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.