Giuliani No Hero to These 9/11 Victims

Rudy Guliani was greeted with heckles by families of 9/11 victims today as he as he appeared for his testimony before the 9/11 Commission:

Outraged relatives of World Trade Center victims heckled former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani on Wednesday as their hopes that he would be grilled by the Sept. 11 commission faded in the face of gentle questioning and effusive praise from panel members. "My son was murdered because of your incompetence!" shouted Sally Regenhard, whose firefighter son died in the trade center. Seated three rows behind Giuliani, she jabbed her finger at the former mayor and waved a sign that read "Fiction" as he gave the city's emergency response a glowing review.

Giuliani finished his testimony and abruptly left the auditorium minutes later, leaving many family members upset that they received few answers. Monica Gab*ielle, who lost her husband, Richard, called it a "lost opportunity." "This was not a time for Rudy Giuliani to talk about all the great things he did on 9/11," she said. "He can save that for his talking tours. He should have told us what went wrong and what we should do now."

Why are they so angry?

...the activist relatives ...have become a voice of dissent over his administration's emergency planning and response. Their complaints have been supported by a growing mass of critical findings on gaps in command, control and communications among New York's agencies in charge of emergency response....The commission released two reports that mark the most comprehensive probe to date of New York's response on Sept 11. The findings detailed a list of failings including poor communication, gulfs in cooperation between police and firefighters and grave deficiencies in the city's 911 emergency telephone network.

The Commission grilled members of his former team at earlier hearings, but today seemed to give Guliani a pass:

The harsh questioning of Giuliani's former team was a sharp contrast to the universal praise that commission members heaped on the former mayor Wednesday. His positive assessment of such hotly debated topics as the 911 phone system and gaps in fire and police communications went virtually unchallenged.

Guliani is no hero to us. Never has been. We'd like to see word of this criticism of him spread as we have a nagging fear that if Cheney is dropped from the Bush ticket, Bush would pick Guliani to replace him. Even if he doesn't we think a Guliani-Hillary race is a distinct possibility in 2008 and we'd like to do whatever we can to dim his chances.

As Republican pollster and supporter Frank Luntz once told the Washington Post,

He beat crime, he beat drugs, he beat unemployment, he beat welfare, he beat trash in the streets, he beat the squeegee guy.

Sure he did, he put everyone in jail. Civil liberties disappeared and police brutality and the "blue wall of silence" ran rampant under his watch. Not to mention, the credit for the reduced crime rate should have gone to his police commissioner, Bill Bratton. The New York Times reported on April 7, 2000:

Mr. Giuliani, whose record as a crime fighter has lifted him to two victories in New York City and positioned him as a formidable Republican challenger to Mrs. Clinton statewide, has even suffered a steep decline in the way voters, statewide and in New York City, judge his actions on his signature issue: crime reduction. The number of New York City residents who disapprove of his handling of crime has jumped almost 30 points since fall, to 50 percent in this latest poll, and a majority believe that Mr. Giuliani's law enforcement policies have contributed to an increase in police brutality.

....An increasing number of voters do not believe that Mr. Giuliani cares about the "needs and problems of people like yourself," a measure on which Mrs. Clinton continues to score highly. About 35 percent of respondents said that Mr. Giuliani was trying to divide people, as Mrs. Clinton has repeatedly charged, compared with 40 percent who said that the mayor was seeking to bring people together. Two-thirds of the voters said Mrs. Clinton was trying to bring people together. By an overwhelming margin, respondents said compromise was a an important attribute for a senator, and Mrs. Clinton was seen as the more adept compromiser of the two.

In addition, Mr. Giuliani's standing with black voters, which has never been strong, is weaker than ever; the number of New York City black voters who said they approved of Mr. Giuliani's job rating was so low as to be virtually unmeasurable. That could prove to be a meaningful finding, particularly if it turns out, as some Democrats now believe possible, that Mr. Giuliani's presence on the ballot might encourage a spike in turnout in black neighborhoods.

Here's Steve Gilliard, writing for Daily Kos, on the Guliani-Nathan nupitals. Here's artist Robert Lederman, who ended up in lawsuits over his painted Guiliani-as-Hitler signs:

The purpose of these signs is to draw people's attention to the similarity between some of Giuliani's policies and those of Adolf Hitler and other repressive dictators. They specifically comment on the Mayor's racism; his attacks on freedom of speech; his habit of ordering his critics arrested; his war on the homeless and the poor; his policy of confiscating and forfeiting private property regardless of due process; his "bunker mentality"; his attacks on media freedom; his notion of issuing hollowpoint bullets to the police; his "work shall make you free" workfare initiative; his Hitler-like obsession with stadium building; his desire to fingerprint and take DNA samples from all newborn children;.... [his persecution of] gays, and his privatization and corporatization agendas to name but a few.

Ok, Lederman is a little extreme, but you get the point.

[Update: See also Sisyphys Shrugged on what Giuliani did wrong.]

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