Thursday, March 08, 2007

When Giuliani Is President, Every Day Will Be 9/11

Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani is now leading the pack of Republican presidential contenders and some conservatives are a little concerned, even though most conservatives are embracing him. Although everyone applauds his heroic conduct on September 11, 2001, some conservatives think he may be too liberal on many social issues and there are questions about his personal life and temperament. Isn't it unfair, though, to judge a man on how he behaved on 22,930 days of his life instead of the day he was at his best? Besides, Giuliani is not running on these other 22,930 days of his life, he's running on just this one day, and when Giuliani is President, every day will be 9/11.

That's not to say that Giuliani didn't do some good things on the other 2,917 days when he was mayor of New York. A Giuliani presidency would finally make America safe from squeegee men, ferret owners and artists flinging elephant dung, which were among some of the menaces he fought as mayor of New York. But what has some conservatives concerned is that during his term as mayor Giuliani was pro-choice, pro-gay rights and pro-gun control. Giuliani says that the positions he took to get elected mayor of New York, which he is not exactly backing away from, are really just a matter emphasis. Critics are taking a glass-half-empty approach by emphasizing all the things he is for instead of the things he is against. All along he has really been against abortion, against gay marriage and against taking away people's guns. And no one asked him where he stood on these issues on September 11 anyway. September 11 changed everything, and nothing at all.

But not all conservatives are convinced that Giuliani should only have to account for one day of his life. In a recent interview on CNN, Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention voiced concerns about Giuliani's family values. "He's in his third marriage, and the second marriage ended in a messy divorce, with his second wife taking out a restraining order to keep him from bringing his mistress to the official residence of the mayor of New York," Land said. "That's a huge character issue." After Giuliani publicly humiliated his wife by announcing he was divorcing her in a press conference before telling her and then was barred from Gracie Mansion, he moved in with a gay couple, which might make some conservatives a little uncomfortable if they knew. His divorce and remarriage also appears to have created strains with his children. But none of this matters either because on September 11, Giuliani was our strong and steadfast father figure, the reassuring patriarch of our happy, close-knit family.

Already the liberal media is adding to concerns of some conservatives by dwelling on the other 22,930 days of Giuliani's life and trying to take the focus away from the only day that really counts. "The Giuliani tenure at City Hall was, until the attacks of Sept. 11, a blur of a combative mayor fighting with political opponents, civil rights leaders, voters and reporters," Adam Nagourney writes in The New York Times. The article quotes former New York mayor Ed Koch, who says there is a "bad Giuliani…who insulted rivals, refused to meet with critics, was ruthless in attacking political enemies" and a "good Giuliani" who was on display on September 11. Luckily, the "bad Giuliani" is not running for President.

Why are so many conservatives, however, prepared to give Giuliani a pass on the non-9/11 days of his life? Like most Americans, conservatives are nostalgic for September 11 the way an earlier generation was nostalgic about World War II. It was a day when all Americans were united regardless of political ideology, race, religion (with the possible exception of Muslims) or even sexual orientation (until we later learned from Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and Dinesh D'Souza how gays and lesbians were actually responsible for the attacks). Americans even liked New York on September 11. On that day there was no messy war in Iraq, Katrina was the name of the leader of an '80s pop band that sang about sunshine and Walter Reed was one of the best hospitals in the country. When Giuliani is elected President we can relive those halcyon days again and again and again.

In our mind's eye no matter what he does or has done, Giuliani will always be on a perpetual tape loop playing footage of him amidst the rubble of the World Trade Center. I think conservatives are hoping that a Giuliani presidency will be a lot like a movie, specifically the movie Groundhog Day; that is, if it took place on September 11 instead of February 2. In that movie Bill Murray not only relived a single day over and over, he improved over time. Every day he became a better and better person and eventually won the heart of Andie MacDowell (whose acting skills, oddly, never did improve). Imagine a Giuliani who started with how he was on September 11 and just got better. Imagine a President who actually learned from his mistakes. In the movie Bill Murray was even able to prevent bad things from happening before they occurred. After reliving September 11 over and over, perhaps eventually Giuliani would be able to stop a terrorist attack before it happened. After 1,459 days of September 11, maybe we could get it right this time. But then again, that might just put us right back to September 10. I guess what worries some people is which Giuliani would show up on that day?

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30 comments:

Anonymous said...

Reasonable conservative? Methinks your Giuliani piece is a Jay Leno joke.

Rudy was twice elected Republican mayor of NYC, an overwhelmingly democratic party town; the second time by a resounding majority against a popular Democrat opponent.

That was well before 9/11/01.

He basically appointed Bloomberg, another Republican, as his successor.

Who cares what his detractors say. The man is a living legend, even if his choice in wives and political cronies is no better than, say, Abe Lincoln's.

MR. Bill said...

The man is a living legend..

Ah yes, give that the US had elected in George W. Bush on of its iconic figures (and only a Frenchman or Liberal would say he was not a Cowboy, but rather an Andover Cheerleader, and "all hat, no cattle"), we should follow up with a living legend.
And here is a treatment, by serious artists, of the legend of our first president, rather in the style of the hagiography of St. Rudy and the
Crawford Cowboy- http://tinyurl.com/2yfv7w
Though their occasional excess of admiration leads them to obscenity, the makers of this short film are certainly respectful, and should work on similar paeans to the afore mentioned statesmen..

