Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

November 10, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

NUCLEAR....John McCain offered up some criticism of Bernie Kerik yesterday for bailing out on his job training the Iraqi police, and the Giuliani campaign naturally went ballistic in response. Rich Lowry is perturbed:

I admire the fighting spirit of the Rudy folks, but gee whiz. He's the front-runner! (According to the national polls.) There's no need to come off so defensively, and not every attack requires a nuclear response. Doing it to Joe Biden is one thing, but to fellow Republicans who aren't even a threat at the moment is probably ill-advised.

But this is just the package you get with Rudy. His only instinct is to attack at full throttle no matter what. Someone wants to change the law about ferret ownership? Go nuclear. A magazine runs an ad you don't like on city buses? Go nuclear. His police chief gets some credit for reducing crime? Go nuclear.

This is not a guy with multiple gears or multiple ways of dealing with the world. Attacking is all he knows how to do. If he's elected president, there's no reason to think that will change.

Kevin Drum 12:43 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (41)

Bookmark and Share


Posted by: Benderman VII on November 10, 2007 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK


Posted by: mhr on November 10, 2007 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

If he's elected president, there's no reason to think that will change.

It is sobering to contemplate that there are enough voters out there who don't want to hear anything from their president beyond two words -- 'Get 'em' -- to elect a president. They're not even that particular about who the 'them' is.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on November 10, 2007 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

"Attack" can mean anything from words of criticism to nuclear destruction of an entire country. Kevin's post uses the words "Go nuclear...go nuclear...Attacking is all he knows how to do."

Maybe Kevin merely meant that a President Guiliani would use verbal criticism. If so, I agree.

But, Kevin may be suggesting that Guiliani's habit of reponding to criticism with counter-criticism means that as President he'd be apt to mount a nuclear attack. I don't buy that reasoning.

If it's true that verbal attacks imply nuclear attacks, then we're screwed either way, because Hillary also tends to respond to criticism with counter-criticism.

Posted by: ex-liberal on November 10, 2007 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

Can you imagine that nutcase trying to run a national campaign? Either of them.

McCain has a mom! She probably trained him for POW camp.

Rudy and Bernie, a vaudeville act if ever there was one.

Mit Romney has my vote of the group.

Posted by: Matt on November 10, 2007 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

It's a pretty shallow response, in any case: Kerik was Giuliani's CREATION. Giuliani has a real problem on his hands that's only gonna get worse.

His campaign's counter to McCain was essentially 'well, what have YOU managed?', emphasizing that Giuliani has better management experience cuz ... well, cuz he hired Kerik as his driver, promoted him again and again and again, was business partners with him and finally tried like hell to make him head of the Department of Homeland Security, without ever noticing that the guy may well be a crook.

Remember, according to the indictment, AS SOON as Kerik was in a position to do anything, he promptly went on the take. I dunno when the trial will happen, but it's gonna be PENDING for a considerable part of the campaign, if Kerik isn't actually asking Guiliani to appear as a witness say, next September.

McCain's lack of management skills has legs ONLY if his campaign comes back, in which case it's moot.

But Giuliani's management record is PERSONIFIED in Bernie Kerik, as well as his Hizzoner's skill at reading people, etc.

I dunno any other way to read it but that Rudy Giuliani is not a guy Republicans can expect to beat Senator Clinton over the head with the Whitewater stuff they've been dusting off, much less anything they hope to get on Bill.

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 10, 2007 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

look, kerik is no more mobbed up than rudy's father was.

Posted by: benjoya on November 10, 2007 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK


"But, Kevin may be suggesting that Guiliani's habit of reponding to criticism with counter-criticism means that as President he'd be apt to mount a nuclear attack. I don't buy that reasoning."

You must be such a douchebag.

Posted by: hotrod on November 10, 2007 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK
….If it's true that verbal attacks imply nuclear attacks, then we're screwed either way, because Hillary also tends to respond to criticism with counter-criticism. ex-lax at 1:03 PM
While mayor, Giuliani was prone to responding to criticism by embroiling the city in lawsuits

…Giuliani's second term, however, would be rocky, as the personality flaws that people had sensed in his first term came to engulf New York City politics. Somehow, crackdowns on drug dealers bled into irrational vendettas against hot dog vendors and jaywalkers. The mayor ensnared City Hall in a number of ill-advised lawsuits (such as the time he was successfully sued by the Brooklyn Museum after trying to evict it for displaying a painting of the Virgin Mary smeared with elephant dung). And when New York police officers were implicated in horrifying cases of abuse, Giuliani's reflexive, belligerent defense of the NYPD antagonized minority groups and affronted many New Yorkers. By the time Giuliani left office, New Yorkers had wearied of his abrasive, vindictive behavior. At the same time, they were grateful to him for having cleaned up their city….[It should be noted that other cities reduced their crime rate more with less police brutality]

Clinton responds to criticism by posting facts

However, like Giuliani, you typically respond to issues with lies and misinformation as evidenced by his erroneous prostate cancer claim and your comments.

