Rudy Giuliani has given his strongest hint yet he's going to run for President. It's another slightly confusing step on the confusing path to becoming a candidate - but basically he's in. And on the face of it he's just about the perfect contender. Great name recognition, an almost unimpeachable reputation in New York not only as a living saint for his handling of 9/11 but also as a get 'em by the balls tough-on-crime mayor. A strong enough figure to unite the Republicans, but socially liberal enough to win back the moderates who turned away from the party in the midterms. And he could deliver New York's 31 electoral votes, which would really kick the Democrats in the teeth.
And yet, and yet. That progressive position on gay rights and abortion, although admirable, makes him a bitter enemy of the religious right. The only Republican currently ahead of him in the polls, John McCain, has already spent quite a while cosying up to the likes of right-wing Reverend Jerry Falwell. McCain is admired on both sides of American politics like no-one else, and the only thing that stands between him and the nomination in my view is his age (he''ll be 72 when the election rolls round). But given Giuliani's past medical problems, health is an issue that'll possibly count against him even more than it will McCain. Rudy's also on his third wife, which although hardly unusual in America, leaves him open to all sorts of mudslinging over the course of a long campaign.
So my message to Rudy is this: you're a fine man but you've got no chance of winning, and your reputation's going to take a terrible pounding. You should quit before you've even begun.