It appears that former NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani has thrown his hat at least partway in the ring and will most likely be running for President:
WASHINGTON -- Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor whose popularity soared after his response to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, moved closer to a full-fledged campaign for the Republican presidential nomination on Monday.
In a sign that he's serious about running for the White House, the two-term mayor was filing a so-called "statement of candidacy" with the Federal Election Commission. In the process, he was eliminating the phrase "testing the waters" from earlier paperwork establishing his exploratory committee, said an official close to Giuliani's campaign.
If Giuliani ends up as the GOP nominee, he'll have my vote. If not, I'll be interested to see whom the Democrats finally pick. From either party, I'd like to see someone who is fiscally conservative (Bush has been a joke), who has a clear plan for what to do (or not do) in Iraq, who skews somewhat to the left in terms of social policy, and who has a more open, feet-on-the-ground style than Bush does. Rudy was the type to involve himself deeply in the governance of New York City; his book Leadership (thanks again, Max) offers interesting insights into how his mind works. I don't doubt that the book paints a rosier picture of Giuliani than the reality, but I still like what I see, and we as a nation had a chance to watch the man in action back in 2001.
Rudy faces challenges from within his own party because of his more liberal-leaning stance on gun control and abortion. I'm curious to see how he'll fare in debate against the other GOP hopefuls, who are all, in my opinion, better and smarter folks than the current president.
For the Dems... can't say I'd go for Hillary, though she hasn't grated on me as much as I thought she might. Her experience as a senator seems to have honed her political instincts, even if she still comes off as more schoolmarmish than tough (where is America's Thatcher?). I'd like to know more about Barack Obama, but suspect he'll be pulled down by his relative inexperience. I've cooled down a bit regarding John Edwards, and need to read up on Joe Biden. I'm a big fan of Joe Lieberman, but somehow don't see him as anything more than second fiddle to whoever nabs the presidential nomination. Mark Warner also seemed like a great pick, but if I'm not mistaken, he's decided not to run.
The kicker for me, and the reason why I'm writing this post, is the economy. Giuliani has a proven record in NYC; the city undeniably prospered under him, and lost much of its forbidding, "urban jungle" reputation. If Giuliani makes housekeeping a major priority, I foresee only improvement for the country as a whole. If he finds himself beholden to GOP special interests and gets bogged down in a foreign policy quagmire, that might turn people against him.
If we can trust Giuliani's own words, he describes himself, in his book, as fairly direct (read: blunt) in matters of foreign policy. He's not a courtly Southern gentleman; he's all New Yawka'. I wonder if people are ready for a slightly milder version of John Bolton to step into the White House.
Anyway-- go, Rudy! Things are about to get more interesting.