A while back I wrote a post saying Rudy would never suffer because of his position on choice, that there were many other ways to show you were an authoritarian prick and Rudy was pretty well versed in all of them. The GOP is definitely a place where treating your wife like shit and having your kids hate you can work in your favor when it comes to pushing the “angry dad” archetype that wingnuts so love to grovel before. I also didn’t believe Bernie Kerick would cause him too much harm because everyone expects Republicans to be crooks, and that the ones most likely to land a stunning blow would be the firefighters.
I now think that’s wrong. I think Rudy’s going to be done in by Rudy, because I really don’t see how he walks this one back:
Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani said Friday that he misspoke when he said he spent as much time, if not more, at ground zero exposed to the same health risks as workers combing the site after the Sept. 11 attacks.
“I think I could have said it better,” he told nationally syndicated radio host Mike Gallagher. “You know, what I was saying was, ‘I’m there with you.’” The former New York mayor upset some firefighters and police officers when he said Thursday in Cincinnati that he 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,” he told reporters at a Los Angeles Dodgers-Cincinnati Reds baseball game.
Fire and police officials responded angrily, saying Giuliani did not do the same work as those involved in the rescue, recovery and cleanup from the 2001 terrorist attacks, which left many workers sick and injured.
I figured that with so much at stake, Rudy — or someone close to him — would have had the political instincts to at the very least come up with some kind of PR strategy to deal with the firefighters. And the firefighters, being a rather conservative bunch, would eventually find it in their best interest to get with the plan. It never occured to me that Rudy’s unbridled narcissism was so very unbridled that he had actually embroidered that whole “hero of 9/11″ crap to the point where he thought he was right there in the trenches the whole time with the firefighters himself, and moreover that he’d be stupid enough to say so publicly.
But amazingly, this is Rudy’s memory of the event now. And finding himself in a ditch of his own devising, he just cannot stop digging:
“There were people there less than me, people on my staff, who already have had serious health consequences, and they weren’t there as often as I was,” Giuliani said, “but I wasn’t trying to suggest a competition of any kind, which is the way it come across.”
Right. Only sissies get sick. Real Men don’t get sick, Rudy didn’t get sick, so stop your bellyaching.
Giuliani’s explanation further angered his ground zero critics, prompting several to issue a statement demanding an apology.
“He is such a liar, because the only time he was down there was for photo ops with celebrities, with politicians, with diplomats,” said deputy fire chief Jimmy Riches, who spent months digging for his firefighter son.
Rudy just can not stop antagonizing the firefighters. If 9/11 is the temple upon with all GOP fearmongering is based, the firefighters are the statue of Moroni on the top. You cannot write yourself into that particular myth as a hero if they are running around loudly calling you a candyass at every turn. I know the authoritarian cargo cultists have a seemingly inexhaustable talent for revisionist history to show their would-be iron men in a flattering aspect, but Rudy is asking them to chuck a key tenet, a primary article of wingnut canon as he orders the faithful to scoff at the firefighters as just a bunch of bellyaching grandmas.
You can’t have both, and I really don’t see how Rudy and his brobdingnagian ego wriggle out of this one.