There is one thing that Democratic presidential candidates can be thankful for in this holiday season: The Republican primary field.
You can always count on the Republican Party to cannibalize its best prospects. The conservative destruction of John McCain, a man who was the strongest possibility of all candidates, began eight years ago, and he has never gotten over it.
And does anyone know why Fred Thompson is running? In most of his speeches, he just seems vaguely bored. Did he not know what he was getting into? He is managing to make manikin-Mitt Romney look vigorous.
With Sam Brownback out of the race, Mike Huckabee is holding down the conservative soul of the primary, but so few people are paying attention that it doesn’t seem to matter.
But perhaps the most prevalent error in analysis made is that Rudy Giuliani poses any substantive threat to the Democrats. His polling numbers are formidable, but he is a candidate that voters like even less with each passing day, a situation that is exactly reversed for Democratic candidates like Hillary Clinton.
Joe Biden hit the nail on the head when he characterized everything Giuliani says as “a noun, a verb and 9/11.” Giuliani has been able to work Sept. 11, 2001, into even the most arcane of policy statements.
The reason for this is simple: Giuliani has nothing else to say but “9/11.” He has succeeded in making great hay by happening to be mayor during the terrorist attack.
Let me be honest - he did do some great things in the aftermath of 9/11. He portrayed an image of strength and resolve that was very comforting to America during the months after the attack.
That being said, once the media stopped snapping so many pictures, Giuliani sold out every “strong” statement he made after 9/11. Most prevalently, he completely abandoned rescue workers.
Giuliani accepted accolades for being a hero of 9/11, all the while turning his back on the people who actually acted to revive and heal New York after the towers went down. Giuliani’s disrespect for rescue workers was so extreme that the National Firefighter’s Union did not even invite him to its endorsement debate, saying in a March 2007 prepared statement, “The disrespect that he has exhibited to our ... fallen FDNY brothers ... in the wake of that tragic day has not been forgiven or forgotten.”
From his “scoop-and-dump” operation, which instituted an expedited clean-up of Ground Zero so he could pretend progress was being made with no respect or regard for the fallen firefighters still buried in the rubble, to his purposeful rejection of health benefits for rescue workers suffering from respiratory ailments, “America’s Mayor” clearly just didn’t care about the rescue workers’ memories or legacies.
And the other big Giuliani claim-to-fame? Cleaning up New York City. Never mind the New York crime decrease coincided with a national drop in crime spurred by the implementation of the Biden Crime Bill, or that New York’s “progress” on crime was slower then that of many other American cities during the same period. He did, however, clean the graffiti off the walls in Grand Central - once again, a superficial fix to a much more serious problem.
Giuliani is very concerned with how things look. He is very good at press junkets and making a nice photo-op, but even a cursory glance over the lack of substance of his record shows how weak he is as a candidate. Whoever the Democratic candidate ends up being, they will have no trouble unraveling the myth that is Giuliani’s “strong” resume as mayor of New York.
Roddy Flynn is a senior in the School of Public Affairs and a liberal columnist for The Eagle.