Not As Advertized

You’d need a lot more than a quick hyperlink or two to know that I’ve been highly skeptical of the Giuliani campaign from the onset.  Given that his record and his rhetoric seem to be located worlds apart from each other it would seem that only a cursory look would reveal the man for the sham that he is.

Alec McGuiness has more… a lot more.

Democrats, he said in July, have “the same bad judgment they had in the 1990s. They don’t see the threat. They don’t accept the threat.”

It is a powerful message coming from the man who won global acclaim for his calm and resolve after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. But it is undercut by Giuliani’s record as mayor and by his public statements about terrorism since the 1990s, which document an evolution in thinking that began with a mind-set similar to the one he criticizes today.

In presenting himself as the candidate most knowledgeable about terrorism, Giuliani stakes the same claim he used to build a successful consulting firm after leaving City Hall: that he is not only a strong leader in a crisis, but someone who was deeply engaged with the Islamic extremist threat long before planes hit the World Trade Center.

But for most of Giuliani’s career as a Department of Justice official, prosecutor and New York‘s chief executive, terrorism was a narrow aspect of his broader crime-fighting agenda, which was dominated by drug dealers, white-collar criminals and the Mafia. Giuliani expressed confidence that Islamic extremism could be contained through vigorous investigation by law enforcement agencies and prosecution in the court system — the same approach he now condemns.

His public warnings about the threat were infrequent. To the extent that he mentioned terrorism in his aborted run for the Senate in 2000, for example, it was to call for more spending on intelligence. Even in the weeks after Sept. 11, he framed the attacks in the language of crime, describing the hijackers as “insane murderers” and calling for restoration of the “rule of law.”

And strangely enough, that “bad judgement” that Rudy speaks of has actually yet to be proven bad.  While the option Rudy offers, permanent unending war, sprinkled with more than a liberal amount of tough talk has shown to make the World a more dangerous place, treating terrorism like crime went out the window the moment Bush took office, about nine months before the attacks of September 11th happened.

Even more interesting is that Rudy Giuliani, being a law enforcement professional himself, actually favored the criminal approach until, as the article points out, seemingly around 2004 when it became clear that Republican voters and Democratic voters differed on their opinions regarding how terrorism should be fought.

With Romney-esque agility, Rudy made the shift; disregarding all this stuff about prudence in labeling things as terrorism in order to protect Muslim Americans and to keep terrorist from winning, Rudy now had his party line.

People give him credit because he was a strong leader in the aftermath of those terrorist attacks. As the article points out, many believes it gave him special insight. But being a part of something only has value if you learn something useful from it, and the insight Rudy gained was not unique in the slightest.

He learned what every other Republican seemed to learn that day; politicking on fear actually works…

…just not on terrorists.

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