11:45 am Oct. 11, 2012
What about Rudy?
With no strong Republican mayoral candidate in the field right now, Cindy Adams floated the idea of recycling Rudy Giuliani this morning, with a bunch of breezy assertions about how New York City "loved" him and how he too "loved" the city.
Both of which are debatable.
During his ill-fated presidential run, Giuliani often referred to New York City as a liberal heathen that had to be tamed, in keeping with the predominant view of Republican primary voters, rather than citing it as an example of a productive relationship between Republican philosophies and Democratic institutions.
And most political figures have scoffed at the idea of Giuliani running for office again, sensing his decision to opt out of the 2010 governor's race, announced in a hotel basement right before the holidays, was really the end of his electoral career, even though he flirted with some early primary states last year.
Some were openly hostile to the idea.
"We’d prefer not to feed the machine on the possibility of a Rudy candidacy," a spokesman for the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, Al O'Leary, told me, before referring me to his boss's 2008 comment about Giuliani, when the former mayor was still running for president.
"The inability to keep veteran cops on the job or to recruit adequate numbers of new ones can be traced directly back to the Giuliani mayoralty," the PBA president Pat Lynch said at the time. "While the city was rolling in money, the Giuliani administration cried future poverty and stuck New York City police officers with three and a half years without a raise. Giuliani’s ‘zeroes for heroes’ contracts held police pay stagnant while all the other local departments in the metro area were getting modest but steady raises. Today, there are simply not enough NYPD police officers to keep this city safe."
Republican consultant Gerry O'Brien pointed out another problem. A Giuliani 2013 candidacy, he said, would require one more massive transformation for a man who already tried one on the national stage.
"Coming back to run for mayor would mean abandoning the rightward tilt he's taken since 2000," O'Brien wrote. "Not going to happen. Besides, no matter how successful he might be, another term or two as mayor now would likely pale in comparison to his first stint at Gracie Mansion."
Vince Tabone, a Republican operative and former Giuliani administration employee told me, "I fear this is just a teaser and unlikely to happen."
Tabone, it should be noted, has direct ties to another possible mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis.
"Thankfully, Cindy has one thing wrong in her column. It is not truly a wide open field," he said, referring to Catsimatidis and unnamed "Republicans and Democrats of note, banging down the GOP's door" to run on their line. (That might be overstating it.)
There's another problem too: Who exactly would work on a longshot bid to re-elect the former mayor? Giuliani's presidential campaign proved that leading in national polls, which usually measures name recognition more than anything, is ultimately hollow without a campaign or field operation to back it up.
The Republican leader of the New York City Council, Jimmy Oddo of Staten Island, which is home to a good many potential Giuliani voters, told me, he "hadn't heard that one. It's been so long since we had a Republican mayor."
One Republican operative was more cautious when asked for a comment about the whole notion: "Can that person use the words 'crack' and 'Cindy' in the same sentence?"