"Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you”


Friday, July 6, 2007

Manhattan Madness

It's been sixty years since a New York politician secured the presidential nomination of a major party when Thomas Dewey famously "won" then lost against Democratic incumbent Harry Truman in 1948. For three generations New York candidates have long been anathema to the mainstream American voter, with Gotham politicians viewed as too liberal and urbane for middle American tastes.

With the real possibility that Americans may enter the voting booth in November 2008 faced with a choice between two OR THREE(?!!) New Yorkers as the next president is yet more confirmation that 9/11 changed everything.

Of course, Rudy Giuliani is basing his entire candidacy on the "strong leader" image he garnered from the national role thrust upon him on 9-11. Running as a social liberal in a party dominated by religious conservatives, his candidacy would have been a non-starter without this "Strong On Terror" label.

While it remains to be seen whether his surprisingly strong early support from the party's evangelical voters can be sustained over the course of the campaign, some in the MSM are wondering whether his campaign can get all the way to the White House based on this one message. The Boston Globe ran an article this week, "Giuliani Watchers Wonder if He'll Overplay the 9/11 Card," in which pollster John Zogby states:

"He really defined leadership in the aftermath of 9/11, and that is something that is uniquely his own," said John Zogby , an independent pollster based in upstate New York. "But he does need a second act, possibly even a third act. This is where we get into uncharted waters."

Hillary's presidential ambitions certainly pre-date the terrorist attacks, but she also hasn't hesitated to use the tragic events to burnish her national security credentials, as witnessed in her statement during the second democratic presidential debate:

"I am a Senator from New York. I have lived with the aftermath of 9/11. And I have seen firsthand the terrible damage that can be inflicted on our country by a small band of terrorists who are intent upon foisting their way of life and using suicide bombers and suicidal people to carry out their agenda."
Both politicians' opportunistic (and crass, in my opinion) embrace of a national tragedy that ALL Americans experienced could come back to haunt them. Will Americans finally grow tired of politicians using the tragic events of 9/11 for personal political gain?

Maybe the one American Rudy should be most concerned about offending is the current resident of Gracie Mansion. After all, isn't Bloomberg the leader most responsible for rebuilding a wounded city? I wonder how he views Rudy's relentless and shameless use of 9/11 to advance his political career?

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