Rudy Giuliani is a man you like less the more you get to know him. This special quality was on display the 2008 Republican Presidential primaries, as his poll numbers dropped in states he spent more time in. His dismal collapse from frontrunner to has-been seemed to suggest we'd seen the last of candidate Rudy.
Surprise, surprise. The 2012 primary already has a circus-like quality. Newt Gingrich, whose mammoth unpopularity helped save Bill Clinton, is raring to run. Michele Bachmann wants to make sure Sarah Palin isn't the only female face of the Tea Party. Of course, there's Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Ron Paul -- those guys who haven't stopped running for the past four years. Then there's Donald Trump. One would think that was enough.
Now, the one New Yorker with an ego bigger than Trump is trying to get himself drafted. "America's Mayor," whose own city was already sick of him when tried to grab a third term out of the ashes of 9/11, has returned to the scene. The man who once proposed his criminal crony Bernard Kerik for the head of the Department of Homeland Security now challenges President Obama's ability to defend American interests. The man who has turned his views on immigration, gay rights and gun control inside-out now accuses the President of indecisiveness. And the man who dropped out of the New Hampshire primary to avoid embarrassing results -- only to be embarrassed by the steady collapse of his presidential campaign -- now has emerged in New Hampshire.
If Rudy can make a run, then maybe South Carolina's disgraced former governor Mark Sanford should toss his hat back in the ring.
That's not, by the way, a slight at Rudy's personal problems… legion as they are. His infidelity is nothing compared to his potential GOP rivals, and his shameful betrayal of his then-wife Donna Hanover is of less importance to me than the betrayal of the city he claims to love.
That's right: Mayor Rudy Giuliani is a traitor against New York City.
Sure, he used to run radio ads about being the only Yankee fan to grow up in Brooklyn. True, he once picked fights against the United Nations diplomatic corps on behalf of his city. And yes, his performance in the days following the World Trade Center attacks made all New Yorkers proud.
But then he got up before the Republican Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota, and in a clowning voice, mocked the very idea of being "cosmopolitan."
Rather than face his own party and make a case that Republicans can embrace different lifestyles, backgrounds, languages and choices, he continued the right-ward course correction that had cartoonishly characterized his campaign. After months of breaking away from values he had once held dear as mayor of our city, he culminated this transformation by speaking in favor of Sarah Palin and against "cosmopolitan" values.
Of course, as Mayor, Giuliani had been proud to call New York "cosmopolitan." Cosmopolitan doesn't mean stuck-up or fashion-conscious or high-priced (though New York can be all those things as well). It means "belonging to the world" and being "free from local prejudices" -- values we should embrace and aspire to.
At the convention, Rudy may have turned his back on being worldly, but if he pursues this fool's errand in 2012, he'll soon find himself in a different world: Going door-to-door in the cold streets of New Hampshire, a New York Yankee in the Granite State… where his welcome will be as cool as the primary day weather.
Why is he doing this? Does he really believe he can claim a center-right portion of the Tea Party-infused Republican electorate? Can he not stand Donald Trump getting so much stage time? Or maybe it's another New Yorker toward whom he feels an inferiority complex: The man he helped succeed him as Mayor; who was able to get the third term Rudy never had; whose name is constantly hyped up as a presidential possibility while Rudy's is relegated to the dustbin of history. Maybe it's just Rudy's Bloomberg Complex.
If Rudy does run, it won't be long before he reveals the truth of the joke then-candidate Joe Biden made about him last cycle: That every sentence Giulani spoke was "Noun-Verb-9/11."
And when out gaffe-prone Vice President can make you the butt of a joke…maybe it's time you take yourself out of the game.
Justin Krebs is a political organizer and writer based in New York City. He is the founder of Living Liberally, a nationwide network of 250 local clubs that create social events around progressive politics, and author of "538 Ways to Live, Work and Play Like a Liberal."