If government can be run as a business—and Bloomberg makes a strong case for the fact that it can—then Giuliani's potential gubernatorial run is less than perfect picture. As New York so eloquently put it last week, "Giuliani's disastrous 2008 presidential campaign … has branded him something between a failure and a punch line." But that doesn't stop many Republicans from pegging their hopes on Giuliani as the savior of their party and the next governor of New York.
Giuliani's political reputation comes largely from his performance on September 11 (and also from his cross-dressing escapades). But he's also well known for his business ventures; since 2005, he has been a partner at Houston-based law firm Bracewell & Giuliani and, more significantly for our purposes here, he is the founder of Giuliani Partners LLC, a boutique strategy consulting firm in New York, started just weeks after he wound up his mayoral duties.
But when Giuliani drove his own campaign head-on into a tree in 2007-08, it was both his political and business brands that suffered. His speaking fees dipped considerably, and the consulting firm downsized by about half—both in terms of staff and client work—including many prominent figures in Giuliani's inner circle. Part of this is because so much of the firm's fate rested solely on Giuliani's sizable reputation; once he left to pursue other interests, many clients went elsewhere. But another industry insider offers this perspective: "If you're paying for someone's judgment, you might not be as interested in that judgment after such a poorly run campaign." (Giuliani's law firm, where he now spends about half his time, wasn't as affected by the failed campaign bid, having posted its strongest year to date in 2008. It had a leg up, however, with its timely focus on bankruptcy and distressed companies.)
Solid information on Giuliani Partners is hard to come by—the company stopped issuing press releases in mid-2007, and it's unclear exactly who its clients are. The latest news on the firm is a deal signed in September 2009 with Nine Thirty Capital to investigate fraudulent activity in hedge funds and other investment vehicles. Giuliani has always had a way of capitalizing on the fear of others …
Giuliani is noncommittal, at best, regarding his intentions to run for governor. At this point, though, it seems that he has more to lose, business-wise, from a failed political bid, than he does to gain from being governor. For the moment, though, it seems Giuliani is enjoying the time in the spotlight and keeping followers on the edge of their seat. In business, after all, any advertising is good advertising.
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