Yesterday, Fred Thompson met with, and courted, the head of the firefighters’ union that just went after Giuliani in a 13-minute video. It struck me as a cheap stunt to add legitimacy to a hatchet-job that that even the NY Times called “factually questionable.” But my disappointment with Thompson over this is deeper. In my view, one of the things that conservatives have had to fight for nearly six years now is this conspiracy mindset, this Michael Moore world in which Bush went to war in Iraq to give no bid contracts to Halliburton. The firefighter video makes some similarly outrageous claims–including that Giuliani only cared about removing gold from the World Trade Center site, not dead bodies. Again, none other than the NY Times called that “an accusation widely dismissed by people who closely monitored the cleanup.” I have a problem with Thompson legitimizing this to score some political points.
It should be noted, though it should not be a secret to any regular reader of this blog, that I am a supporter of Rudy Giuliani. I was inspired by his leadership while living in New York City both before, during, and after 9/11, so the idea that his 9/11 image was all an “urban legend”–as the firefighters’ union claims–doesn’t sit well with me. So, I’d like to hear from other people who aren’t as sympathetic to Rudy. Am I making too much of this? Is it a cheap stunt by Thompson? Or just smart politics by trying to undercut his chief rival’s greatest strength?
UPDATE: Jim Geraghty agrees that Thompson should not be associating with these type of attacks, and concludes, “Bad move and bad timing on Thompson’s part.”
Meanwhile, in comments, somebody who describes himself as a “Giuliani fan” believes Fred’s move was okay, and some Fred fans come to their candidate’s defense.