These paragraphs, from an article in The Politico yesterday, are so common they barely register anymore.
Giuliani has tried to appeal to social conservatives, embracing their agenda by pledging to appoint “strict constructionists” to the Supreme Court, using Justices John G. Roberts Jr. and Samuel A. Alito Jr. as examples. Conservatives expect “strict constructionists” to determine that the Constitution does not mandate abortion rights.
But, like Dwight Eisenhower’s in 1952, Giuliani’s national security stature after the Sept. 11 attacks more likely explains his continued popularity within the religious right, whose voters have long held hawkish positions on the issue. (emphasis added)
Eisenhower was the Supreme Commander of the Allied forces in Europe during World War II. Giuliani was mayor of New York on 9/11. Eisenhower’s national security stature was earned by defeating the Nazis and helping save the world. Giuliani’s national security stature is a media creation, bolstered by clever public relations. To put the two in the same sentence is comical.
And yet, this kind of implicit praise for Giuliani has taken root. NBC’s Chuck Todd has repeatedly claimed that Giuliani “owns 9/11.” The WSJ’s John Harwood said Giuliani can claim “combat” experience. The NYT uncritically characterizes Giuliani as the “commanding daddy.” The WaPo asserted as fact that Giuliani’s critics couldn’t possibly go after him “on national security” in the campaign. NBC’s David Gregory reported, “To many, 9/11 made Giuliani a hero.”
And all of these examples are just from the last three weeks. The further back we go, the more examples we find.
If ever there was a media myth in need of scrutiny, this is it.