Thursday, December 16, 2004


A Theory On Bernie Kerik.

In The Corner today Jonah Goldberg wrote this:
Okay, here's what I don't get. Rudy had to have known that Kerik had all these problems. Hell, I knew about Kerik and Judith Regan. His sketchiness may not have been a matter of public record, but it was certainly something Rudy knew about. Why on earth would Giuliani back a guy for DHS Director who he knew had to have a high probability of exploding in his face. The failure of the White House to foresee this is baffling enough, but this seems like a multi-front breakdown in political intelligence.
I've stayed away from talking about the whole failed Kerik nomination because my general feeling has been one of "Whatever."

If I had any opinion at all, it was a bit of shock & dismay that the White House, or any White House, wouldn't have a lot of these questions answered on Day One. One would think things like "illegal alien nanny" and "raging adulterous love affair" belong on the first page of the nomination checklist.

But in realizing how little sense that makes, I've been thinking about a nasty little alternative.

We know that Rudy Guiliani put Kerik forward, lobbying the White House for "his" candidate. Unless we assume stupidity on the part of the White House-- always possible-- it's obvious that both Guiliani and the White House would both know that Kerik had his issues.

I'm not one for believing in Karl Rovian plots, but here's where a logic argument comes into the picture. Who stood the most to gain, and who stood the most to lose?

Guiliani wanted the White House to throw him a favor, to honor him as a kingmaker. His ego, his desire for "influence" undoubtedly clouded his judgment over whether Kerik was a good choice for the job. Then again, perhaps Rudy wistfully believed that shady personal lives were no big deal, as his isn't exactly a model personal life.

But why would the White House risk a Kerik nomination? Was it simply out of a desire to keep Rudy happy and on "the team"?

Or, was it possible that someone in the White House knew that Rudy would be hurt when Kerik fell flat on his face, in a very public manner? Basically, if the White House knew that Kerik would quickly fail the smell test, did it think that a failed nomination would be worth it to put Rudy in a corner, and even possibly even harm his 2008 chances-- all in the event President Bush has another potential "legacy" successor in mind?

Oh, it's Machiavellian, to be sure. And again, I really dislike conspiracy theories; Occam's Razor lays this squarely at the foot of White House stupidity.

However, I still wonder if there's a story behind all this, a story about Rudy and the White House that we haven't heard yet.

P.S. Jonah really needs to get himself an Xbox (see here, then here). Duh. He should just ask me, or Son of Nixon.

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