Commentary Magazine


The End of 9/11 Politics?

In an article at the Politico, Ben Smith and David Paul Kuhn have decided that Rudy Giuliani’s defeat “marks the end of 9/11 politics.” The question of whether or not Rudy relied too heavily on his 9/11 performance must be separated from the fact that our lives continue to be defined by the attacks of that day. For the most flagrant abusers of “9/11 politics” are those who have come to label every Republican reminder of the attacks as nothing more than a cheap GOP stratagem. Republicans who dare point out that 9/11 has necessarily altered America’s political landscape come under immediate fire from hordes of Democrats accusing them of exploitation.

The article quotes former Sen. Bob Kerrey: “There’s a paradox for Rudy. One of the things he did very well on 9/11 was say, ‘We’ve got to get back to normal.’ And that’s what’s happened. We’ve gotten back to normal.” Rudy Giuliani meant we should live our day-to-day lives normally, continue to do the things we enjoy, etc. He didn’t mean America should stop fighting to ensure that we can continue doing such things.

Then there’s this:

“Giuliani managed to do something that would have been unthinkable a few years earlier: He turned 9/11 into a punch line. The late-night television riffs bubbled into prime time during a Democratic debate in October, when Sen. Joe Biden dismissed the former mayor scornfully.

“There’s only three things he mentions in a sentence: a noun, a verb and 9/11,” Biden said.”

Doesn’t this make it clear that it was Biden who turned 9/11 into a punch line?

There’s a particularly debauched quote from Mitchell Moss, a professor at New York University and an adviser to Mayor Michael Bloomberg: “We have 9/11 fatigue in the United States,” he says. Great. All we need to do is find out if they’re suffering from “9/11 fatigue” in Afghanistan, Waziristan, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, and Gaza, and we can all take a nap together.

It shouldn’t be so hard to see that six years into this ongoing war “9/11 fatigue” is a luxury beyond our means. But Americans must always live beyond their means, so now we’re tired of having to worry about the armies sworn to kill us. Could this possibly be what Osama bin Laden was driving at when he said the Russians were hard to defeat but the Americans, because they’re decadent, will be a piece of cake?