Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Been Dinking Brew For Breakfast

Not me, but I think that Chris Cillizza has been. Before going to work for the WAPO, he wrote for Roll Call and before that, he worked for the Cook Political Report. The man knows, or else should know, Washington and foreign policy. It's safe to assume that he's heard of Michael Scheuer (any cable news watcher would recognize Scheuer's face) and that he has some familiarity with the 9-11 Report. So I suspect that Cillizza had downed a few when he wrote:
A High Note for Giuliani

Giuliani is always on his best footing when talking about the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and their aftermath.

After Rep. Ron Paul (Texas) essentially insinuated that America had provoked those attacks, Giuliani leapt in. "That is an extraordinary statement," he said. "I've heard some pretty absurd explanations for Sept. 11."

He went on to call on Paul to rescind his statement, which the congressman chose not to do.

It was a rare moment of raw emotion for Giuliani, and a good one.

Cillizza omitted the fact that Giuliani claimed to have never heard "that one" before -- not a good message from Rudy. He's telling us that he either cares and knows as little about foreign policy as George Bush did before invading Iraq or that he's a thoroughly dishonest opportunist. I'm inclined to believe the latter for reasons that have nothing to do with mind-reading. The transcript lists it as cross talk, but Giuliani could clearly be heard saying that terrorism would never make him waiver in his support for Israel. Ron Paul didn't say anything about Israel, but Michael Scheuer did.

Yeah, I'm sure that the song references have been played to death elsewhere, but how often do you get to make fun of a WAPO columnist and Republican presidential candidate at the same time that you make allusions to two songs that came out the year you graduated from high school/started college? I didn't think that one was quite that old, but then again, I also didn't think that Giuliani could ever make me feel nostalgic.

cross-posted at The Katrinacrat Blog

Somewhat embarrassed update: I had no idea just worked to death the whole "Message to Rudy" thing was until I did a google search.

It always amazes me what passes for qualifications these days.

Being attacked by terrorists makes Giuliani an expert on terrorists and their motives.

Apparently, however, not qualified enough since he still links it to Iraq in his reply, and Iraq had no link to 9-11, which was carried out by Saudis with backing from Saudi oil money. But what do I know, I just read the news.
Forget the "content" here.

Of course it was pure opportunism-- and brilliantly played by Rudy. He seized the opportunity to make the admirable Paul (who was trying to explain a complicated topic in 1 minute) seem like a crackpot. Rudy interrupted the course of the debate, mentioned that he had survived 9/11, twisted what Paul meant, criticized it, received applause, and then invited Paul to retract his statement.

Rudy saw an opening where he could press an advantage, and instinctively took it. It was like a predator on the hunt when he loses cortical control-- the instincts take over, and the weak are victimized. Honestly, that moment was the political version of animal kingdom.

The reporting there is awful because it is misleading in one place, and totally false in another.

"Giuliani is always on his best footing when talking about the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and their aftermath."

Giuliani wasn't talking about 9/11-- he was finding an acceptable way to bully Paul, the consummate outsider. This can be properly understood as an adult version of a schoolyard smackdown-- only in suits and with words. Paul barely knew what hit him. He's trying to explain history while Giuliani is questioning his grasp of reality, and insinuating that he blames 9/11 on America.

Giuliani, actually, is at his best when going off the cuff. He responds instinctively, quickly, and clearly-- in verbal combat, he's a nasty little man. He doesn't need time to find his words or figure out a line of attack.

Remove the foreign policy implications from what Rudy said in his exchange with Paul. They can only cloud what was really going on there.

"Rep. Ron Paul (Texas) essentially insinuated that America had provoked those attacks"

Actually Paul was being descriptive, but Rudy made everyone think that Paul said we "provoked" 9/11.

"It was a rare moment of raw emotion for Giuliani, and a good one."

Giuliani is at his best (and worst) when he vents the "raw emotion".
I agree with what you say oyster, except for a couple of points. For one, raw emotion implies genuinely felt emotion. In a later post, Cillizza even said:

"Following a comment by Rep. Ron Paul (Texas) that insinuated the United States had provoked terrorists into launching the Sept. 11 attacks, a visibly angry Giuliani interrupted to question that "extraordinary statement" and asked Paul to recant it. An eruption of applause followed. It was a rare moment of genuine emotion amid the heavily scripted answers"

I suppose he was writing as a blogger, but respectable bloggers shouldn't be intellectually dishonest and he's a WAPO journalist on the WAPO's site, even if he's one of their Republicans or Fox Dems he shouldn't stoop to the level of a Jarvis DeBerry. He knew full well that Giuliani felt no more real emotion than a shark going in for the kill.

I'd like to think that if he were an upper-tier candidate with expensive consultants, he would have expected something along those lines and been prepared with something along the lines of, "that's a nice sound bite, but by saying you never heard that, you're saying you couldn't be bothered to read the 9-11 report." Of course Dems have expensive consultants and still can't figure out the response to predictable Republican sound bites. I still can't figure out why Kerry never retorted with "threatened to veto it, before you signed it; so you must have thought it was a complicated," in response to Bush's "it's complicated; voted for it, before I voted against it" sound bites.
What a stinging comeback!

If he said, "that's a nice sound bite, but by saying you never heard that, you're saying you couldn't be bothered to read the 9-11 report" that might've changed the entire texture of the campaign. The story of the debate would become Giuliani versus Paul (elevating Paul to 1st tier consideration), instead of Giuliani bitchslapping Paul.

I wish it happened. And I agree with you about the preparation, but it is harder than it looks to pull it off in real time.

But since we both read Somerby we know how much room for improvement there is.
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