Monday, December 13, 2004

Bernard, Rudy, George and Joe

It appears that conflicts of interest with Bernard Kerik were the tip of the iceberg. Kerik didn't pull out because of a 'nanny' problem. He's got ties to mobsters, sexual harassment allegations, and a defaulted loan - all in his recent past. Nanny is a code word. Not to mention, she 'left' the country 2 weeks ago, which tells me that he thought that by sending her away - he could weather the storm.

So assuming this was Rudy's call, and it clearly had his support - where does it leave him? Bush (if nothing else) is a loyal guy - so I don't expect to see him bansihed during this administration, but I think this effectively ends Rudy's political career. For one, this gives more fodder to the Conservatives to attack him with during any Republican primary. And two, if this is one of Rudy's best friends - do you really believe that Rudy doesn't have similar skeletons in his closet? At the least, Rudy's business partner was a known associate of mobsters. Unsavory to say the least.

And where does this leave the President? First off, it was Alberto Gonzales who is supposed to vet all cabinet level appointments. If this was any indication, I don't expect to see Gonzales to be any more effective at Attorney General than Ashcroft was. However, I don't think you can really blame Gonzales for this oversight - this is just symptomatic of the way Bush has always done business. He doesn't just value his own judgement of friends/associates over what others say - he values his judgements to the exclusion of what other say. 'Loyalty' , 'character' and character type are his chief concerns and then he tries to bend reality to fit his judgements. Kerik definitely had the loyalty and character type that Bush wanted.

So this brings us to the recircling rumors about Joe Lieberman taking the post of Director of Homeland Security. Lieberman has always taken an interest in national defense (perhaps above all other issues), he is a Democratic Senator from a state with a Republican Governor, and he's up for a shoo-in re-election in 2 years. Appointing Lieberman to be the Director would allow Connecticut to get a Republican Senator (via Gubernatorial appointment), shifting the balance even further Republican in the Senate and giving the Republicans a chance to hold the seat in 2006 (power of incumbency). Not to mention, Lieberman is eminently qualified. However, Bush doesn't care about such things as qualifications, and he's so confident in his 'mandate' that he probably won't be too concerned with one vote here or there. He wants a buddy to run this department. Someone who speaks his language. Not a Jew from the Northeast.


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