Friday, September 21, 2007


A couple of quotes from the big article on Giuliani and 9/11 in today's New York Times -- first, former senator (and semi-Democrat) Bob Kerrey:

"Giuliani did what the president didn't do," he said. "He went to all those funerals. And that grieving got us back to normal."

And this former city official:

"That time was absolutely the best and worst of Rudy," said Frederick A. O. Schwarz Jr., the city's former corporation counsel under Mayor Edward I. Koch. "Rudy stood up strong and rallied us. But that confidence created the very dangerous idea that we couldn’t survive without him."

Maybe I'm reading too much into Kerrey's words, but it seems to me as if he's saying that people couldn't have gotten through the grieving process if Giuliani hadn't been there with them. But is that really the point when public officials join in grieving?

It seems to me that the point of their grieving, in a siutuation like this, is to show that they take what's happened to us seriously -- if we don't see that, we can't trust them to represent us. It's not because we simply can't grieve without an arm around the shoulder from an important person.

And as for what Schwarz says, yeah, people were talking about extending Giuliani's term past December 31, when a new mayor was scheduled to be sworn in, but that's mostly because Giuliani's supporters were talking about it, and spreading the notion in the media. If it seemed reasonable to some people, it may be because in late September the effort involved in a mayoral transition seemed hard to imagine, with everything else we were going through. But we soon got over that. Apart from the odious Adam Sandler, who (as the article reminds us) at an October fund-raiser rhymed "Giuliani" with "why must you be gone-ee?" I don't know of anyone who actually had the "idea that we couldn’t survive without him." But people who rub shoulders with alpha dogs think the world is all about alpha dogs, and Giuliani, post-9/11, was more than happy to encourage that notion -- and he still is.

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