Friday, January 08, 2010


Count me among those who think Rudy Giuliani said something he genuinely believes on some level in an interview with George Stephanopoulos this morning:

... I spoke to the former mayor of New York City this morning on GMA, who assailed the Obama administration's decisions on national security.

"What he [Obama] should be doing is following the right things that Bush did -- one of the right things he did was treat this as a war on terror. We had no domestic attacks under Bush. We've had one under Obama,” Giuliani said....

Giuliani seems to have forgotten about the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and shoe bomber Richard Reid....

I really don't think Giuliani is deliberately uttering a falsehood. Similarly, I don't think Mary Matalin was trying to lie when she said on December 27:

"We inherited a recession from President Clinton and we inherited the most tragic attack on our own soil in our nation's history."

A lot of metaphors apply here: The gentleman's C. The mulligan. Salvation through faith rather than good works. Suffice it to say that Giuliani, Matalin, and their ideological soul mates heard Bush (and Cheney) say so many times that they'd kept America safe, and they believe Bush (and Cheney) sincerely mean this whenever they say it, so they're now at the point where the narrative has taken over their brains (needless to say, it dovetails perfectly with the notion that all evil is Democratic) and thus they believe that Bush did keep us safe, or if he didn't on a couple of regrettable days he sure meant to and deserves a do-over for the days he failed, or if he didn't keep us safe before 9/12 it doesn't count because that's before he got the terror-hating religion, and you can't judge a saved man by the sins he committed before he began to believe, or he's a gentleman (i.e., not a filthy Democrat) and people of breeding don't get failing grades from people of breeding.

I'd call it an emperor's-new-clothes effect: for these people, a Republican presidency is invested with such imperial grandeur that if His Majesty says he's dressed in raiments of success in the war against terrorism, then those raiments surely must be the finest ever worn -- even if His Majesty is, in fact, naked.

See also the notion -- sincerely believed, I think, by most right-wingers -- that the Republican Party needs to get back to principles of limited government and fiscal prudence ... just like that greatest of Republican heroes, Ronald Reagan.

(Via Steve Benen.)


UPDATE: Stephanopoulos posts a follow-up:

Through his spokesman, Rudy Giuliani has clarified the remarks he made this morning on GMA regarding terrorist attacks on the United States under Presidents Bush and Obama.

The Mayor's spokesman says that the remark "didn't come across as it was intended" and that Giuliani was "clearly talking post-9/11 with regards to Islamic terrorist attacks on our soil." ...

Like I said: mulligan.

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