As the 90’s wore on I began to have a kind of grudging respect for Mayor Giuliani. There were many things I didn’t like about how he ran the city. Many, many things. But I couldn’t deny the amazing transformation in Manhattan. It was cleaner, it was safer, it functioned better. And a lot of the reasons it was better were the result of policies that Ruth Messinger or David Dinkins never would have implemented, and that I thought were lousy policies beforehand.

But it wasn’t until the day of 9/11 that Giuliani finally made me give him my full respect (and he would go on to lose most of it). As Bush disappeared and referred to the hijackers as ‘these folks’, Giuliani was calm, prepared, in charge, and competent. He filled the gaping hole of leadership left by an administration in hiding. Rudy’s performance wasn’t surprising to those of us that lived in the New York area, but he gained iconic status in the sheer discrepancy between his ability to function and the federal government’s invisibility.

But we have no Giuliani now. The mayor of New Orleans has been complaining, but he hasn’t been leading. The city of New York was amazingly prepared for 9/11 (even though there were mistakes), while New Orleans appears to have been caught flat-footed despite three days to prepare. Where is the water? Where are the toilets? Where is the food distribution, field hospitals, and temporary shelters?

Bush has failed again. Utterly. And with no one to pick up the slack, we see what a complete failure he is for the first time.

There can be no alternate plans for Iraq, for Social Security, for immigration policy, for Supreme Court judges. There can only be a total insistence on Bush’s removal from office. The scales have finally dropped from the eyes of the press, from the eyes of the South, and from the eyes of most of Bush’s staunchest supporters. He cannot be allowed to continue in office. It’s up to the people now. We should descend on Washington with Cindy, and we should demand that Congress remove this man from office. We can’t afford another three years of criminal incompetence, of a lack of accountability, of an inability to correct course in Iraq.

He failed to protect us from 9/11, he failed to capture or kill bin-Laden, he lied us into a war that he had no plan to win, and he has fiddled while we lost a major and beloved American city to complete ruin. What more do we need to see?

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