Political Action: Bloomy, Giuliani would make for interesting 2012 prez race

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While some political observers believe Mayor Michael Bloomberg is interested in possibly running for the U.S. presidency in 2012 as an independent candidate, there is now some speculation that former Mayor Rudy Giuliani is showing interest in preparing for another presidential bid in 2012. His 2008 presidential campaign ended in Florida when he was only able to get 15 percent of the vote in that state’s Republican Party primary.

After serving two terms as mayor, Giuliani flirted with the possibility of running against Hillary Clinton for the U.S. Senate in 2000, but did not make the race. In 2006, he also considered a race for governor against Democrat Eliot Spitzer, but did not go forward with it. Early last year, it looked like he would be running as the Republican candidate for governor, but again he dropped out and endorsed Rick Lazio for governor.

Three times he has shown interest in running for higher office but failed to make the final commitment. The question is: Will that happen again this time as he considers a second try for the presidency? The opponents he faced in the Republican primary in 2008, including former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, have both hinted at entering the presidential race next year. There is also former U.S. vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, who has demonstrated every indication of running for president in 2012. Some other Republican presidential candidates may be emerging from the group of recently elected Republican governors and U.S. senators.

When we compare Bloomberg and Giuliani, they were both originally Democrats who became Republicans when they ran for mayor. In the case of Bloomberg, he again changed his party affiliation from “Republican” to “independent.” Neither one of them held public office before they became mayor and they have strong political ambitions.

It would be ironic, to say the least, if Giuliani became the presidential candidate next year against President Barack Obama, with Bloomberg running against both of them as an independent candidate. It would be interesting to watch our two mayors in terms of the impact they may have on the presidential election of 2012.

As I have previously pointed out, no New York City mayor has ever become president. Since city residents started electing mayors in 1834, only one has gone on to become governor and that was in the 1850s.

Bloomberg and former Mayor John Lindsay took office as liberal Republicans. Lindsay, like Bloomberg and Giuliani, switched his party enrollment. In Lindsay’s case, when he ran for re-election in 1969, he lost the Republican primary but managed to win the general fall election running on the Liberal Party line in addition to an independent line. Lindsay did not seek a third term. Lindsay’s presidential bid in 1972 failed and ended his efforts to compete for the Democratic presidential nomination.

In the case of Bloomberg, he would not have to be concerned with winning primaries since he would be running as an independent without political party affiliation.

It is only in the last 60 years that the political office of mayor has become a stepping stone to the U.S. presidency or vice presidency.

As we look toward the forthcoming presidential election of 2012, it promises to be one of the most important presidential elections in American history. The issues will be sharply defined. There promises to be a large voter turnout in 2012, as our political parties and leaders battle for the hearts and minds of the American people. Our democratic electoral system will be tested as different political views are expressed in the hope of gaining majority support.

In recent years, the American citizenry seems to be taking more of an interest in our political process. Hopefully, that interest will continue to grow.

Updated 10:48 am, October 12, 2011
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