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That’s how some liberal blogs refer to Rudy Giuliani – using l33t speak to devastating effect. Giuliani’s moment has not officially passed, but it looks like it may be gone in, well, a New York minute.

Polling at 8-11% in New Hampshire (a state where an independent-minded fellow like Giuliani should do well) is a bad sign. Sure, he didn’t spend a lot of time campaigning there, but his poll numbers in the state are slipping and, in fact, his national poll numbers have been declining since even before his terrible showing in Iowa. What’s gone wrong?

The 9iu11iani name says it all. In an election where “change” is the buzzword and both parties are looking to the future, Giuliani has campaigned almost exclusively on one signature moment that happened six years ago. We all should have great admiration for the mayor’s leadership on that terrible day, but a president needs more than just the ability to operate in a crisis. A president needs a vision for the nation’s future. Giuliani hasn’t communicated his.

That’s a shame. He had great and numerous successes as a mayor. He has a unique political compass that balances a strong will with real compassion. He is charismatic. He is bold. But he has come across as a dictator wannabe, way overplaying his tough-guy image and allowing the 9/11 moment to hogtie him in an awkward “the past is our present” pose. That’s the wrong strategy in a year when the majority of voters want to escape our nation’s recent past and blaze anew into the future.

It’s too bad Giuliani has made so many missteps. He coulda been a contender.