Giuliani’s Lost Playbook

If you are a professional or college athlete, one of the worst things you can do is lose your playbook. This is also a really bad idea if you work for someone who’s trying to be president of the United States. But that’s what happened to Rudy Giuliani: someone left behind his master plan, and someone from a rival’s camp got hold of it and leaked it to the New York Daily News.

Assuming that the information is legit, and it certainly seems to be, then the conventional wisdoms about Giuliani’s chances would seem to be spot-on: a) he may not really want the presidency enough to abandon his very profitable private life after many years in public service; and b) his variety of personal and political entanglements may make him unelectable anyway.

The lost plans “depict a candidate torn between his prosperous business and a political future full of both promise and risk,” writes Ben Smith in the News. “One page cites the explicit concern that he might ‘drop out of [the] race’ as a consequence of his potentially ‘insurmountable’ personal and political vulnerabilities. On the same page is a list of the candidate’s central problems in bullet-point form: his private sector business; disgraced former aide Bernard Kerik; his third wife, Judith Nathan Giuliani; ‘social issues,’ on which is he is more liberal than most Republicans, and his former wife Donna Hanover.”

If you’re playing the Information Asymmetry game, and I would argue that politics certainly qualifies as such, Rule No. 1 should probably be to keep the asymmetry as pronounced as possible. Every G.O.P. candidate is well aware of Giuliani’s shortcomings, real and perceived, but to have them laid out like this for all the world to see strikes me as potentially disastrous. It will be interesting to see how his fund-raising efforts, among other things, are affected by this leak. This will also make it a bit more likely for people to remember that until 9/11 happened, New York City couldn’t wait to bid Mayor Giuliani farewell.

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  1. Chris Mealy says:

    Nope. The idea is to get all of it out in the open as soon as possible. Think of GWB’s checkered past. By 2000, wrongly or not, it was all regarded as old news. I doubt this was in inside job, but it shouldn’t worry them to much. Or back in sports terms, if you can hit ‘em with “three yards and a cloud of dust” it doesn’t matter if they know your plays.

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  2. Chris Mealy says:

    Nope. The idea is to get all of it out in the open as soon as possible. Think of GWB’s checkered past. By 2000, wrongly or not, it was all regarded as old news. I doubt this was in inside job, but it shouldn’t worry them to much. Or back in sports terms, if you can hit ‘em with “three yards and a cloud of dust” it doesn’t matter if they know your plays.

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  3. BRKelley says:

    First Kerik and now this bozo?

    Though not a Giuliani-te, I tend to think this says more about the quality of his staff (or lack thereof) than the would-be candidate himself.

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  4. BRKelley says:

    First Kerik and now this bozo?

    Though not a Giuliani-te, I tend to think this says more about the quality of his staff (or lack thereof) than the would-be candidate himself.

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  5. John Fembup says:

    “until 9/11 happened, New York City couldn’t wait to bid Mayor Giuliani farewell”

    I accept that was true within your circle of friends. Nevertheless, the man was twice elected as a Republican by large majorities in a town where Democrat registration is overwhelming. You really should get out more.

    BTW, I asked you before, though half in jest whether you and Steve plan to rename this blog Freakopolitics.

    I am honestly not interested in reading, here, the same kind of humorless bias that appears every day in the New York Times – Carmen Climaco and all that.

    So I’m asking again, this time not nearly half in jest. Will Freakonomics continue to serve up economics insights with your former dash of humor and generous helpings of wit? Or not?

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  6. John Fembup says:

    “until 9/11 happened, New York City couldn’t wait to bid Mayor Giuliani farewell”

    I accept that was true within your circle of friends. Nevertheless, the man was twice elected as a Republican by large majorities in a town where Democrat registration is overwhelming. You really should get out more.

    BTW, I asked you before, though half in jest whether you and Steve plan to rename this blog Freakopolitics.

    I am honestly not interested in reading, here, the same kind of humorless bias that appears every day in the New York Times – Carmen Climaco and all that.

    So I’m asking again, this time not nearly half in jest. Will Freakonomics continue to serve up economics insights with your former dash of humor and generous helpings of wit? Or not?

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  7. valisjason says:

    Geez, sounds like you are trying to bully the authors into not writing about politics. Chill out. It wasnt even a very controversial opinion. After his disastrous Senate bid and all the “marital trouble” … Guiliani was not an incredibly popular person in the city. He was respected, but I think generally people were looking forward to a change. That of course changed on 9/11 when Rudy compared quite favorable to the bumbling Bush. Oh wait, is that too much politics for you?

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  8. valisjason says:

    Geez, sounds like you are trying to bully the authors into not writing about politics. Chill out. It wasnt even a very controversial opinion. After his disastrous Senate bid and all the “marital trouble” … Guiliani was not an incredibly popular person in the city. He was respected, but I think generally people were looking forward to a change. That of course changed on 9/11 when Rudy compared quite favorable to the bumbling Bush. Oh wait, is that too much politics for you?

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