Considering the brazen politicizing of everything it touches, it wasn’t surprising in 2004 when the Republican National Convention was moved from August to early September and was held in New York. Tacky, offensive, manipulative are adjectives that didn’t even begin to cover the blatant politicizing of 9/11 by the Republican Party.
Of course this wasn’t shocking to anyone. The Republicans use 9/11 to hide behind every bad decision and power grab. Their propaganda convinced a majority of Americans that Iraq was involved with the terrorist attacks that occurred that day. Even now- after reports and more reports definitively stating that Iraq was not involved with 9/11 period, end of sentence, end of debate- there are some of my fellow citizens that seem too dense to absorb that fact. These are the same folks that are not concerned about the free and fancy way that President Bush plays with the Constitution but who were in the lynch mob demanding the head of President Clinton for lying about extramarital sexual acts. Now- let’s see are their any Republicans that lie about sex? Calling Senators Craig and Vitter- your number is up!
But I digress- 9/11 has been the central part of a propaganda machine that the Bush administration developed to turn Executive Power to monarchical power and to summarily attempt to dismantle the Constitution. I can just hear W. at night pining away for those good old days that the Romanovs had before that pesky revolution in Russia. W. and Nicholas II have about the same grasps on the world’s realities. If only the White House was the Winter Palace and the President’s Administration was the Imperial Court, W. would be one happy camper. Of course he wouldn’t want caviar and champagne in his Winter Palace, he would be servin’ up “dogs”, “burgers” and “messes o’ ribs”; call him the Crawford Czar.
All of this shouldn’t have surprised anybody who is senescent – after all Bush’ brain was Karl Rove and his tactics and his ability to spin and create propaganda based on the politics of fear were well known. So 9/11 being used to scare the pants off the nation to keep a strong hold on power was no surprise and became part of the Bush administration’s fabric.
It shouldn’t be so surprising that the Republicans are so willing and eager to use the grief and tragedy of 9/11 for their own gain. It is tasteless, tacky and it seems like the Republicans will stoop pretty low. Just look at my fellow Cornell alum Ann Coulter- an embarrassment to that campus high above Cayuga’s waters- when she attacked 9/11 widows. “These broads are millionaires, lionized on TV and in articles about them, reveling in their status as celebrities and stalked by grief-arazzies. I have never seen people enjoying their husbands’ death so much.” How thoughtful and respectful! NOT! But that about sums it up- Republicans have no souls, they only have political calculus in their hearts.
But now we have a more shameless 9/11 whore than the Bushies ever dared to be- Rudy. The former mayor of New York has completely defined his presidential campaign by 9/11. In the Giuliani campaign it is 9 11 24 7. Is there a speech or a debate where Rudy doesn’t evoke that day’s tragedy? He even had the effrontery to state that he was down at Ground Zero longer than many of the rescue workers and others who worked on “the pile” and were breathing in toxic air.
Never mind the fact that many firefighters are furious with Rudy. Never mind the fact that Rudy was advised to move the disaster control center from the World Trade Center to a Brooklyn location after the first WTC bombing. Ironically after the towers collapsed it was moved that the exact location that had been suggested years earlier.
But Mr. Giuliani “appeared” to be taking charge in the days after 9/11. Of course the nation rallied around New York which helped. If only Mayor Ray Nagin had the same support for his city after Katrina. I won’t go on a diatribe about the difference in race and class that is inherent between stock brokers and impoverished residents of New Orleans.
It was those photo ops that are the central part of Giuliani’s campaign. Face it- Rudy wasn’t that popular as a mayor until after 9/11. Did he rally the city after the attacks? No doubt; not moving the disaster control center, his poor choice in his partnership with Bernard Karik- a man who was revealed to be quite shady with just a modicum of investigation, and his abrogation of responsibility to the fire fighters, rescue workers and others who have fallen ill due, in part, to his policies notwithstanding.
But anything good he did in the 9/11 aftermath to help the city has been overshadowed by his shameless use of that day and the memory of those who died that day for his own personal gain- both through his consulting firm (Giuliani Partners) and now through his presidential campaign.
The most brazen and tacky use of 9/11 was in Giuliani’s recent New York Times ad where he attacks Senator Hillary Clinton. Now don’t get my wrong- I thought that MoveOn.Org’s “General Betray Us” ad was in poor taste and didn’t help the argument that antiwar folks aren’t a bunch of knee jerk reactionary nut bags. We aren’t all like that- not even the majority is like that. It was a bad ad. But Giuliani’s ad was more offensive and I guess someone thought it was subtle- but it wasn’t.
At the top of the ad was a quote from Senator Clinton’s statement (that means “question” in Senate-speak) to General Petraeus during the Senate hearing this past Tuesday. Senator Clinton stated that the General’s description of the Iraqi situation required “the willing suspension of disbelief”. A great quote I must admit. But the Giuliani ad used this quote, along with an insert of the MoveOn.org ad to suggest that Senator Clinton was not patriotic because she didn’t swallow the General’s assessment hook, line and sinker. In the attribution of the quote, the ad read “Hillary Clinton, 9/11/2007”.
Don’t get me wrong- I don’t think that there was anything wrong with that quote, it was intelligent and wasn’t the usual second grader language that many Republicans seem to use to pander to their yahoo base. But I wonder if Mr. Giuliani would have used the date of that quote in the ad if it hadn’t been 9/11? Actually- I don’t wonder- I know. He used that date shamelessly as he has throughout his campaign.
If Giuliani wants to honor the memory of those killed on that sad day, he should be looking for a way to get us out of Iraq and to alter our strategy on terrorism from a military action to a law enforcement action- like the Israelis do. Well- maybe Giuliani shouldn’t be trusted to make it a law enforcement issue; he might bring back his sleazy pal Bernard Karik.
I can only hope that Rudy’s wrapping himself in the mantle of 9/11 backfires- after all his leadership was more veneer than substance. And haven’t we had enough of veneer over substance?