Friday, November 09, 2007


Tricky Bernie

Rudy Giuliani had a rather interesting defense of his former police commissioner Thursday night. He compared him, favorably, with Richard Nixon:

Even after faulting himself for not adequately vetting Kerik, the former mayor praised him as "one of the most decorated cops in the police department," an "exceptional" commissioner for the Department of Corrections, and someone who "did the impossible" as police commissioner.

"But, you know, people are complex," Giuliani said. "Richard Nixon had this very serious problem, but his breakthrough with China was one of the historical things that happened in the 20th century. You can't take that away from him."

When asked if that didn't seem to be excusing the crimes Kerik is alleged to have committed -- receiving free apartment renovations and rent from sources trying to curry favor with him, and failing to pay taxes on those gifts -- Giuliani said, "Of course not. How about: It's reality It's the complexity of human life and the reality of human life. And sometimes in political discussion we get very simplistic and we get to yes and no answers."

"He did a very good job," Giuliani said. "I know people don't like to hear it, but he did."
"Complex". Isn't that a good word?

The fact remains that the first paragaraph in a summary of Richard Nixon is Watergate -- not China. Figure out what the first paragraph in a summary of
Mr. 16-Counts will be. Furthermore, Kerik didn't do "the impossible" with respect to reducing New York City crime. He continued a project of which the lion's share was well under way via the work of predecessors who were on the job for six and a half years of Rudy Giuliani's tenure as mayor. It should go without saying that neither Bill Bratton nor Howard Safir (nor incumbent Commissioner Ray Kelly) have come under state and federal investigation and indictment, even as they did "the impossible."

Meanwhile, John McCain and a certain significant endorser
went for the jugular and said that Kerik was a direct reflection on Rudy's judgment:
McCain, a Republican senator from Arizona, pointed to Kerik's performance in Iraq, along with complaints about how Giuliani treated first-responders after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, as reasons why the former mayor's presidential campaign should deserve greater scrutiny from voters.

"I don't know Mr. Kerik. I do know that I went to Baghdad shortly after the initial victory and met in Baghdad with (Ambassador Paul) Bremer and (Lt. Gen. Ricardo) Sanchez. And Kerik was there. Kerik was supposed to be there to help train the police force. He stayed two months and one day left, just up and left," McCain told reporters traveling on his campaign bus.

"That's why I never would've supported him to be the head of homeland security because of his irresponsible act when he was over in Baghdad to try and help train the police. One of the reasons why we had so much trouble with the initial training of the police was because he came, didn't do anything and then went out to the airport and left."

Republican McCain campaigned on Friday with Tom Ridge, the former governor of Pennsylvania and the nation's first secretary of homeland security under President Bush.

"It was clear the mayor and I had a different view what the department does and the kind of leadership it needed," Ridge told reporters. "His judgment would've been different than mine."

He said the situation reflected a fundamental misunderstanding by Giuliani of how the U.S. government works.

"We're not talking about some urban city patronage job," Ridge told The Associated Press. "That's not what a Cabinet secretary's about."
A similar assessment might be made about the difference between being an urban city mayor -- and a U.S. president.

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