Thursday, January 10, 2008

More Bad News for Rudy

Far and away the most amazing implosion of this year's campaign has to be that of Rudy Giuliani, who has decided to pull out of the Michigan Primary. Rudy's retooled campaign was supposed to bank on doing well in the big states where media is expensive and retail politicking was de rigueur. Theoretically speaking, Michigan should be one of those states.

Rudy's biggest mistake was abandoning New Hampshire. Giuliani bombed in Iowa spectacularly. As cliche as it sounds Rudy was simply to New York to get by in the Midwest. I recall one account of Hizzoner actually trying to talk crop rotation strategies (or something of that nature) to a farmer who was extremely underwhelmed. That should have told him to pull up stakes and head to New England.

The problem is that New Hampshire is a retail politics state. Assholes don't do well when it comes to retail politics, and Rudy Giuliani is a colossal asshole.

He had the votes and the people who wanted to vote for him -- all he had to do was put a smile on his face, laugh at a few bad jokes, and nod a few times while shaking hands ... and he couldn't do it. He's been lost in the shuffle of the excitement of the primaries and won't be back in the news until February 5th January 29th. In the meantime, all of his GOP opponents have been sucking in the earned media oxygen. He may be leading in the national primary, but every state that holds a primary has that Rudy subsequently abandons in turn leaves him.

Why should all of this matter? Isn't this just another case of the American electoral system weeding out the unfit? Possibly, but Giuliani had the most to lose of anyone running for president this year -- I would argue even more than Hillary Clinton does -- and watching him fall is like watching the birth of a bed time story parents tell their kids abut the nature of Hubris. Rudy could have lived out the rest of his days as "America's Mayor," bringing six figures per speech, and advising Presidents (both Democratic and Republican). But after this election Rudy may just be known as the guy who blew his chance at the Presidency.

Then again, Rudy's Florida Firewall gambit just might work:

The good news for Mr. Giuliani is that, with McCain’s win Tuesday, the Republican field remains a morass of flawed candidates, which means that by the time Super Tuesday rolls around, he could conceivably find himself in a position to compete for the nomination, after all. It’s not a very promising strategy, however. “The more impossible you tell me something is, the more likely I am to do it,” I heard Mr. Giuliani boast to an audience this week. Maybe that means he’s about to shock us all. Or maybe it means that running a coherent campaign was just too possible a feat to interest him.

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