Tuesday, November 06, 2007


Corrupt, But Competent?

Rudy Giuliani's ringing endorsement of his former police commissioner -- AND a promise of what his White House might look like?

Giuliani has accepted responsibility for his role in Kerik's embarrassing 2004 withdrawal as President Bush's Homeland Security nominee after revelation of tax problems. Ethics questions and corruption allegations also have swirled around Kerik. But the former New York mayor said the results of the commissioner's time in New York far outweigh isolated incidences.

"Bernie Kerik worked for me while I was mayor of New York City. There were mistakes made with Bernie Kerik. But what's the ultimate result for the people of New York City? The ultimate result for the people of New York City was a 74 percent reduction in shootings, a 60 percent reduction in crime, a correction program that went from being one of the worst in the country to one
that was on '60 Minutes' as the best in the country, 90 percent reduction of violence in the jails."

"Sure, there were issues, but if I have the same degree of success and failure as president of the United States, this country will be in great shape," Giuliani said.

Given what the Bush administration and the Republican Congress produced in their last few years together, the impulse for competence is admirable. But Rudy's papering over the fact that his former corrections and overall police commissioner was allegedly mobbed up is hardly reassuring. Oh, and crediting Kerik with "74 percent reduction in shootings [and] a 60 percent reduction in crime" is a crock. He was Giuliani's third commissioner -- having the job only for Giuliani's final 15 months in office. The downward trend was already well under way, inititiated by Bill Bratton, continued by Howard Safir (who was problematic in other ways) and then handed off to Kerik.

But Rudy wants to credit his mobbed-up pal with the entire crime plunge in his tenure? Quite a selective memory. With that sort of viewpoint, the country will surely be in "great shape."

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