Today at Townhall, I do a follow up to my column of a year ago about how Giuliani looks in light of the Katrina and 9/11 anniversaries.
The event that inspired my previous column on Giuliani’s presidential qualities was the response to Hurricane Katrina. The anniversary of the record breaking storm is only days away and provides another reminder of one of the reasons Rudy Giuliani is considered one of the top contenders for the GOP nomination. Katrina showed America what an inept response to a national emergency looked like. They had seen, four years earlier, what a competent response to a national emergency looked like when Mayor Giuliani took control, led recovery efforts and calmed a nation in shock. His performance earned him Time’s 2001 designation as Man of the Year and the title of “Mayor of the World” . He was even crowned an honorary knight by Queen Elizabeth in recognition of the service he performed.
In reaction to the deficiencies of the Katrina response, Americans let it be known that they want a President who is engaged in the details when disaster strikes. In the aftermath of 9/11, President Bush was able to provide moral and, even spiritual, leadership and leave the specifics of the recovery effort to people like Mayor Giuliani. Katrina taught us that when a Mayor Nagin, not a Mayor Giuliani, is in charge, the chief executive better step in right away and make things work – or he better at least give the appearance that he is doing that.
Events between now and November 2008 will determine which issues ultimately play the biggest role in voters’ choice for President. Over the next two weeks, though, as Americans observe the anniversaries of Katrina and 9/11, the issues of leadership in times of crisis and how best to fight the war on terror will make for an excellent opportunity for Rudy Giuliani to shine.