According to the New York Times' Danny Hakim, Rudolph Giuliani has decided not to run for governor of New York next year, despite publicly flirting with the idea for months. Is a shoe somewhere about to drop?
UPDATE: It was No. 3! According to the New York Daily News, Giuliani intends to run for Kirsten Gillibrand's Senate seat next year. That news comes just hours after Hakim's report that he'd opted not to run for governor. Hakim is probably pretty pissed right now.
It certainly seems strange that Giuliani would bow out now; he's been open about his interest in the job since August, and the path to nomination appears to be clear if he wants it. Plus, Bernard Kerik just pleaded guilty, eliminating the likelihood that unpleasant and distracting disclosures about their relationship would come out at trial. Here's some baseless speculation on why he bailed:
- Governing New York would be a shit-show, and could only be a liability for a 2012 presidential run. This is undoubtedly true—who wants to wrestle with a Democratic legislature for two years and preside over devastating budget cuts? But Giuliani knew this back in August, when he launched the whisper campaign, so it doesn't explain the sudden withdrawal. And the upsides in positioning himself for a run against Obama in 2012 are considerable: His governorship would be presented against the backdrop of a massive terror trial in New York City that he could nitpick on a daily basis as a shameful spectacle and hang around Obama's neck.
- He doesn't think he can beat Andrew Cuomo. According to Pollster.com, the most recent public poll around the time Giuliani started nosing around the governor's desk had Cuomo—New York's popular attorney general, who is likely to challenge Gov. David Paterson for the Democratic nomination—beating him by five points with 11 percent undecided, which amounts to a toss-up this far out from election day. A poll taken last week had Cuomo up by 12 points, with 6 percent undecided. And while 49% of New Yorkers say they want Cuomo to run for governor, only 32% say they want to see Giuliani's name on the ballot. Those are much less hospitable numbers, but still close to meaningless a year from election day. And Giuliani has amply demonstrated that he's a cruel dick who delights in destroying people, so it's certainly not like him to shrink from a chance to rough up Cuomo.
- He wants to run for Senate instead. The Senate was Giuliani's initial job choice after mayor, before God gave him prostate cancer and he had to bow out. And Sen. Kristen Gillibrand, who was appointed by Paterson to replace Hillary Clinton, is a weak incumbent with just a two-year track record to tout. Giuliani's close adviser Tony Carbonetti ruled out a Senate bid back in September, but maybe he's changed his mind. He's crushing Gillibrand in the polls right now, and the Senate could be a better place from which to prepare a 2012 presidential bid, lacking as it does all the unpleasantness associated with actually governing a nearly ungovernable state.
- He would prefer to secretly make millions of dollars from former cocaine smugglers and Arab dictators through Giuliani Partners, his consulting firm. Sounds like a plan, although most of those clients only pay those millions of dollars as a bet that one day he'll be governor of New York, or president.
- He doesn't want to run for president in 2012 against Sarah Palin, so why bother? He lost his first bid for the Replublican nomination for a reason: He's a gay-loving abortionist whose name ends in a vowel and whose children hate him. The ever-diminishing number of angry people who describe themselves as Republicans are going to flock to Palin over him. And maybe he's betting that terrorism—the only thing that he can flog on his resume, despite the fact that his role in the 9/11 attacks is more properly described as disaster management than anything to do with combating terrorism—won't be as ripe an issue on which to base a campaign in 2012.
- He's about to be indicted. Please?