Rudy the Clown

RUDY THE CLOWN…. Based on the standards of the political establishment, Rudy Giuliani was the mayor of a city attacked by terrorists, and is therefore an expert on national security. That, of course, doesn’t make any sense, but for reasons that defy comprehension, the media has written these rules and news outlets will stick to them, logic and reason be damned.

This week on CNN, for example, Giuliani claimed that Richard Reid’s shoe-bomb attempt on December 22, 2001 happened before 9/11. ABC’s “Good Morning America” decided today to reward Giuliani’s confusion with yet another interview, during which he embarrassed himself once again.

“What he [Obama] should be doing is following the right things that Bush did — one of the right things he did was treat this as a war on terror. We had no domestic attacks under Bush. We’ve had one under Obama,” Giuliani said.

It’s hard to know whether Giuliani actually believes the words coming out of his mouth. Part of me hopes he’s just a hack, deliberately lying to fool the public, because the alternative — that Giuliani is suffering from some kind of dementia — is more depressing.

ABC’s item on this neglected to mention that the former mayor’s claim is hopelessly stupid, so let’s go ahead and count some of the important ways Giuliani’s comment makes absolutely no sense whatsoever:

1. “We had no domestic attacks under Bush”? Actually, we had the worst domestic attacks in American history under Bush. Giuliani might recall Sept. 11, 2001 and the anthrax attacks, among others.

2. “We’ve had one under Obama”? Well, no. We’ve had several domestic terror plots under Obama, one of which failed, the others were thwarted by Obama administration officials who prevented the attacks before they could occur.

3. If the Abdulmutallab plot counts as a domestic attack “under Obama,” than the Richard Reid shoe-bombing attempt has to also count as a domestic attack “under Bush,” which makes the “no domestic attacks under Bush” that much more ridiculous.

But let’s not forget that this are two angles to this problem. The first is that Rudy Giuliani doesn’t have the foggiest idea what he’s talking about, and routinely lies about basic, easy-to-understand details about recent history and national security. The second is that programs like “Good Morning America” keep inviting him back, despite the fact that he doesn’t have the foggiest idea what he’s talking about, and routinely lies about basic, easy-to-understand details about recent history and national security.

Americans want to know more about counter-terrorism. It’s up to producers, editors, and other journalists to provide forums to those who will help the public better understand the world around them. Repeatedly giving Giuliani a microphone does a disservice to the nation at an important time.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.