BERNIE GOES BYE BYEThe line between aggressive public officials and outright thuggery can be fine, which brings us to the story of a strange pair of bedfellows by the name of Rudy Giuliani and Bernard Kerik. Both are back in the news, Giuliani because the now disgraced man once called America's Mayor is making noises about running for New York governor and his former best buddy Kerik because he finally has been sent to jail.
For those of you with short memories, both of these men are super-sized sacks of offal:
Giuliani parlayed some stand-up moments as New York City mayor in the wake of the 9/11 attacks into a bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008 that took him from frontrunner status to a crash-and-burn also-ran. That seemed stunning at the time, but in retrospect was for the simple reason that voters figured out he is a portfolio without a man.
As it turned out, Giuliani's 9/11 halo was considerably tarnished because his administration had failed to address flaws in the response to the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, and then he sent clean-up workers into harm's way after the Trade Center towers fell knowing full well that the site was a toxic hell.
A died-in-the wool New Yawk liberal, Giuliani fooled no one on the campaign trail in tacking hard to the right. This included throwing over his many gay friends and positing a foreign policy platform that made John McCain seem like Mother Teresa.
Then there was all the crap and corruption, which tended to tarnish his family-values cred. This included adultery, misuse of city police officers and misuse of city funds. Oh, and hiring a disgraced priest accused of sexually molestation to work for his consulting firm. So scummy is Giuliani that not even his children from his first marriage would endorse his presidential run.
This brings us to Kerik, who ran New York's Department of Corrections and then was promoted to police commissioner by Giuliani, who later recommended him to the Bush administration as the first homeland security czar although America's Mayor was well aware of Kerik's multiple legal entanglements, links to organized crime and other shady dealings.
These included $165,000 in free renovations to his Bronx apartment by a construction company with mob ties, shacking up with his mistress in a Manhattan condominium reserved for police officers with post-9/11 traumas, and that timeless toe stubber: failing to pay taxes on an illegal immigrant he had hired as his nanny, whom he incidentally also was boinking on the side.
The White House didn't bother to vet Kerik's nomination because George Bush wanted him, but soon had to drop him like a hot potato when a stream of seamy revelations made it into print.
This brings us to the here and now and the White Plains, New York courtroom of federal District Judge Stephen C. Robinson, who revoked Kerik's bail this week as he prepared to go on trail on conspiracy and fraud charges.
Robinson had a few choice words for the onetime goombah of America's Mayor before sending him to the slammer:
"[Mr. Kerik] is a toxic combination of self-minded focus and arrogance, and I fear that combination leads him to believe his ends justify his means," Hizzoner said. "He sees the court's rulings as an inconvenience, something to be ignored, and an obstacle to be circumvented."Top Photograph by Spencer Platt/Getty Images