Monday, August 13, 2007

"I Was A 9/11 Hero Once Myself!"

First, there was Mitt Romney equating his son's service to his presidential ambitions with actual military service to the country. That was merely nauseating.

Not to be outdone in the "The Man, the Mitt, the Legend" department, rival Republican Rudy Giuliani boasted this past week that he is just the same as the tireless, heroic rescue workers at the World Trade Center. And thus we pass from the merely nauseating to the actual act of throwing up.

"I am one of them," Giuliani told reporters at a Cincinnati Reds baseball game.

"This is not a mayor or a governor or a President who's sitting in an ivory tower," Giuliani said. "I was at Ground Zero as often, if not more, than most of the workers. I was there working with them. I was exposed to exactly the same things they were exposed to. So in that sense, I'm one of them."

Oh, in that sense.

In other words, in the sense that I am perfectly willing to say virtually anything imaginable, however implausible, inappropriate, insulting and untrue. Just that like that loathsome lizard of a liar, Mitt Romney.

And for the record, many of those that actually were working at Ground Zero, and actually were exposed to horrible, toxic shit, and actually have been worrying about what they might eventually come down with--those people actually were insulted by St. Rudy's effing-effrontery.

"I personally find that very, very insulting," said Marvin Bethea, who suffered a stroke, post-traumatic stress disorder and breathing problems after responding to the attacks.

Who, exactly, elected Rudy Giuliani "America's Mayor", anyway? Certainly not the voters of New York City, who had so utterly tired of Giuliani's tenure that, on September 10, as Giuliani himself knows only too well, his political career at least in New York was effectively over. Like countless others--including New Yorkers--I have nothing but respect for Giuliani's grace under the pressure and fire of that horrific day. But I have nothing but disgust for his appropriating 9/11 like a personal franchise, and for his milking it for the millions that have made him a hugely wealthy man. Tell me how Giuliani's exploitation of 9/11 is any different than the rankest war profiteering?

Hey, embellishment and pandering in politics is nothing new, and odds are, whether it was ever recorded or not, George Washington himself likely muttered something in broken dutch to some farmers in Pennsylvania, in the same smarmy and cynically deliberate way that candidates today would easily understand.

But there's pandering, and then there's pandering...

My personal favorite all-time pandering anecdote involves the late Minnesota Senator and former U.S. Vice-President Hubert H. Humphrey. In his "Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail," the late-great Gonzo Journalist Hunter Thompson swore that Humphrey, as a presidential candidate in 1972, said a most remarkable thing late one night after one of those "seven states in one day" days. Speaking to a group of Haddasah women, Thompson claimed Humphrey cried out at one point in his speech, "Why, I was a Jew once myself!"

Sounds absurd, right? Any more absurd than the inanity that Giuliani and Romney are tossing around these days? Before the right group, properly lubed up by the moment, either one of them is capable of that legendary Humphrey-ism.

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