March 9, 2007
Hey, America. Giuliani is sort of a jerk, remember?
The polls for the 2008 election are indicating that Giuliani has a good shot at getting the Republican nomination. Bush's continuing unpopularity is probably going to push the party back toward the center. And the disastrous mishandling of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was a huge bonus for Giuliani, who by comparison looked like a logistical and inspirational superman of a leader after 9/11.
But here's the thing. Most Americans that participate in polls aren't thinking very deeply about the 2008 election yet. When asked who they would vote for if they election were held today, their opinion of Giuliani is probably informed almost 100% by what they can remember seeing him say on TV from September 11-16, 2001. By the time the primaries come along, that positive image is going to be seven years old, the media will have had plenty of time to report on all the other stuff he's done, and my guess is that we'll all be reminded that Giuliani is actually a pretty unlikeable guy.
And that Rudy/Rudia drag incident from 1997 (see photo) might have been cute and whimsical in NYC, but as the National Standard (!) suggests, "When it comes to winning over GOP primary voters, if you can make it in New York, you can’t make it anywhere."
Today's papers offer a few reminders of how much this guy pissed people off when he was still Mayor. The International Association of Fire Fighters has written a letter to all members (representing 85% of firefighters nationwide) about his decision in November 2001 to limit the number of FDNY firefighters who could search for the remains of their colleagues to 25. They were mad as hell then, and they still are. An IAFF spokesman says, "The events of November 2001, we think, showed the true character of Rudy Giuliani, and we are going to make sure the firefighters of this country know that story." Makes playing the Hero of 9/11 angle pretty tough for old Rudy [see also The Onion's hilarious article from a few weeks ago, "Giuliani to Run for President of 9/11"].
The Times reminds us that Giuliani and NYPD weren't always so friendly, either. The nasty business between Giuliani and his former police commissioner Bill Bratton over who could claim responsibility for the crime reduction in the mid-90's led to Bratton's resignation, and it appears that the two men haven't talked since 1996. Until now. Giuliani is trying to make nice with Bratton, who is now the head of LAPD, I guess to try to shake his reputation for being a self-serving, paranoid, unreasonable jackass.
So he can enjoy the poll results now, but the days of looking like a hero just by wearing FDNY and NYPD baseball hats are over.
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