It seems that we at Wizbangblue have been devoting a lot of attention to Mitt Romney, John McCain and Fred Thompson. So in the interests of fairness, it is only right that we don't neglect the ultimate 9/11 candidate, Rudy Giuliani, who after all, is leading the other Republican challengers by 10 to 20 points, in the polls.
With this in mind, it is worthwhile to note the observations of Kevin Baker (author of the well-known 'City of Fire' trilogy of novels), about Rudy Giuliani in 'The Nation' in an article by Jon Weiner. Among the highlights that Baker cites, to be included in a upcoming essay in an August 'Harper's' edition are:
Giuliani's main claim to fame is his conduct immediately after 9/11. Many still remember his TV press conference the night of the attacks, when a reporter asked how many casualties there would be. Giuliani had a magnificent answer: "More than we can bear." Compared to what President Bush was saying, that was Shakespeare.
But what about the rest of his performance around 9/11?
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...
What if Giuliani he had been in his new command center on 9/11?
He was within a few minutes of dying right there that day, Baker said. Instead he ended up having to spend most of the 102 minutes between when the first plane hit and when the second tower came down simply walking around the area with staff members, looking for someplace to set up a new command center....
He very quickly took the disaster of 9/11 as a great opportunity, Baker told me. He proposed that his term in office be extended to give him more time to deal with things, and he tried to put his mistress of the time, who later became his third wife, Judith Nathan, in charge of a fund set up to give money to survivors and victims' families...
Before 9/11, one of the things that made Giuliani famous, in New York at least, was his success at getting the "squeegee-men" off the streets. Baker explained that "The scourge of the squeegee-men involved a couple of dozen homeless black guys with buckets and squeegees who would come up to cars at red lights near the tunnels and bridges and offer to clean your windshield, expecting some kind of tip in return. They were not terribly threatening people. Usually you could deflect them by tapping on the window and shaking your head. End of story.
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