Rudy Resurrected?
If you haven’t had a chance yet to read Fergus Cullen’s new column in the Union Leader, I encourage you to check it out. Cullen nails former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who was back in the Granite State recently, for his failure to engage in genuine retail politics here during the 2008 presidential campaign. While I would normally tweak Cullen over his displeasure that Giuliani repeatedly failed to recognize him at campaign events, it is a fair point that a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination should be able to recognize the chair of the New Hampshire Republican Party.
The column does a nice job of characterizing the problem that arises when candidates mistake the retail trappings of national celebrity for a politically viable campaign built on grassroots organization. Giuliani is someone who generates tremendous public interest wherever he goes, but that is not necessarily the same as winning over primary voters one retail event at a time. I see this phenomenon with some candidates every four years, and it has only gotten worse as digital technology and cable news have facilitated the rise of this sort of political celebrity and the nationalized campaigns that develop (in the ether) around them. Giuliani’s 2008 campaign was a textbook example of why this won’t work.

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