MR. Bill said...

errata: previous post shuld have read "elected in George W. Bush ONE of its iconic figures"..carry on

MR.Bill said...

MORE errata: in the first post it should read "Ah yes, GIVEN that.."
and the second, errata, post should read "SHOULD have read".
I really must not post before I take my medication,uh, coffee.

Pete Abel said...

Thanks, Jon, for the post. Enjoyed it very much -- and with the news today about Newt, it all combined to spark a few thoughts of my own: http://centralsanity.blogspot.com/2007/03/when-powerful-philander.html.

Not entirely on track, but sorta related.

Dr X said...

"The man is a living legend, even if his choice in wives and political cronies is no better than, say, Abe Lincoln's."

Right, he's just made many more choices than Lincoln. He's... choicier.

the zoom said...

I listened to a speech from a former congressman where he preached how bad the Republicans are in communicating there message to their base and to the public, and how the public does not know anything about what the republicans got done in the 109th congress. And while he was going on about the issues that the Republicans got done, he was also talking about the "earmarks". He explained to the conservative crowd, that "earmarks are les than one tenth of a percent of the federal budget" witch is a stunning fact that makes me wonder why this is the concern of our time in the conservative community.

As he finished his speech, I walked up to him and told him "Mr. Congressman, I might be wrong but I recall reading an article in the Wall St. Journal, about an official in CO criticizing an earmark that Sen. Allard (R-CO) inserted in a spending bill, saying that it takes away the money the State gets from the federal government." So I asked the Hon. Congressman "Is it true that when a congressman or senator inserts an earmark in a spending bill, he does not raise spending? That he just takes away the liberty from one bureaucrat to decide how to spend the money and decides himself where the money should go?"

The answer was yes.

So if earmarks do not raise spending and it's not more then one tenth of one percent of the budget, why is there so much noise about it?

Because we do not communicate, and nobody amongst us is aware of the facts. We have to start communicating, and shouldn't be afraid that someone will slam us, because if you fight back, you have a chance of winning, and if you don’t fight you don’t even have a chance of winning.

Jonathan said...

Excellent point about Groundhog Day. To drive this theme home, Rudy should select Bill Murray as his running mate.

james higham said...

Great post as usual, Jon. I rana poll and it came out like this:

Result of previous poll on "Who'll be Prez?"

Obama 82%
The Lizard Queen 2%
Giuliano 11%
McCain 0%
A dark horse 5%
[55 votes total]

How does that square with how you see things going over there?

[Plus, you're in the Focus this evening.]

FlyingRodent said...

I don't trust any of these politicians. They said they'd never allow another September 11th, but by my reckoning there've been at least five since and there's another due this year.

Liars and bastards, the lot of them.

Harry L said...

Note that Giuliani was brave enough to remove his mask to help the journalists out with a photo op. Pataki obviously wore his low, but it still obscures his face. We know which one is presidential material!

Jon Swift said...

You neglected to mention the other presidential candidate in that photo, if I am not mistaken.

miriam said...

I bet Kennedy, who died at 46, had many more women than Giuliani. Clinton too. And one of them was a gangster's girlfriend.

You just don't know about the other candidates, because no-one is telling you. Who knows?

Rudy just kept marrying his mistakes, instead of hiding them.

james higham said...

Dear Jon, you might like to check out:

http://nourishingobscurity.blogspot.com/2007/03/blogfocus-saturday-across-pond.html

You happen to be in it this evening.

MistahCharley said...

I've seen the movie Groundhog Day so many times I've lost count (about ten, let's say). It is one of my very favorite philosophical movies of the twentieth century (up there with Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, and Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal).

You state:

In [Groundhog Day] Bill Murray not only relived a single day over and over, he improved over time. Every day he became a better and better person and eventually won the heart of Andie MacDowell (whose acting skills, oddly, never did improve).

First of all, I believe you have made an unfair, as well as ungallant, remark about Ms. McDowell's alleged lack of improvement in her acting skills. The premise of the movie is that Bill Murray's character, and no one else's, is re-living the day. There is no reason for her to change over time, because it is only the Murray character, and the audience, for whom the day is repeating.

Secondly, you much oversimplify the arc of the development of Murray's character development in the movie. Rather than a monotonic process of improvement, we see at the beginning a spiral into self-indulgence, exploitation of others, and nihilism, leading to a "dark night of the soul", in the phrase of St. John of the Cross. Then, turning away from narcissism, he attempts to do a larger good than he is capable of, because he is not yet at the point of knowing what he can change and what he can't. Finally, having become a late 20th century North American version of the Sufi insan-i-kamil through conscious suffering and self-directed effort (as well as the grace of g*d) he wins the heart of the fair lady, while getting off the endless treadmill of Feb 2 in Punxatawney...

It would be nice if an analogous process of self-actualization happened to the U.S., but I don't think electing Guiliani would do it. I mean no disrespect to Mr. Giuliani, who may well be the best Republican for the job (although I think Mitt Romney has the best head of hair).

