The Return of Rudy
Several websites have picked up on the news that former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is returning to New Hampshire next week to headline a Republican fundraiser. His visit will lead to some unavoidable speculation about the possibility of another Giuliani presidential bid in 2012. As was true the first time around in 2008, the Granite State offers a logical starting point for a Giuliani candidacy. His dual focus on the economy and national security issues should (in theory) play well here, and like many New Hampshire voters, he is generally moderate on social issues.
Trying to do the same in the context of the social and religious conservatism of Iowa and South Carolina would be much more difficult for him. This was clearly Giuliani’s calculation in 2008, but it just never materialized for him in New Hampshire, and when conservatives elsewhere weren’t hammering him on a variety of issues, his own poorly run campaign was undercutting his candidacy in state after state.
So, I would be reasonably surprised to see Giuliani run again. For whatever center-right appeal he might hold for voters in the general election, the Republican primaries would still be a huge obstacle for him. Given how angry the conservative base of the party is at this point in the Obama presidency, it would likely be even harder for Giuliani to get much traction with primary voters this time. While a trip to New Hampshire is not necessarily a sign of continued presidential ambitions, the former (often provocative) mayor’s occasional presence in the state could at least make the coming months a bit more interesting and entertaining.
Note:  I'll be away from the website tomorrow, and back posting on Monday. -Dean

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