Bill Kristol writes that he's been told by two reliable sources that former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani intends to run for president again in 2012. This jives with what his longtime friend Rep. Pete King, R-NY, said at a dinner I attended last month. At the time, I explained why I thought he didn't stand much of a chance.
Reading Kristol's explanation of the rationale of the Rudy camp, this part jumped out at me:
Isn't his abysmal 2008 campaign a disqualifier? Rudy's answer: Consider the New York parallel. Rudy lost to David Dinkins in 1989, making several unforced errors and running without a focused message. In 1993, as the streets of New York plunged into crisis, Rudy ran a disciplined campaign pledging to turn the city around. He won, and in a disciplined first term, he governed successfully.
This analogy doesn't hold at all. In 1989, Giuliani lost to Dinkins by a narrow 50 percent to 48 percent margin, making it the closest mayoral race in New York City history. It also was the best performance by a Republican candidate since 1965. When 1993 rolled around after four years of disastrous leadership by Dinkins, it was easy to see a potential path to victory for Giuliani. But in 2008, Giuliani didn't even come close -- he spent $59 million only won a single delegate, and that's if we're being charitable. As ABC's Jake Tapper has noted, “There's a bit of lore that in 2008 Rudy spent $59 million on one delegate. But that's not true. Rudy won one delegate in Nevada. But GOP delegates in Nevada are not elected on a binding basis. And according to the chair of the Nevada GOP, that delegate voted for John McCain. So Rudy spent $59 million on no delegates.”
It's unclear whether Rudy's associates are floating trial balloons to gauge reaction to a possible White House bid, or if he's really serious about running. But either way, his 1993 comeback isn't a relevant model.