OK. Make no mistake, Rudy Giulliani is America’s mayor. What he went through in New York City was no joke. He wasn’t just managing the problem that September day in 2001, he was fighting for his life for part of that morning. He talked about his experience that day, but the part that I found interesting wasn’t the part about digging by hand out from rubble. I found the most interesting part of his experience was that he knew that he had someone on his team who insisted on running his city teams through table-top exercises for catastrophic security events. To his credit, he both sanctioned these and let his team run twelve, according to his speech. He said his one regret about those table-top exercises was that they hadn’t run 24 of them.
Giulliani spoke at the University of North Texas (“UNT”) Kuehne Speaker Series event on October at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas. The Kuehne Speaker Series has been drawing lots of great speakers over the years. Giulliani wasn’t the best speaker, but he had some really important bullet points that I took away:
- We have to be on offense against terrorists, that we have to make it bipartisan, that it isn’t about being a Democrat or a Republican. It’s about being an American.
- My major focus is national security because that’s really what the president runs.
- We had no domestic attacks under Bush
- If we were building our navy, rather than reducing our navy to pre-World War I levels, China would not be thinking about increasing its navy to take over the South China Sea.
He’s a tough guy. He lead the Justice Department effort to bring down organized crime and succeeded. He turned NYC from a cess pool to a safe, economically strong, and vibrant place. (My friend Howard used to insist it was the center of the universe… whatever.) He lead NYC and arguably the nation through the tough days after 9/11, when we all were desperate to understand the pain of loss, the fear of vulnerability.
In the end, Giulliani’s from the Bronx. I’m from Texas. He’s hard for me to listen to, especially in this partisan atmosphere. He made some really good points that I’m sympathetic to. He also takes such a hard line against people rather than ideas, which irks me. (I guess that makes him like most of Facebook.) Anyway, this isn’t as good as my other ‘famous figure’ write ups. But, there you go.