Friday, September 14, 2007

James Fallows: Like George W. Bush? You'll Love Rudy!

James Fallows, stationed in China for the Atlantic, watched Bush's gibber-gabber and the post-speech follow-up on CNN.

And proving beyond a doubt that he is made of stronger stuff than me, he watched it a second time at the gym.


The most interesting part was Fallows new first impression of Rudy Giuliani:
He looks like a man who is crazy. Making no clinical diagnosis here, just talking about his affect as it comes across on TV.

I am sure this is partly just my unfamiliarity with his tic of stressing a point by opening his eyes so wide you can see the whites all the way around. He does that a lot, and at first glance it's odd.

But beyond that is the eerie sense of how strongly he resembles the earlier, cockier G.W. Bush of two or three years ago.

That Bush - the one who hadn't yet lost the Congress, who hadn't yet seen Rove, Gonzales, Rumsfeld, et al driven from his inner council, who hadn't glimpsed the tragic possibilities for his dreams in Iraq -- combined certainty of bearing with sketchiness of factual information. That's just how Giuliani comes across if you haven't seen him for a long time. Great certainty about "staying on the offense" against terrorism; zero displayed knowledge of what that means or indeed what he was talking about at all. Giuliani added to this sloganeering impression with his repeated invocations of "General Petraeus" as the answer to all problems, notwithstanding Petraeus's deliberate narrowing of his claimed expertise to the progress of his own mission, not the largest strategic questions about Iraq.
And when Fallows watched the Mayor of 9-11 on replay, his impression of Rudy as W-2 did not improve:
[O]utrageously worse. Is this how he's been all along?

To start with, he doesn't know anything. To be more precise: not a single sentence that he utters suggests any familiarity with what people have been saying and arguing -- about terrorism, Iraq, the situation of the military, security trade-offs, etc -- for the last few years.

He's out of date in two ways: He displays the "fashionable in 2003 and 2004" assumption that if you say "nine-eleven, nine-eleven, nine-eleven!!" enough times, you end all debate about military policy. He displays the "fashionable about three weeks ago" assumption that if you say "General Petraeus, General Petraeus, General Petraeus" enough times, you've offered an Iraq policy.

And through it all he seems totally self-confident. Hmm, have we seen anything like this combo before?
The U.S. has twice made the mistake of a George W. Bush presidency -- we simply can't afford to make that mistake again.

2 comments:

Jake said...

it makes me think I'm backing the right horse in this race when folks like you and Klau are going after Rudy this early. Seems like he's the hardest to beat come fall of '08 and I like that!

So-Called Austin Mayor said...

Jake,

If your only interest in the Presidential Election is to see that your "team" wins the contest, they your backing Rudy may be the way to go. If you are actually interested in our nation's future, then Rudy is a poor choice.

-- SCAM

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