Setting The Bar Waaaaay Low

Ken AshfordElection 2008Leave a Comment

Real Clear Politics, defending Rudy Giuliani from Giuliani’s critics:

Look at this way: Has any credible person or group come forward to claim that Giuliani’s handling of 9/11 and its aftermath on the whole left New York worse off? Setting aside the charges of one aggrieved group (and the firefighters are a big one, admittedly), who is claiming New York suffered more than it benefited from Giuliani’s leadership in the days and weeks after 9/11?

That made me laugh.  Yes, things got better after 9/11 in New York on the whole over the course of time, but then again, how could they have gotten worse?  And more to the point, how much credit can be given to Giuliani for things getting better?

Maybe Rudy should use that as a campaign slogan: "Vote for Rudy, because 9/12 was better than 9/11!"

That said, there ARE specific complaints about Rudy’s action surrounding 9/11 besides those of the firemen.  Talk to someone stricken with "Ground Zero" respoiratory illness, who listened to Rudy’s assurances (echoed by others) at the time that "the air quality is safe and acceptable".  I would suggest that THEY are worse off, even if the whole of New York isn’t.

Or how about the fact that Rudy, prior to 9/11, placed the city’s emergency command center in the World Trade Center complex, against the advice of fire and police officials who realized that the WTC was a target (remember the 1993 bombing) — a decision that ended up costing lives (as critics said it would)?

Sure — Rudy, the mayor of 9/11, didn’t flummux the 9/11 recovery in the same way that Bush flummoxed the Katrina response.  But then again, he didn’t do much either, because the response to 9/11 was national in scale. 

So, yes, Rudy didn’t make New York worse on the whole following 9/11.  But that’s only because its very very difficult to botch up a an entire city simply by attending funerals of the fallen.