“As Much If Not More.”

In his desperate rush to prove what a great mayor he was in the aftermath of the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attackson the World Trade Center towers, Rudy Giuliani has gone through great lengths to express to the American people how hard he worked and how exposed he was to Ground Zero.  It was this that led the “Mayor” to finally claim that he had spent “as much if not more” time at Ground Zero than the emergency responders such as fire fighters and police officers.

No one in their right mind could possibly take him at face value for this.  Hell, it’s such an absurd and self-centered claim even I in my righeous war on Rudy would be willing to give the guy a mulligan.  Still, he should have known, you say something dumb, you better be ready for the blowback.

That particular blow back being, in the three months following the terrorist attacks, Rudy spent a grand total of 29 hours at ground zero, this at a time when rescue workers were pulling twelve hour shifts.

A complete record of Mr. Giuliani’s exposure to the site is not available for the chaotic six days after the attack, when he was a frequent visitor. But an exhaustively detailed account from his mayoral archive, revised after the events to account for last-minute changes on scheduled stops, does exist for the period of Sept. 17 to Dec. 16, 2001. It shows he was there for a total of 29 hours in those three months, often for short periods or to visit locations adjacent to the rubble. In that same period, many rescue and recovery workers put in daily 12-hour shifts.

Okay, so it is technically possible that Rudy’s statement might hold up in the first few days following the incident, though I still find it highly unlikely.  But once you get out of the early chaos, we find Rudy’s claim to be absolutely, positively, and now empirically proven to be absurd.

Nor should one EXPECT the executive to spend more time at Ground Zero than initial responders because that’s not his job.  That would be micro managing, and one has to wonder if the “Mayor” really is spending all his time at Ground Zero, what mayoral duties is he neglecting as a result?

But this points to something bigger, a kind of skewed perspective on the part of Rudy Giuliani.  It is executive-centric in nature, with an unhealthy focus on the role of the government executive as well as his culpability.  In Rudy’s eyes, he is the real hero, while the rescue workers were merely disposable extras.  From his recent foreign policy essay, we know that he has a propensityto subscribe to Big Brother-esque qualities, and further does not see anything wrong with this.

Further, in Rudy’s world, the executive responsibility only goes one way.  All are accountable to the top, and the top has no responsibility to the bottom, this is perhaps best reflected in Rudy’s statement regarding a stockpile of missing explosives:

GIULIANI: The president was cautious. The president was prudent. The president did what a commander in chief should do. And no matter how much you try to blame it on the president, the actual responsibility for it really would be for the troops that were there. Did they search carefully enough? Didn’t they search carefully enough?

There is no regard or mention of orders given or strategy employed, only the immediate action of taking a potential liability of a news story and shifting the blame as quickly as possible away from the executive who is rightly at fault.  This is perhaps the scariest thing about a potential Rudy Giuliani presidency, he has no concept of what a president is nor to whom he is responsible.  In Rudy’s mind the executive gets all the credit, and none of the blame, and without this ability to admit culpability, there can be no self checking, no self correcting.

In other words, Rudy will continue the current administration’s policy of forging ahead without any care towards the true responsibilities of the office, without employing responsibile policies, and without employing a healthy respect for his employers, us.

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