While I don’t believe Rudy is going to make it far in the campaign, and while I really don’t like the attack ad element of politics, I’m frankly pretty appalled with Rudy Giuliani. I think it’s immoral to try to use 9/11 to your advantage. But Rudy’s use seems particularly insidious. He keeps running ads suggesting that we need to vote for him if we want to be safe from terrorists. Besides the fact that his is creepy fear-mongering, what bothers me most is that there’s an unspoken (in this ad) implication that his leadership on 9/11 is what qualifies him.

It was a really crass comment, but a political commentator someone said something to the effect of, “Giuliani is an expert on terrorism just like the mayor of New Orleans is an expert on flood prevention.” While it maybe goes a bit too far, the point remains the same: what, precisely, about 9/11 makes him a qualified leader?

The IAFF (firefighter’s union) put together a video asking the same question. And if there’s anyone people respect because of 9/11, it’s FDNY. The IAFF essentially blasts Rudy for mis-handling things. One big problem I’d forgotten all about was the radio failures. They knew since the 90’s that their radios didn’t work inside the WTC, but repeated attempts to get it fixed never occurred. (They mention an “upgrade” that was actually so bad that they went back to their old radios, which is what they used on 9/11.) Tragically, more than 100 firefighters, because of these communication failures, never got the signal to evacuate WTC and ended up losing their lives because of it.

Some have also criticized Rudy for his decision to locate much of the city’s emergency communications infrastructure in the World Trade Center. Even if his common sense / expertise on terrorism didn’t tell him that this was an intuitively bad idea, previous attempts by al Queda to blow it up might have.

And if you’re not offended enough, give this a watch. I keep wanting to believe that this is a farce, with a look-alike mocking him. Except that all indications are that this is real. A Parkinson’s victim calls into a program Rudy’s doing on the radio to ask him why he took his food stamps and Medicaid away. Rudy cracks up laughing, mocks him, and offers to send him psychiatric help “because [he] clearly need it.” While Rudy surely didn’t know he was mocking a Parkinson’s victim, why would he treat anyone that way?!

Moral of the story: if you’re going to try to exploit 9/11 to win an election, you’d better make sure your botched leadership didn’t kill our firefighters. And you might want to refrain from going on public radio and cracking up laughing, and subsequently mocking, people who call in to say they have Parkinson’s and can’t afford their medication. But that’s just my opinion. I’m no political consultant or anything.

Update: For those that don’t read the comments, you should at least check out the link in this one for more of Rudy’s radio program.

8 thoughts on “9/11

  1. I have a feeling there’s more to that clip than was posted. The emphasis Rudi places on “you” when he says, “…and we’ll send YOU psychiatric help,” which, to me, implies that the caller suggested Giuliani needed psychiatric help first.

    Not that it’d be a correct response to getting criticized and mocked by a caller (by any stretch of the imagination), but I have this feeling something’s been edited out.

  2. Just watched the IAFF video, and I think it has problems of its own.

    For instance, if proper testing of the new radios would have completely avoided the failure, how did the old radios get purchased? I can only assume they went through the proper testing, yet they still failed within the WTC.

    And if Guiliani using his experience on 9/11 is “insidious”, how is the IAFF using it against him any different?

  3. I can only assume they went through the proper testing, yet they still failed within the WTC.

    I assume you’re right that they were tested… But they were complaining since the 90’s (they don’t really say when) that they didn’t work in places like the WTC.

    And if Guiliani using his experience on 9/11 is “insidious”, how is the IAFF using it against him any different?

    They’re objecting to his use of it. I’m not sure they’re “exploiting” 9/11, as much as criticizing his doing the same.

  4. There is more to most of that IAFF video. The union has had a lot of beefs with the mayor for years. He tried to put in some cost cutting moves that would not have hurt public safety (they’d been done in the past) but would have cut income for sime firemen (less over time) and the union fought him tooth and nail. Yeah the radios should have been better – I don’t know what happened there. But I doubt as much of the blame goes to Rudy as they are trying to paint things.

    And having firemen clean up a fire site as long as they did really accomplished little except to make firemen feel better. It cost the city a fortune in overtime and left many fireighters over tired when they when to their stations. But it is an emotional issue for a lot of them though.

  5. You might have already covered this on your blog, but I wanted to point out that, if that Parkinson’s clip is authentic, this wouldn’t be the first time that Giuliani has run into trouble with his radio call in show.

    In 1999 Giuliani got into a screaming match with someone over some legislation he passed banning ferrets. He tells his caller that “The excessive concern that you have for ferrets is something you should examine with a therapist. Not with me.” and “This excessive concern with little weasels is a sickness.”

    I’m no ferret fan, but the way he verbally assaults this guy makes him look like a bully who has gone off the deep end.

    You have to check it out.

    Audio: http://tinyurl.com/2plxwj

    Transcript: http://www.observer.com/node/41804

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