Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Thanks for playing, Rudy...

Last night's primary in Florida proved to be an enormous disappointment for former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Largely ignoring the earlier primaries and caucuses in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, the Brooklyn-born Republican had placed all his eggs in one basket.

He had hoped the large number of former-New Yorkers sunning themselves in the Sunshine State would back his campaign for the White House and propel him into first place in one decisive victory.

Instead, he trailed in a disappointing third - barely getting half the percentage points of front-runners John McCain and Mitt Romney.

It's a huge disappointment for Rudy - who hoped his 'hero' status and the legacy of 9/11 would put him in a good position to run the country. Instead, his risky campaign strategy has pretty much blown up in his face and effectively ended his run before it really began.

In all honesty, Rudy has nobody to blame but himself.

At the start of the presidential nominations, Rudy was the clear front runner for the Republican nomination. He stood head and shoulders above the other candidates and promised to win over a lot of moderate Democrats and swing voters as well. So where did it all go wrong?

I believe it was the arrogance of his campaign. The current front-runners, like Romney and McCain, have thrown their all into the battle and are as willing to shake hands and kiss babies in seemingly unimportant states like Iowa and Wyoming as they are the 'crunch states' like Florida.

Romney and McCain have come across as earnest campaigners - putting in the 'hard graft' to get to the White House. More importantly, they've established themselves as statesmen who value the support and opinions of all Americans - not just the ones who'll vote them into office.

Rudy Giuliani made the same mistake as Fred Thompson. He looked at the campaign in a more tactical way and decided to direct his resources into several key states. If he won those, McCain and Romney's minor victories would pale into insignificance.

However, in doing so he immediately changed the public's opinion of him. No longer was he the straight talking, no-nonsense Brooklyn boy who'd fix the country's problems no matter what the cost. He'd suddenly become a cynical political animal who clearly displayed his lack of regard for middle America.

His campaign disregarded the humble people of Iowa and New Hampshire and that made normal, middle-class Americans nervous.

The idea of the American democracy is that every citizen has a voice. Rudy Giuliani illustrated that he wasn't interested in listening to that voice unless he was going to get something from it in return.

The leaders in this presidential race - Obama, McCain, Clinton and Romney - have proven that they're willing to accept and embrace the entire spectrum of American society. They're as willing to court tractor-drivers in Iowa as oil-barons in Texas. That appeals to a society based upon the mantra of 'all men are created equal.'

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