Wednesday, April 25, 2007

My Opponents Want You Dead

Rudy Giuliani, who is still leading in the preposterously early polling for the Republican candidacy for President in 2008, has thrown down the gauntlet:

“If any Republican is elected president —- and I think obviously I would be the best at this —- we will remain on offense and will anticipate what [the terrorists] will do and try to stop them before they do it,” Giuliani said.

Translation: We'll fight the terrorists over there so we don't have to fight them over here. If by "terrorists" you mean "Iraqis," and if by "remain on offense" you mean "we're never leaving Iraq. Ever."

“But the question is how long will it take and how many casualties will we have?” Giuliani said. “If we are on defense [with a Democratic president], we will have more losses and it will go on longer.”

Translation: I know you're thinking that if we pull our troops out of Iraq, we'll lose less of them, and it will not, in fact, go on longer. I know you're thinking that this is a contradiction to my assertions that we need to stay in Iraq as long as it takes. But I was Mayor of New York on 9/11. God Bless America.

“I listen a little to the Democrats and if one of them gets elected, we are going on defense,” Giuliani continued. “We will wave the white flag on Iraq. We will cut back on the Patriot Act, electronic surveillance, interrogation and we will be back to our pre-Sept. 11 attitude of defense.”

Translation: If the Democrats win, they'll usher in a pansy agenda like not spying on Americans, or not torturing people. And I say to you good people, if there's anybody who loses more from a pre-9/11 attitude, it's me, who gained everything from 9/11.

“This war ends when they stop coming here to kill us!” Giuliani said in his speech. “Never, ever again will this country ever be on defense waiting for [terrorists] to attack us if I have anything to say about it. And make no mistake, the Democrats want to put us back on defense!”

Giuliani said terrorists “hate us and not because of anything bad we have done; it has nothing to do with Israel and Palestine. They hate us for the freedoms we have and the freedoms we want to share with the world.”

Translation: The Democrats want you dead because they're latte-sipping freedom-haters! And that's what the terrorists are! Freedom-haters! Please ignore any other reasons they gave for anything they've done, because I have the inside line on why they do what they do, and it's because they hate freedom!

Honestly, do we have to listen to this nonsense for another year and a half? Or is it going to get worse? Are the Republicans going to try to outdo each other at fearmongering? Will they rush to smear each other as weak on terror?

The thing that immediately struck me about these quotes from Rudy's speech has to do with movies. Relating everything to movies is a fault of mine, I suppose. But anyway, in movies set in a dystopian future, isn't Rudy's speech here the kind that would be filmed from skewed camera angles, with sharp, discordant string music behind it, underscoring just how wrong it is? Think V for Vendetta. Think The Dead Zone. Stuff like that. Leaders who talk like Rudy in movies are presumptively the enemies. There's no question about it. It seems to me that Americans, at least in their art, embrace hope over fear.

Why is it different in the voting booth?

UPDATE: Statements from both Obama and Hilary on Giuliani's childish scare tactics.