Posted by: Mike on November 10, 2007 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

I think the Rudy's "ignore the small states" policy is actually pretty obtuse.

It's allows the other guys show victory where Rudy will have none. So somehow, I don't see Rudy winning if he lossing in the earily primarys because those little states do matter even if Rudy thinks they don't.

And it's kind of like Firedoglake noted:

....Glenn Greenwald’s post about how the otherwise alarming Ron Paul is attracting support, money and excitement thanks to his emphatic pro-Constitution and antiwar positions; and David Sirota’s post on how Mike Huckabee and John Edwards are running as anti-corruption, anti-oligarchy, anti-economic-inequality populists.

I don’t like any of Ron Paul or Mike Huckabee’s other positions, but how strange is it that two Republican candidates are offering stronger antiwar, pro-rule-of-law, populist messages than the two front-running Democrats and the entire party leadership?

I don't think I would discount conservative voters remembering that, once upon a time they were very much pro-Constitution, before Bushism sweep the nation, and Repug pundits begin telling conservative voters that Bush is far-right instead of far-more criminal than any modern US president - and certainly there is difference.

So let Rudy go blastic, as I'm sure it's exactly what Cheney, Karl Rove would do, and as we've noted even Bush can get very, very nasty if someone tries to be disloyal. I don't think voters want more Karl Rove or Bushism, and I believe the word on street is "change". Rudy isn't even trying to be a change.

Posted by: Me_again on November 10, 2007 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

From Lowry last night at 6pm:

Jill Hazelbaker writes in to say: "The only person who broke the law is Rudy's good friend Bernie Kerik. And the only person who showed questionable judgment was the man pushed him to be Secretary of DHS, Rudy Giuliani."

And notes this statement from Rick Davis today: “Rudy Giuliani’s history with Bernie Kerik is a story of poor judgment. After being briefed on Kerik’s ties to organized crime, Giuliani named him chief of the New York Police Department. Without any further vetting, Giuliani asked him to join his security consulting firm. Despite obvious ethical problems, Giuliani went so far as to personally recommend Kerik for the top job at the Department of Homeland Security.

“A president’s judgment matters and Rudy Giuliani has repeatedly placed personal loyalty over regard for the facts.

Should have gone back again last night,Kevin.”

Posted by: TJM on November 10, 2007 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder if the Iraqi police got Bernie's taste for corruption during his truncated tenure?

Truncated in that he left after 4 months, leaving the Iraq police force in an appalling state.

Question: Is the legacy of Bernie's visit to Iraq still haunting us all today?

If so, then Rudy is toast. Not withstanding all of the other detritus that Bernie seems to carry with him.

I really think the stench of all this will be hard for voters to wave away. It's simply too putrid for folks to dismiss.

We don't need another "I'm the decider" running for president.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on November 10, 2007 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

Neo-cons maintain certain sites as knotholes of unreason that one has to pass through to move up the neo-con ladder. One has to adopt positions because that is what the gang desires. Neo-cons have 'advanced' beyond all philosophy and basically just want stuff now. A lot of neo-con sites are emotion sites where emotions are directed toward neo-con goals. In turn for checking the brain at the door one gets to vent. The arguments put forward on neo-cons sites are basically senseless but to be adopted because the gang desires a result. On what basis do neo-con elites make decisions? Apparently the obviousnes to neo-con elites of the position is crucial to the holding of the position. In the real world this has added up to two quagmires is better than one and three quamires is even better than two. Noting the irrationality of neo-cons and then saying heh that is cool opens neo-con doors. Neo-cons have abandoned reason for obviousness. Clearly neo-cons see irrationality and hipness towards the MadMax world neo-conservativsm is attempting to bring on as positives. Neo-cons are totally cool with going nuclear. The airman riding the atomic bomb to the ground in Dr. Strangelove while whooping and hollering portrays the neo-con aesthetic.

Posted by: Paul on November 10, 2007 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

But he won't be president because he's a thin-skinned martinet.

Posted by: Will Divide on November 10, 2007 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

Rudy!'s due for a nationally-televised nuclear meltdown any day now. A reporter will press for an answer to a question he doesn't like, and he'll come unpasted. It will happen, and America will see him for the crazy bastard he really is.

I believe he would respond to criticism with a nuclear strike. That motherfucker's nuts. He must be kept away from the button.

Posted by: Ken on November 10, 2007 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with Ken. If Mr. Rude somehow gets on the ballot -- and, let's face it, Romney is much more moldable by the Repub central commitat -- young voters of both parties are going to treat him like the nasty, dangerous uncle he is.

