Sunday, September 23, 2007

Giuliani - a worse president than Bush?

Is there a likely contender for President who could be worse than George W. Bush? Yes. Rudy Giuliani.

At this time, Giuliani is at the top of the Republican heap. As of September 21, Rasmussen Reports in its Daily Presidential Tracking Poll…”[F]ormer Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani are now tied. Each man is the top choice for 24% of Likely Republican Primary Voters."

Wonkosphere shows Giuliani as the most “buzzed-about” candidate in the blogosphere:
What’s wrong with Rudy? Kevin Baker knows. His article, A Fate worse Than Bush - Rudolph Giuliani and the Politics of Personality appeared in the August 2007 Harper's Magazine (subscription required).

For those who don’t subscibe to Harper's Magazine, ( I recommend that you do) here are three sources of information:

1. President Rudy, posted by Jon Wiener of The Nation on July 30. Wiener interviewed Kevin Baker, who writes for The New York Times and the Washington Post as well as Harper’s.

Below are excerpts from the interview with Baker's comments in quotation marks.

“Most of 9-11 was actually a debacle for the city government," Baker told me in an interview, and "Giuliani bears a great deal of the responsibility." The World Trade Center had been attacked in 1993, but Giuliani had "learned none of the lessons that could have been learned. There was no serious attempt to coordinate the radios between the police and fire departments, or even to insure that the fire department had its own communications that would work inside buildings. The consequences? Probably hundreds of unnecessary deaths that day.'' [emphasis mine]

The second failure: Giuliani insisted on locating his emergency control center in the World Trade Center complex, even though that had been the target of the 1993 attack. "He did that against the advice of virtually all the security experts he consulted," [emphasis mine] Baker explained. "He put it on the twenty-third floor of a forty-seven-story building, World Trade Center Tower 7. It included an unprotected, 7,000 gallon fuel source on the seventh floor, a sort of a fuse to set the building off. When the building was hit by debris on 9/11, that did indeed bring the whole building down."

Giuliani told the 9/11 Commission that the firemen in the towers died because they refused orders to come out. He said they wanted to save lives of people trapped inside.

"That's a demonstrable lie," Baker told me. [emphasis mine] "The firemen in the buildings were simply waiting for orders. They never got the word. It's easy to second-guess people in such a traumatic event, and anybody could be forgiven for not making the right decisions in the middle of everything. But to go to Congress months later and lie about this--I find that despicable."

The workers at Ground Zero in the following months, we now know, were exposed to significant health hazards. How much of that is Giuliani's responsibility? "He made no real attempt to determine the safety of working there," Baker said.

2. Rudy's foreign policy, posted by Scott Horton on August 17 at No Comment: “A few days ago the new Foreign Affairs arrived carrying an article which purports to have been authored by Rudy Giuliani entitled ‘Toward a Realistic Peace.’… In it we learn that the world of foreign policy for Rudy consists of just one thing: the long twilight battle against America’s natural and mortal enemy, Islamo-Fascism. Everything else is entirely peripheral to the Great Struggle, which Rudy is committed to winning by leveraging brute force to pummel the Enemy. And after they have been obliterated, we will have 'realistic peace.' This is Cheney on steroids. And I don’t mean the rational, articulate, cautious Dick Cheney from 1994. I mean the post-microstroke, delusional Dick Cheney who shoots his own friend in the face with birdshot. The Dick Cheney of today. Rudy would substitute a tactical nuclear device for the birdshot....

"[I]t [Giuliani’s Foreign Affairs article] leaves me more convinced than before that the man deep inside of Rudy waiting to emerge after a successful election on the national stage doesn’t care much for democracy, the Constitution, or civil liberties. He has one overriding obsession: power.”

3. Glenn Greenwald’s September 21st post, Giuliani's proposal for endless Middle East wars on behalf of Israel: "In London this week, Rudy Giuliani proposed what is probably the single most extremist policy of any major presidential candidate, certainly this year and perhaps in many years: Rudy Giuliani talked tough on Iran yesterday, proposing to expand NATO to include Israel and warning that if Iran's leaders go ahead with their goal to be a nuclear power we will prevent it, or we will set them back five or 10 years."

NATO nations are obligated to defend one another in the event of an attack on one of them.

Greenwald concludes: “Now that we are occupying two Middle Eastern countries, with a broken military, and are threatening imminent war with at least another one, isn't it long past time to have the discussion about the extent to which the U.S. is willing to wage war on behalf of Israel's interests? Do Americans really think that Iranian hostility towards Israel or its support for 'terrorists groups' that are hostile to Israel are grounds for declaring Iran to be our Enemy or waging war against them? If so, then let proponents of war with Iran make that case expressly. And for the rest of the presidential campaign, shouldn't Giuliani's desire to involve the U.S. military in every war Israel fights be a rather central feature in discussions of his potential presidency?”

(cartoon of Giuliani- Cox and Forkum, buzz chart: Wonkosphere)

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