Rudy’s Secret to Success

I was reading a Slate campaign blog yesterday when I came across this line regarding Giuliani:

that his greatest strength is his willingness to make highly questionable statements with
utter conviction

I was quite intrigued in that I often enjoy taking advantage of the fact that people are quite ready to believe things that one says with conviction, especially if that person is has some basis for seemingly knowing what they are talking about– i.e., former Mayor of NYC or college professor.  The truth is, if you say something with authority, people will tend to believe you.  As for me, I try not to lie, and when I do, fess up to it.  Of course, I'm not running for president.  My questionable statements rarely go beyond 40 NCSU undergrads or my friends and family who've long since learned not to take me at face value (according to Cobb, my “tell” is looking to the left).  Here's Slate's John Dickerson on Rudy's much more public lies:

But one secret to Giuliani's debate success is that he doesn't mind
fudging all those facts he cites. In the Tuesday debate, Giuliani
asserted once again that he had passed 23 tax cuts as New York mayor.
This is an exaggeration. According to and,
he can rightly claim credit for about 14 of those cuts. One of the
largest cuts for which he claims credit he initially opposed for five
months before changing his position. He also claims to have added more
cops in New York than he actually did and cherry-picks
data to support inflated claims about the number of adoptions during
his tenure. After the Tuesday debate, found a host of new
faulty claims

The problem for Giuliani's opponents is that none of his exaggerations
is immediately obvious, which makes it very hard to refute them.

The lesson here?  You can be a leading Republican presidential candidate or a tenured Political Science professor just by being really good at pretending you know what you are talking about. 


It has been a while since I've blogged about Democratic Presidential candidate Bill Richardson.  Sad truth is, I've pretty much given up on the guy.  Not through any fault of his own (okay, maybe he could be a little more dynamic), but simply because the fact the he continues to be completely ignored by the mainstream media suggests that he has no chance for the nomination.  My friend and colleague, Michael Struett, remains a true believer and directed to me to the following assessment from Political Scientist extraordinaire, Larry Sabato:

“He is unbeatable. It is amazing the Democrats
haven't recognized that,” says political scientist Larry Sabato.
He says Richardson would make a formidable nominee in the November 2008
general election. Sabato says not only is he a proven winner in a
western state, but his Hispanic roots appeal to an interest group that
has growing electoral strength.

Well, the astute political scientists (Sabato, Struett, honorary Political Scientist, Richard Clerkin, and me) may know this, but so long as the rest of the public doesn't have a clue, and Richardson polls at <5%, Richardson's campaign is a sadly lost cause. 

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