Jewish World Review Dec. 20, 2004 / 8 Teves, 5765
Advocacy of Kerik will hurt Giuliani
AFTER Rudy Giuliani's appalling lack of judgment in promoting Bernie Kerik to replace Tom Ridge at the Department of Homeland Security, John McCain, Bill Frist and Jeb Bush are starting to look like the much sounder choices for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2008.
The Bush White House has eggnog on its face, thanks to former New York City Mayor Giuliani's lobbying on behalf of former New York City Police Commissioner Kerik, who bowed out in scandal last week just days after President Bush nominated him. President Bush says Giuliani's subsequent apology to him wasn't necessary, but Giuliani owes the whole country an apology.
Americans' safety would have been in the hands of the Sopranos if Giuliani had had his way. It's hard to believe Bernie Kerik was the man Giuliani would charge with protecting us from another 9/11: A man who not only reportedly employed an illegal alien (which many people apparently do), but who reportedly dispatched his police officers to find his mistress's missing cell phone and to research his autobiography.
He was a man who failed to disclose cash gifts he received and who may have profited inappropriately from a stun gun company, a man who greased the wheels for city contractors with mob connections, a man who commandeered an apartment donated to Ground Zero workers as a love nest for his extramarital affair.
Haven't we seen these story lines on Sunday night HBO? At the very least, these stories are reminiscent of the Clinton years in Washington, during which a significant percentage of the President and First Lady's associates were corrupt.
It would be nice to believe Rudy Giuliani didn't really know Bernie Kerik that well, but that would be a fantastic denial. Kerik, after all, began his ascent in New York City politics as Giuliani's personal driver. Giuliani employs Kerik in his consulting firm. The minute Kerik was nominated by the President, the press jumped all over him for his history of misdeeds. (What a horrible feeling to read left-wing editorial critiques of Kerik and have to admit they're right!) If the newspapers knew all about Kerik, can we believe Giuliani did not?
Giuliani squandered all the political capital he acquired after 9/11. How could Giuliani, who seemed to care more than any other public figure aside from George W. Bush about the effect the September 11 attacks had on America, turn around and recommend Kerik as the man to protect us? The recommendation stinks of New York City political cronyism at its worst.
It represents the mindset that too often pervades law enforcement in big cities: Petty abuses of power and cronyism don't matter as long as you're tough on criminals from 9 to 5. That's also Clintonesque thinking, and it's wrong.
For years, those of us on the right have been making excuses for Giuliani's occasional lapses in conduct and judgment, such as the extra-marital affair he conducted while mayor, his support for partial birth abortion and other radical items on the Left's agenda, and his dictatorial personality. Plenty of conservatives were willing to look the other way on these issues because he cleaned up New York City, locked up the criminals, and responded to 9/11 with such stature and poise. And when confronted with the possibility of Hillary Clinton as a senator or worse, President Giuliani's stock soared on the right. Maybe, just maybe, he could make a good President, many conservatives argued.
Giuliani may not be able to remove this stain from his record. What kind of people would Giuliani appoint were he President? Would he pull the wool over the nation's eyes? Would he tolerate petty corruption and abuse of power in the White House? Didn't Americans suffer enough of that during the Clinton years?
Insofar as Giuliani represented heroism in a post-9/11 world, his entanglement with Bernie Kerik has soiled his reputation. And insofar as a Giuliani White House was an attractive alternative to another Clinton White House in 2008, the Kerik association has done a good job blurring the distinction between the two.
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© 2004, Bernadette Malone