed out that Fox News hosted that debate, and it has been shown that Fox News had a very close relationship with Giuliani at that time and afterwards spun it positively in Giuliani’s favor.

Overall for his campaign, Giuliani was able to raise over $45 million and he spent about $30 million. So, as we can see, Giuliani ran a very dumb campaign, especially when you consider the financial perils that McCain was in at one point. In terms of major endorsements that Giuliani received, he was able to get Steve Forbes, former Presidential candidate Tommy Thompson. Texas Governor Rick Perry, evangelist Pat Robertson, and Oscar-winning actor Jon Voight. Giuliani gave us a prime example of how not to run a presidential campaign, so we can always thank him for that. We can also thank him for letting us know that, yes, he was indeed the mayor of New York when 9/11 happened.

One response so far