BNJ said...

Far be it from me to speak for all conservatives, but for me, the leadership he showed on 9/11 (admirable though it was) is only a small part of the reason I want him to be president.

I believe his leadership was largely responsible for the renaissance of a city previously thought ungovernable. Moreover, he combated New York's ills without succumbing to the knee-jerk Lindsay/Dinkins tax-hike formula the New York Times urged on him -- and all the while remaining friendly to gay rights and women's reproductive freedom.

No, he's not perfect, but show me a better candidate and I will vote for him.

Rueful said...

Rudy was twice elected Republican mayor of NYC, an overwhelmingly democratic party town....

Anonymous: Being a Republican in NYC is essentially the same as being a Democrat just about anywhere else in the country. Thus, Giuliani is pro-choice, pro-gay rights, and pro-gun control.

That might be a clue.

Jamie said...

Is it hard to write with your tongue planted firmly in your cheek?

Fun reading.

grasshopper said...

The GROUNDHOG moment I'd relish is Giuliani in that blonde wig.
Imagine a US president delivering his state-of-the-union speech in drag.
If he chose to wear women's clothing, make-up, and that hair that just made you think, Ah Kim Basinger, day after day, perfecting his feminine style to the point where he was vying with, oh I don't know, Scarlett Johansson, would it necessarily comprise an arch-conservative mind-set?
The nation is just screaming for some authentic burlesque. Certainly we've had a taste of cruel and comic deception, but why not go for the fun in it instead of subverting into farcical, but ruinous killing fields?

BenMerc said...

"Andie MacDowell (whose acting skills, oddly, never did improve)"

But Jon, don't fret...thats what hair and skin care product advertising is for, and nonetheless, Andie is still a "hottie".

But on to less important issues, such as, if this nation is so hell bent on electing a women president, but is still a bit "frightened" in making the move, (such as "Tucker" of MSNBC), perhaps we could use the cross dressing Rudy as a "transitional" presidency to get everyone warmed up to the idea.

On the one hand, we would bring a much needed compassion back into the Whitehouse, a real "sissy" of a conservative... which may alleviate much of the nervousness in what is left of our allies, along with introspective domestic policy change, where actual thought process will be applied to decision making when dealing with the "people".

But on the other hand, we will still have the rough an tumble street wise macho mayor as depicted in one of a thousand revealing photo ops, where Rudy shows he's a man of daring, exposing his entire face to toxic dust...all the ready for any secondary terrorist attacks (notice Hillary's mask is full on...she's not taking any chances!)

All said and done, I think the Republicans have found their "man"
And...rest assured, all those scared guys,like "Tucker", Rush L., J. Gannon, A. Coulter, G. Liddy etc et al...may rest easy with Rudy in the kitchen, er... I mean at the "helm" ...

Demon Princess said...

As a fiercely conservative woman myself, I call "bullshit & bombast" on those other conservatives who dare deride Mr. G. for his messy divorce of his 2nd wife, his announcment of it to the press before she knew, his attmpts to move the mistress into their manse &, most of all, the effects on the children.

I say that the people who lauded Newt Gingrich, who did all these same things & more, should have the sense to realize that it's not a matter of how many marriages one has ended badly ~ it only matters that one is married at the time he announces his run for the Presidency. As long as it's not to a person of the same sex.

Demon Princess said...

Errata: Please insert "e"'s yourself. Apparently I mislaid them.

Anonymous said...

Please take an objective look at how miserably he failed in planning after the first WTC bombing and how badly run things were on that day - many lives could have been saved by someone, anyone coordinating the PD and FD.

If the 911 center operators were told to tell people to evacuate based on what the police helicopters were seeing or if the police were able to talk to the firefighters in the buildings via walkie-talkie or anything approaching reasonable, prudent emergency management techniques and procedures.

Naj said...

Ah at laaaaaast I stumbled across a Republican blog! I was wondering why every blogger in the world is so leftist and so educated.

Glad to know you!

Just a question, do you like repeating 911 scenario because it gives you an emotional shake?

Jaesoreal said...

Jon great post! Great post name! That alone had me laughing.

"I don't trust any of these politicians. They said they'd never allow another September 11th, but by my reckoning there've been at least five since and there's another due this year.

Liars and bastards, the lot of them."

Comment of the week for me!

Anonymous said...

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=389x759822

NY Fire Battalion Chief Jim Riches: "We want America to know Giuliani is not the man he says he is"

Anonymous said...

its all about Giuliani and Hilary, hes a leaving leyend, shes Bill wife, but what is really important.. all the peoble talk about Giuliani someones hate him others love him, any kind of publicity is good, Hilary fights aganist the history and a true leyend. just thnik about it

Anonymous said...

I think nobody can secure us from terrorism. We can't stop this violent. Of course Giuliani is a living legend, he shows us that we can fight with terrorism, but this war never ends. We should lern how to live with this situation.

Anonymous said...

I don't trust any of these politicians. They said they'd never allow another September 11th, but by my reckoning there've been at least five since and there's another due this year.

Felicity said...

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