Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Rudy the (Not So) Great

I've seen a lot of nonsense recently about Rudy Giuliani's fantastic War on TerrorTM credentials. I lived in New York City in September of 2001 and as best as I can remember it, this reputation is based on two things:
1) When the terrorists attacked, he didn't immediately crap his pants
2) He was way more "presidential" than the actual president
All well and good, but let's not forget that in this day and age, being "presidential" means projecting the appearance of being in control. Any halfway decent actor could pull it off. It doesn't mean you actually are in control.

As the mayor of NYC, Giuliani had precious little decision-making power in the war on terror. None, to be exact. Yes, he showed that he cared about New York City and he encouraged people to join together and help each other after a huge tragedy. This, it seems, is what we should expect as a matter of course from our politicians. That it is instead held up as exceptional leadership is only testament to how far we've fallen.

I also lived in New York City in 1997, when Abner Louima was beaten and sodomized by Brooklyn police officers; and in 1999 when the unarmed Amadou Diallo was gunned down by four white NYPD officers in the Bronx. I remember how Rudy Giuliani reacted then, too. I remember the utter indifference. I remember the contempt he showed for minorities in the city.

It's not going to be all guts and glory for "America's Mayor". As Rudy will soon find out, the harsh lights of the campaign trail highlight the tarnish just as well as they do the glitter.
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