Let’s broaden this out a bit, shall we?
Perhaps we were too hasty in criticizing the president for only giving cabinet nominations to people who have already served as his butler, or footman or personal tutor. Because when he goes outside his personal circle the process seems almost comically inept, hasty and reckless.
I guess for the next day or so we’ve got to keep pretending that it was this nanny issue that cost Kerik the post. And the Post has a story out tomorrow with the first reports that Kerik lied to them about the nanny thing. But then there’s this passage …
In the vetting process, which was conducted by the office of White House counsel Alberto R. Gonzales, Kerik also never mentioned that a New Jersey judge had issued a warrant for his arrest in 1998 over a civil dispute over unpaid bills, the sources said. The existence of the dispute was first reported by Newsweek Friday night.
It is unclear why White House lawyers could not uncover a warrant that Newsweek discovered after a few days of research, although some are blaming Bush’s insistence on speed and secrecy for failing to catch this and other potential red flags in Kerik’s background.
“[T]his and other potential red flags.”
That’s <$Ad$> sort of a charitable way of putting it, isn’t it?
As nearly as I can tell, almost every major assignment Kerik has had turns out to have been hazed over with clouds of scandal. At the posting in Saudi Arabia he is, it seems credibly, accused of pursuing his boss’s private agenda and spying on the boss’s many paramours on his behalf.
Then on Kerik watch, Riker’s Island turned into a latter-day GOP Tammany Hall, with punishment meted out to employees who didn’t do off-duty work for Republicans. At the NYPD there were reportedly other problems. And then you’ve got the Baghdad bug-out after that.
And then you’ve got the 9/11-based security rainmaking with Rudy, though perhaps that’s considered an advantage since he could work better at DHS with former employers.
Perhaps Kerik is just misunderstood or has a lot of ungenerous accusers. Or I’m just putting it all in the worst light. But was this really the best pick for Homeland Security, given that the president has made it the central issue of his presidency?
Late Update: In this article in the Times, David Sanger makes explicit the analogy to Linda Chavez’s abortive nomination to the Department of Labor, which we mentioned earlier. But if the Bush White House really wants to stick with the story that this nanny business was really all that sunk Kerik, doesn’t that mean that all the other cases of scandal and evidence of his using police power to pursue personal and political agendas just didn’t matter to them?