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I’m puzzled sometimes about how the vacuous chattering class of commentators form their political views. Do they come prepackaged and delivered by K Street lobbyists? A good example might be the marketing of Rudy Giuliani. “This man owns 9/11” says MSNBC’s Chris Matthews? True most New Yorkers formed a positive view of Rudy’s performance on 9/11. but that was always mixed with a lot of questions about his management style and interaction, especially with the firefighters and police who did the brunt of the work.
On Sunday, the New York Times ran a significant article taking a closer look at how Rudy Giuliani interacted with the first responders, and what they think of Rudy the presidential candidate. Somehow, I think the Giuliani campaign is going to have long-term troubles with this.
Interviews with more than 50 firefighters and department officers show a mix of admiration and disdain for the former mayor. Many firefighters praise his years in office, citing his success in reducing crime and his leadership after the terrorist attacks. Others harbor a resentment for what they describe as his poor treatment of the department before and after Sept. 11.
Some still speak bitterly about a contract that left firefighters without a raise for two years. Some also say Mr. Giuliani has exaggerated the role he played after the terrorist attacks, casting himself as a hero for political gain. The harshest sentiments stem from Mr. Giuliani’s decision nearly two months after 9/11 to reduce the number of firefighters who were allowed to search for colleagues in the rubble — a move that he partially reversed but that still infuriates many firefighters.
As his candidacy proceeds, Mr. Giuliani’s work on and after Sept. 11, his greatest strength in the eyes of many voters, will be scrutinized. The firefighters’ interviews indicate that in New York, at least, a critical evaluation has begun.
“I think they assume that we all love him,” said Robert Keys, 48, a battalion chief and 25-year department veteran, referring to people outside New York. “He wound up with this ‘America’s Mayor’ image. Those of us who had to deal with him before and after 9/11 don’t share that same sentiment.”
“He probably assumes that we think he’s great,” says another. But the knocks on Rudy are pretty consistent. They make him out to be a lot like George W. Bush in terms of temperament and management style, but minus the charm and grace.
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”