Posted by: Kenji on November 10, 2007 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

mr: "...abandon your utopian dreams and enter the real world."

Kevin Drum, wild-eyed utopian!

Posted by: Kenji on November 10, 2007 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

But Hillary is the "hyperpartisan" one, right?

Posted by: OxyCon on November 10, 2007 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, Rich Lowry. How I love to watch him tap dance to the Republican't tune.

Posted by: Cal Gal on November 10, 2007 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

The real scandal is that some people say that Rudy only tips 9.11%

Posted by: AJ on November 10, 2007 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

I'm praying that Rudy does make it on the ballot esp if Hillary is our candidate. First of all, I think he will eventually lose it and disgrace himself. Second, it takes issues such as Bill's behavior and the shady folks around the Clintons completely off the table. The "glass house" theory of politics.

Posted by: Teresa on November 10, 2007 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

I believe that Kerik is the issue that will finally get the snowball rolling on derailing the Giuliani candidacy. It's meaty and simple enough that the mainstream media can't ignore it, and they'll be all over it, and it will inevitably lead to closer scrutiny of all-that-is-Rudy.

Posted by: shnooky on November 10, 2007 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

That McCain went after Giuliani makes Romney happy; watch Huckabee.

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 10, 2007 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

An NYT ad runs an ad about General Betray Us, and go nuclear.

Hmm, Must work, Rudy got half the Dems to go right along with a bill condemning MoveOn.org.

Posted by: Me_again on November 10, 2007 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

Rudy is absurdly thin-skinned. That may be the best reason for Republicans not to vote for him. Bush, fool that he is, at least can take criticism without acting like he needs to nuke everyone who complains.

Why does Rudy protect Kerik so much? Is he being blackmailed?

Posted by: freelunch on November 10, 2007 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

As a sort-of-aside, anyone else noticing how scripted Giuliani's campaign has become? Every sentence out of his and his spokespeoples' mouths revolves around the fact that He Was A Mayor! Giuliani recommended a crook to run one of the most important national security posts in the country? So what! He Was A Mayor! and you weren't! No foreign policy experience? Wrong! He Was A Mayor! and you weren't!

It seems to me it's an example of trying to take a weakness and turn it into a strength: being mayor, even of NYC, seems like poor preparation for the presidency, but by constantly touting the fact that "I Was A Mayor," people might overlook that fact.

Posted by: Martin Gale on November 10, 2007 at 6:19 PM | PERMALINK

This is not a guy with multiple gears or multiple ways of dealing with the world. Attacking is all he knows how to do.

—Kevin Drum

If Rudy gets the nomination, I think women will be his undoing. Every woman knows a clown like him.

Posted by: Econobuzz on November 10, 2007 at 7:03 PM | PERMALINK

My #1 worry is that, no matter who the Dems or GOP nominate, the outcome will be determined by the flawed and eminently-hackable voting machines, especially Diebolds, which already allowed the GOP to steal one election. This isn't merely wild-eyed paranoia either; statistical evidence suggests strongly that the election was fixed in those states which had Diebold voting machines- only in those did the results differ so widely from the exit polls.

Combine this w/Hilary Clinton's ability to fire up the GOP base more than any other candidate, well, and Mayor Giuliani seems more likely. And, as Kevin points out, his persona makes shrub's look mild by comparison.

I would fear for the future of our republic, but I fear that the republic died a few years back.


Posted by: zorro on November 10, 2007 at 8:57 PM | PERMALINK

And what exactly is the "real world," mhr? The same delusional universe where George Bush and Dick Cheney live? Where tax cuts cure all problems and global warming isn't happening? Where the oil will never run out and we can just keep consuming the planet because it's God's will?

Posted by: Pissed Off on November 10, 2007 at 9:59 PM | PERMALINK

this isn't merely wild-eyed paranoia either

Agreed. Last year just showed that the system still works creakily in a crisis. But it's not a level playing field. Results are still being jebbed 5-10% towards the Radicals. The attorney scandal was all about jebbing results. Increased Dem control of the statehouses should dampen this somewhat. Still, I don't see enough concern about the shabby state of elections in the U.S. Four things are essential for clean and representative elections.

1. Equal access of voters to the ballot box.
2. Equal access of candidates to the media.
3. That electoral districts are drawn up by neutral bodies without an eye to electoral outcomes.
4. That votes can be verified. (!!!!)

The U.S. falls down badly on all three. That it falls down on number 4. and that this doesn't arouse a roar of 'no fucking way' from those in the media and from the people at large shocks this non-American.

Giuliani in power will hasten the decline of the American empire. U.S. ability to shape the world in a way favorable to the interests of its elites will rest increasingly on the raw coercive threat of military power.

