I was headed up the 57 North to a client meeting today when I saw an electronic billboard at the Honda Pond advertise an upcoming appearance by Rudy Giuliani, a bastion of Republican family values right there with Newt Gingrich (three marriages) and Rush Limbaugh (four marriages), etc, etc.
Matt Cunningham/Jubal posted a comment reply to a comment I made about Mitt Romney’s recent visit to the OC. Matt, looking at Giuliani as a potential GOP presidential candidate in 2008, pointed out how great the Mayor was in turning around NYC and in the wake of 9/11. Methinks Matt gave hizzhonnor way too much credit.
And there’s a new book about about Rudy and 9/11 that blows the lid off of Giuliani’s record leading up to 9/11. I’ve cut and pasted it below (from Newsday):
9/11 ‘hero’ image undone
August 23, 2006
It’s the unexamined question of 9/11: What if Rudy Giuliani wasn’t quite the hero everybody thought?For nearly five years now, we’ve all lived in the glow of “America’s mayor,” that soot-covered father figure who rose to meet the greatest challenge of all. Rudy standing firm in the terror aftermath. Rudy guiding a rattled city back to its feet.There was no denying this much in those early days of confusion: New York’s grim-faced mayor looked a whole lot more in charge than America’s deer-in-the-headlights president.
But what if Rudy’s take-charge image was mostly a load of bravado and PR? What if the actual decisions he made – before, during and after the terror attacks – were directly responsible for the city’s inability to deal effectively with crucial aspects of the crisis?Well, it’s about time someone opened that impolite inquiry.
Hold on tight, now! One of the most carefully guarded myths of 9/11 is about to be shattered for good.
“Grand Illusion,” the book is called. “The Untold Story of Rudy Giuliani and 9/11.” It is written by Wayne Barrett of the Village Voice and Dan Collins of CBS.com, two of New York’s shrewdest investigative reporters. Published this week by HarperCollins, “Grand Illusion” will forever alter how the world sees Rudy Giuliani’s place in America’s deadliest terror attacks. You can bet national political reporters will be combing though these chapters as the 2008 presidential campaign season revs up.
With dozens of exclusive and previously unreleased interviews, Barrett and Collins show how the ambitious ex-mayor has spent recent years revising his own truth of 9/11 – and profiting handsomely from it. Casting himself as a prescient terror hawk who wisely prepared his city for the inevitable, Giuliani in fact ignored repeated warnings from the experts, including his own commissioners and aides.Instead of confronting the looming danger, they tell how he grew increasingly distracted by pet projects, political turf wars and an extraordinarily messy personal life.
Slowly, the little decisions added up.Equipping the police and fire departments with incompatible radios from a politically wired vendor. Overruling the warnings of his subordinates and installing the city’s emergency command center inside the World Trade Center – “the only bunker ever built in the clouds.””
The facts – depressing but unavoidable – were that Giuliani had allowed the city to meet the disaster of September 11 unprepared in a myriad of ways,” Barrett and Collins write.When the planes finally hit, the mayor was great on camera, the authors say – but not so great marshaling a coordinated city response.Instead of directing his own confused troops, Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik was serving as Rudy’s personal bodyguard.So who was actually in charge in the crucial early hours?”I don’t know who was directing,” current police Commissioner Ray Kelly told Barrett and Collins. “I literally don’t.”
Barrett and Collins got exclusive access to some eye-popping 9/11 Commission interviews that have never been publicly aired before and weren’t supposed to be for another three years. And they convinced quite a few of the central players to talk on the record, amazingly frankly.No. 2 cop Louis Anemone recalled how he tried to get the mayor interested in a citywide anti-terror plan as early as 1998. “Rudy glazed over,” Anemone said. “We never had any discussion about security at the World Trade Center. We never even had a drill or exercise there. … There was just a lack of recognition of the problem at City Hall.”
It was probably inevitable, Collins and Barrett conclude, that America would go looking for a ready-made hero at such a difficult time. “The disaster had been so complete that there were remarkably few candidates for the role,” they write.
Bush’s undisclosed-location fly-around “was hardly the stuff of legend.”By contrast, the authors say, Giuliani “embodied the resolve of the nation.” His “quick response and personal fearlessness … provided a clean and reassuring narrative. …
When he assured New York that things would come out all right, he was blessedly believable.”
That was almost five years ago.Then a couple of journalists began to dig.
Copyright 2006 Newsday Inc.