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Those reading this weblog outside New York should know that people in this city hate Rudolph Giuliani. Before 9/11/01 he was a nudzh whose tenure was memorable mainly for the bullying of sidewalk vendors and people dancing in bars, and racism. His current standing derives from looking televisually calm on 9/11 while Bush flew cluelessly around the country--it's an act that played well outside the five boroughs but no one here was impressed, because we know what a camera hog he is. As Al Sharpton said shortly after that horrible day, "The people didn't come together because of the mayor, they came together because of the victims. They would have come together if Bozo had been mayor." (Some people thought that was "too much" at the time.)
So imagine a collective "aah" of pleasure this week as Giuliani's personal pick for Fatherland Security, Bernard Kerik, went down in flames amid a host of accusations of...irregularities. Here's what the New York Press said a few days ago, when it looked liked Kerik would sail through confirmation hearings with minimum press scrutiny:
But it needs to be said: Not only is Kerik unqualified for the Homeland Security post, the politics behind his candidacy are built upon a myth—the myth of Rudy Giuliani and 9/11. Sustaining this myth requires keeping a few facts from bubbling up the memory hole, such as: Rudy's headless chicken act on the morning of the attacks; his idiotic decision to place the city's emergency management center—and illegal fuel tanks—in WTC 7; his prompt melting of the wreckage, thus destroying the evidence from the biggest crime scene in American history; and his baffling negligence in preparing for a likely second attack on the towers following the Trade Center bombing of 1993, as evidenced by the lack of coordinated planning between agencies and widespread equipment dysfunction on 9/11.
The Rudy-9/11 myth is crucial to Kerik's nomination, because without this myth there is no Rudy the National Player, and without Rudy the National Player there is no nomination of brusque outsider Bernie Kerik to a major cabinet post in Washington. Rudy has always been upfront about his hand in Kerik's rise from pony-tailed narc to NYPD chief. And just as it was Rudy—and 9/11—that allowed Kerik to enrich himself in the terror biz, it was Rudy who put Kerik's name on President Bush's lips last week.