Saturday, January 26, 2008

The End of Brand Rudy

Gail Collins seems to think so.

Tuesday’s Florida primary is supposed to be the Giuliani firewall, his explanation for why he kept coming in third or fourth or fifth everywhere else. Of course he didn’t get any votes in Michigan! How could anybody expect him to do well in Iowa? He had to campaign in Florida!


[H]is campaign has a definite pall over it, and his many hangers-on have to be wondering whether another pathetic showing here would damage the Rudy brand. Are corporations still going to pay him $100,000 for lecturing about leadership and 9/11 now that they know he’s done it for free on the pool deck at the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando and Paisano’s Gourmet Pizza in Port St. Lucie? (More critically from the minions’ perspective, are they still going to provide, as the speaking contract requires, “first-class travel expenses for up to five people?”)

Are they still going to hire his firm, Giuliani Partners, to do whatever it is Giuliani Partners is supposed to do, now that the glow of hanging out with America’s Mayor has faded? Before the terrorist attack, after all, Rudy Giuliani was just a lame-duck mayor with abysmal approval ratings, a tabloidy personal life and uncertain job prospects. What 9/11 has given, 1/29 could taketh away.

Perhaps that’s why he’s refrained from saying anything unpleasant about any of his competitors in Florida. Mitt Romney and John McCain are torn between trying to go in for the kill and their desire to avoid looking like Barack and Hillary. The best Rudy can do, on the other hand, might be to avoid looking like a future contender on “The Celebrity Apprentice.”

How could Rudy lose his status as "America's Major"? He is Rudy, his ambitions know no bounds. After the attacks, he made money by selling out “Brand Rudy” to various disreputable figures (the list of whom he has refused to release). He was appointed to the 9/11 Commission, only to not show so he could make money on a lucrative speaking circuit.

Will he still be able continue this way living off of 9/11? Probably not. In retrospect, the fact that Rudy was on the 9/11 Commission at all is more scandalous than the fact he didn't show. Rudy was dealt a pretty good hand, but he misplayed it in what can only be described as the stupidest presidential campaign in American history.

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