Rudy Is Teh New Kerry!

July 15th, 2007at 12:39pm Posted by Eli

Tom Schaller argues that Rudy is similar to Kerry, in that his apparent strength (Stalwart Hero Of 9/11!) is actually something that can be exploited:

The International Association of Firefighters’ 13-minute video released last week is just the latest straw to bend Rudy’s back. The most incendiary charge the video makes: that Rudy’s failure to procure proper emergency radios meant 121 city firefighters in the north tower failed to hear their evacuation orders – and were left to die.

Are the charges fair? Politically, it’s almost beside the point. They are credible. They are communicated effectively. And they are part of a growing chorus of frontal challenges to Giuliani’s image as a man who can keep America safe. Suddenly, his electability – until now, his greatest strength – is thrown into serious question.

Consider: In 1996, Giuliani established the Office of Emergency Management, which supervised a series of simulated attacks designed to prepare the city for rapid response and damage control. But former NYPD Chief of Department Lou Anemone has said that, although the World Trade Center was ranked in the top 20 attack targets of more than 1,500 sites across the city, “We never had any discussion … never even had a drill or exercise there.”

Worse, despite the ’93 World Trade Center bombing, Giuliani chose to locate the city’s Emergency Command Center in WTC 7, a building so damaged by the falling debris on 9/11 that it collapsed that afternoon. That’s why the mayor was prowling the streets that tragic morning giving ad hoc press conferences.

Within weeks of the attacks, Daily News columnist Juan Gonzalez reported that city officials were failing to enforce regulations requiring workers to wear respirators.


Especially damning is its condemnation of Giuliani’s testimony to the 9/11 Commission, saying that the firefighters heard but ignored their orders to evacuate the north tower. “Mayor Giuliani twisted the heroism of my brother to suit his own mistakes of that day,” says Rosaleen Tallon, sister of fallen Ladder 10 Firefighter Sean Patrick Tallon.

It’s Karl Rove’s formula executed to perfection: Find a candidate’s strength – then attack it with passion, precision and not a single pulled punch. And this time, it’s not just about an image of personal heroism. It’s about decisions that may have cost others their lives.

Forget about how many pictures of Giuliani in drag you can find through Google. If he’s their 2008 nominee, Republicans may wish they had picked a candidate with more Purple Hearts than political black eyes.

I hope Schaller’s right, but there are a couple of distinctions I want to make here:

1) The accusations aren’t actually made up out of thin air. There’s actually considerable merit behind the firefighters’ accusations, and they’re a whole lot more credible than the Swifties. It probably helps that the trail isn’t nearly as cold as that of Kerry’s war record.

2) This is hitting Rudy before the primaries, so it’s unlikely that Democratic operatives are behind it. Otherwise, I assume they would have saved it for the general election, when the Republicans were already stuck with Rudy. If there are any operatives giving this story a nudge, they are far more likely to be Republican (on the other hand, well, see Point #1).

Really, all the Republicans need to do to ensure that they nominate someone completely unelectable is vote for a candidate who promises to keep us in Iraq. Which I think is pretty much all of them. Well, except for Ron Paul. (You know, a Paul Vs. Gravel presidential campaign would probably have the Best Debates Ever…)

Entry Filed under: Elections,Politics,Rudy

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