For Giuliani, playing coy about his intentions—he has said he doesn’t intend to decide until sometime next year—makes a certain kind of sense. The pecuniary kind. “It’s in Giuliani’s business interests to make people think he’s running,” says the media guru. “It helps with clients, it creates an aura, it contributes to your mojo. If I’m him, I’d want everyone to think I was running right up until the filing date. There’s absolutely no downside to that at all.”
Siegel maintains that such Machiavellian imputations are wide of the mark. “Rudy’s campaign is following a different path—it’s a different model,” he says. “He’s not going the senatorial route, with the book tour and all that. He’s all over the country, giving speeches and doing business deals, meeting Bushie lawyers, Bushie businessmen, Bushie movers and shakers. He’s creating his own kind of national network.”
Maybe Siegel is right. Maybe Giuliani’s impulses toward messianism will propel him to run despite the odds, despite the lack of planning and organization, despite the warnings emanating from every corner of the party about the fate that awaits him if he does. But even if he doesn’t, Giuliani, along with McCain—whether he ultimately succeeds in winning the nomination—is essential to whatever the post-Bush GOP is destined to become. Charismatic, candid, and all too human, they create the impression, however illusory, that the Republican Party actually was a big tent and might, just might, be a big tent again.