“A Noun, a Verb, and Sunshine.”

Rudy Giuliani seems to have completely forgotten about the terrorist attack that has sustained his political career for the better part of a decade:

“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. “Number two, he should correct the things that Bush didn’t do right. Sending people to Yemen was wrong, not getting this whole intelligence thing corrected.”

In fairness, Giuliani isn’t alone here.  Republicans have regularly answered criticisms of the Bush administration’s interrogation and detention policies — as well as its approach to Iraq and Afghanistan — with the rejoinder that President Bush “protected us from the terrorists.”  Most Republican defenders will at least mention 9/11, but not always.  In November of last year, for instance, former Bush press secretary Dana Parino defended her old boss’ with the assertion that “We did not have a terrorist attack on our country during President Bush’s term.”  What’s more, Republicans have all but forgotten the 2001 anthrax attacks and the infamous (read: incompetent) “shoebomber,” Richard Reid.  Here’s Pete Wehner, former deputy assistant to President Bush, arguing that his boss had a successful* presidency:

The primary responsibility of the president is to keep American citizens safe. By that standard alone, President Bush has achieved success.

In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, when virtually everyone assumed we’d be hit again, Bush put the United States on a war footing. He mobilized the entire federal government, including the military, Homeland Security, the Treasury, the FBI, our intelligence agencies and more.

We have not been attacked since.

Again, this is basically conventional wisdom among Republicans, despite being plainly and demonstrably false.  That Giuliani and Perino would take it a step further isn’t terribly surprising, and is part and parcel of the establishment Right’s coming attempt to rescue George W. Bush’s reputation from the ash-heap of wildly disastrous world leaders.

*When it comes to Bush at least, Republicans are really wedded to the “soft bigotry of low expectations.”


Jamelle Bouie is a writer for Slate. He has also written for The Daily Beast, The American Prospect and The Nation. His work centers on politics, race, and the intersection of the two.

You can find him on Twitter, Flickr, and Instagram as jbouie.
  • Ladyfresh

    i was rampaging this morning when i heard this. This is the quote/voice that woke me up. ugh what a wake up call


  • Anon

    Isn’t this more likely a weak rhetorical move on the Republicans part? It’s hard to imagine their audiences not understanding that “no domestic attacks” means “no domestic attacks carried out by Al Qadea after 9/11 . I’m nitpicking, I know. None of it’s going rectify W’s image anyway.