What Was Rudy Thinking?

The New York Times has an article that begins, "What was Bernie Kerik thinking?" Much of the article is about Rudy Giulani, and it's not flattered to the ex-Mayor and former prosecutor:

Most of America knows the heroic Rudolph W. Giuliani, celebrated for his masterful leadership after Sept. 11. But before the terrorist attacks, Mr. Giuliani's popularity had dropped at home. Even fans had tired of his aggressive style.

On the premise that it took tough leadership to tame New York, the former mayor conducted himself with unapologetic hubris, surrounding himself with a deferential inner circle - including Bernard B. Kerik as commissioner of correction and then commissioner of the police.

The insular Giuliani team could be secretive, could play loose with people's rights and would even violate the law, attracting lawsuits that City Hall usually lost.

If the Giuliani administration wanted to keep public information from civic groups, elected officials or news organizations, it did. If Mr. Giuliani wanted to release the sealed juvenile records of an unarmed man killed by a police detective, he did. If he wanted to give a government job to a political ally's unqualified son (later indicted for defrauding the city), he did.

The tough-guy approach no doubt played a role in controlling the city that once seemed ungovernable, but by the end of the Giuliani years, it had more than begun to pall.

When you get done reading that article, head over to a companion piece, Strain is Seen in Giuliani Ties with President.

Republicans say that Mr. Bush felt little affection for Mr. Giuliani, and that he was particularly perplexed as the mayor allowed his personal life to unravel publicly in the spring of 2000. "There aren't a lot of people close to the president who have those kind of experiences," said the Republican close to the administration, referring to Mr. Giuliani's admissions of infidelity with the woman who became his third wife and to his bitter split from his second wife, Donna Hanover. "It's an issue of not understanding it. I've had discussions with him where he's asked, 'What's this guy all about?'"

Of course, Rudy says he's sorry about the Kerik incident, but plays down his role.

"I feel like maybe I should have involved myself more in it."

Rudy was all over the Kerik nomination. He was so involved that it was Rudy that Kerik called on Wednesday night upon discovering his nanny problem. From chauffeur to top cop to working at Giuliani & Partners... Rudy knows Kerik so well he probably could time him going to the bathroom.

Rudy doesn't think the incident will tarnish his relationship with the President. White House sources see it differently, according to the Times article:

Although people close to the president say he likes and respects Mr. Giuliani, they say the president has long been leery of him as a man who could not be counted on for the loyalty demanded by Mr. Bush. And while the breakdown of Mr. Kerik's nomination is not lethal to Mr. Giuliani's relationship with the White House, the friends and officials say, it will hardly burnish his credentials with the president.

"It hurts him politically, so therefore by extension it's going to hurt him with the White House," said a Republican close to the administration who has worked for both Mr. Bush and Mr. Giuliani and who asked not to be identified because of the political sensitivity of the situation. "Nobody at the White House is saying to themselves, 'Damn that Rudy Giuliani.' It's more, 'Well, he got his licks.' "

White House officials also note Rudy's lack of people skills and doubt he'd get a top job in the Bush administration:

... Mr. Giuliani has been repeatedly mentioned as a possibility for a cabinet position, although rarely, if ever, by anyone in the inner circle at the White House. Although the White House has noticed that Mr. Giuliani is far less combative than he was during his days at City Hall, a top administration official once noted that the former mayor would be good for any job that didn't require him to get along with people. Advisers to Mr. Bush add that as Mr. Giuliani contemplates a run for president in 2008, there is virtually no chance he will be named to a position in the administration because he would have, they say, his own agenda.

We'll end with this quote from Sunday's NY Daily News editorial:

Bush now moves on, burned and wiser about the value of the Rudy Giuliani stamp of approval.

[Comments hijacked off topic, now closed]

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