On September 11th, 2001, 3000 of my fellow New Yorkers were murdered. Six years later, I still well up with rage when that day enters my thoughts. I do pray for the day when I will care about other political issues, but I freely admit, for better or worse, rightly or wrongly, that I am a single issue voter. I want a President who will destroy terrorists. Period. Civilization hangs in the balance, and if we lose, we die. There is no inbetween. I have said that many politicians have been vigilant in the War on Terror the last six years. All of the top tier republican nominees recognize the proper way to approach the war. What separates Rudy Giuliani is his consistent willingness to point out that this war began nearly three decades before it was actually declared. It is this clear grasp of the global struggle against Islamofacism that made me want to see Mayor Giuliani in person.
On September 11th, 2007, I attended Sean Hannity’s Freedom Concert at Great Adventure. Rudy Giuliani did speak there, but by the time I made it to the very front row, and with the help of a connection, got backstage, Mayor Giuliani had left.
15 days later, at a private home, On September 26th, I did meet him. I spoke to him for maybe 60 seconds, and for an ordinary guy like me, that is more than enough. He spoke to the audience for 30-45 minutes, including questions.
Yet despite an already favorable impression of him, I wanted to hear what he had to say at the Republican Jewish Coalition 2008 Candidates Forum 3 weeks later on October 16th. My expectations were high, and his remarks are below.
“I was Mayor of New York City. This is a city even Abraham Lincoln didn’t carry.”
“We don’t win elections if we (republicans) give away New York, New Jersey, California, Pennsylvania, etc.”
“Iran is the leading state sponsor of terrorism in the world.”
“Hezbollah was responsible for the Lebanon bombing in 1983, a hijacking in 1985, and Jewish targets in the 1990s in Argentina.”
“I guarantee that Iran will never get nuclear weapons.”
“Cold War Russia and China were able to be handled with diplomacy because they had ‘residual rationality.’”
“The President cannot hesitate to use the military.”
“We need to have divestment form Iran.”
“Weakness invites attacks, strength keeps you safe. Peace has to be based on realism, not romance.”
“You cannot negotiate with one when they are trying to destroy your family.”
“Barack Obama invoked Ronald Reagan. Ronald Reagan called the Soviet Union an ‘Evil Empire.’ Then he deployed missiles directly at Russian cities. Then, he negotiated. Barack, you’re no Ronald Reagan.”
“There was no ABC (network) mea culpa saying Reagan was right.”
In a swipe at one of his primary opponents, he said, “When Yassir Arafat was in New York, I did not call for a team of lawyers. I did not ask, ‘Can we partially throw him out?’”
Rudy’s willingness to acknowledge his own mistakes came in a moment of levity. Somebody’s cell phone went off during his speech, and he quickly remarked, “I’m not going to answer it.” The crowd laughed. He then turned serious again, and got in a dig at Mr. Arafat overtly, and another Nobel Peace Prize winner covertly, although very subtly.
“Yassir Arafat murdered Leon Klinghoffer. Equating Yassir Arafat to Yitzchak Rabin set back peace a decade.”
(I remain surprised that after all this time, not one other candidate mentions Leon Klinghoffer, an elderly, wheelchair bound retiree that was thrown overboard from a hijacked cruise ship. This is another way Mayor Giuliani reminds audiences that 9/11 was far from the beginning. His primary opponents do not mention this.)
“Saudi Prince Al Aweed offered 10 million dollars after 9/11. He then said that American support of Israel was partly to blame for 9/11. I returned the money.”
Mayor Giuliani went into detail, pointing out that there were arguments in favor of keeping it, and he decided to consult with several family members that had lost people that Tuesday. He said that the families did not want the money, and the last family member angrily stated, “Nothing would offend me more than if we would take that blood money.” Giuliani was a decisive leader during that tragedy, but he did not make a critical decision in a vacuum. Nevertheless, he was glad that the families supported his decision.
He the continued on in this vein.
“We were attacked because of the good parts of America.”
“We had a women’s breakfast event this morning (The wives of the four main candidates spoke to all the women attendees). Iran does not have women’s breakfasts.”
“Before the Palestinians get their own state, two things have to happen. First, they have to say, ‘Israel has a right to exist as a Jewish state.’ Secondly, they must say, ‘We forsake terrorism.’ This must be shown over time. We will not support another terrorist state.”
“Democrats do not want to offend anybody by saying, ‘Islamic Terrorism.’ Who are they worried about offending? I want to offend them.”
“My foreign policy team consists of Daniel Pipes and Norman Podhoretz.”
Podhoretz is the father of the Neocon movement, and Dr. Pipes is one of the world’s foremost scholars on Islamism. He is known for saying, “Radical Islam is the problem. Moderate Islam is the solution.” These are heavyweights, and the audience took notice.
“Tim Russert pressed Hillary (on Islamofacism), and she never answered the question. She is still answering the question.”
Mayor Giuliani’s remarks were the longest, but he still took questions.
With regards to countering domestic Islamic terrorism, he replied, “We need the Patriot Act, and we need the right to aggressive questioning of suspects.”
He stated that “I have been a supporter of an anti-missile defense system since the 1980s.”
When asked about how to deal with George Soros, he replied (perhaps jokingly, based on his Yassir Arafat action), “I would uninvite him (the crowd laughed). He and Moveon are a new low.”
Perhaps forecasting the Presidential race, he stated, “Hillary attacked General Petraeus on 9/11. I give us the best chance to defeat her and take back the Congress.”
Asked about the liberal media, he replied, “We need to communicate better. Those who keep complaining about the media need to get over it. We can’t do anything about it. Better communication is the key.”
The audience started to rise in applause, when he spontaneously added one more comment. It was actually an awkward ending in the sense that it did not flow seamlessly into the rest of his remarks, but it was perhaps an attempt to add in something that may have been left out.
“Governor Spitzer should not give licenses to illegal immigrants.”
The audience again gave him the standing ovation they thought they were giving moments ago, and while the last line may have been pandering, all it did was lower his performance to almost perfect from flawless. The audience loved him.
Listening to him recount the War on Terror, I found myself passionately saying, “This is the guy. He gets it. This is the guy.”
All of the candidates disagree with republicans on some issues. Yet the major issue…the only issue I care about…and the only issue many republicans care about at the expense of all other issues…the War on Terror…is where Rudy Giuliani is dead on accurate. He clearly explains the problem, understands that it started long before we did anything about it, and is willing to take any and all means necessary to win it.
Of the top tier candidates, he spoke first, but I covered him last.
The other top tier candidates are all fine men.
Based on this RJC performance, nothing has changed. Rudy is the right man.