Posted by: snicker-snack on November 10, 2007 at 11:43 PM | PERMALINK

I think Rudy may change, at some point - into women's clothing! America will never elect a lisping, cross-dressing, serial cheating combover like this worm.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on November 11, 2007 at 6:41 AM | PERMALINK

The beauty of the Kerik scandal is that it plays into multiple narratives: mismanagement, corrupt cronyism, incompetence on national security, and a Decider-like inability to simply take responsibility for mistakes without going ballistic. It even kinda plays into the womanizing issue, as Kerik also used the apartment intended for 9/11 rescue workers as a trysting site for his mistress (Rudy did the same thing).

Posted by: sullijan on November 11, 2007 at 7:17 AM | PERMALINK

Former Top Cop Indicted on Federal Fraud, Conspiracy Charges
By Bill Van Auken [WSWS]

Bernard Kerik, the former head of the New York City Police Department, who was briefly a nominee to head the US Homeland Security Department, was arraigned Friday in US federal court in White Plains, New York on a 16-count indictment that includes felony charges of fraud and conspiracy. ...

The focus of media reaction to the Kerik indictment has been on how it -- not to mention a trial that could play out in the midst of the 2008 election campaign -- will affect the political fortunes of Republican presidential frontrunner and former New York City mayor, Rudy Giuliani. It was Giuliani who tapped Kerik, first to head the city's sprawling jail system and then to become head of its nearly 40,000-member police department. Then, after leaving office, he recommended Kerik to Bush for the post of Homeland Security secretary.

Campaigning in Iowa, Giuliani told reporters: "I made a mistake in not clearing him effectively enough. I take responsibility for that." He dodged further questions on whether he would stand by Kerik, affirming that it was inappropriate to discuss a matter before the courts.

Giuliani's evasion won't wash. During the state case against Kerik, Giuliani was compelled to acknowledge under oath that he had been briefed on the ties of his nominee for police commissioner to the mob-connected businessman, but that he had no recollection of it. This represented a fallback position from his earlier claims that he had known nothing about the matter.

One would think that being told that the man he wanted to head the country's largest police department was accepting money from people linked to the mafia would be something the mayor, a former federal prosecutor, would have picked up on. The only credible explanation is that Giuliani knew and appointed him anyway. ...

[Emphasis mine.]

So if he nominally "wins", do we formally refer to him as "Mister President" or "Don Rudolfo"?

(The informal tag "Il Duce" is naturally already presumed.)

Posted by: Poilu on November 11, 2007 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK
America will never elect a lisping, cross-dressing, serial cheating combover like this worm.

I had hoped that America also wouldn't elect a borderline-retarded, completely unqualified maniac either.


Posted by: Zorro on November 11, 2007 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

"If Rudy gets the nomination, I think women will be his undoing. Every woman knows a clown like him."

New Yorkers may recall that the defining moment of the first Hillary senatorial campaign arrived in a debate when her opponent, Rick Lazio, who had been insisting for some time that Hillary sign a "no new taxes" pledge, left his podium and confronted her face-to-face, waving the pledge at her and shrilly insisting that she sign it.

Her poll numbers jumped an immediate ten points at least. Women interviewed immediately afterwards said that Lazio had lost their vote because he "reminded them of their first husbands".

If it comes to a Hillary vs. Rudy election, watch Rudy do something similar. He's crazier than Lazio, and she brings this out in crazy men. Women will be appalled....this time nationally.

Posted by: jprichva on November 11, 2007 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

I suspect that, despite the fact that Rudy pulling a Lazio on Hillary would cost him female votes, it might gain him more votes among those Republicans who are unsure of whether he's 'conservative' enough for them. How better to prove his conservative bona fides than to do something as blatantly misogynistic as this?


Posted by: zorro on November 11, 2007 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK
…Women interviewed immediately afterwards said that Lazio had lost their vote because he "reminded them of their first husbands".….jprichva at 2:40 PM
Speaking of points of view

…3. Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani are on opposite sides of the gender divide. We found indications that Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Giuliani represent two sides of the same coin: Men show little interest in Mrs. Clinton initially but after watching her video they react positively. Women respond to her strongly at first, but their interest wanes after they watch her video.
With Mr. Giuliani, the reactions are reversed. Men respond strongly to his initial still photos, but this fades after they see his video. Women grow more engaged after watching his video.
This is evidence that swing voters’ responses change when they see these two candidates in action. For men, Mrs. Clinton is a pleasant surprise. For women, Mr. Giuliani has unexpected appeal….

Gentlemen, lop off a few inches of height, shave your heads and perhaps you too will become a babe magnet. Or not.
..."Why are short effeminate guys hits?" Maybe because women want to pet them and men don't feel threatened by them? Not so sure about the latter, however: Ghengis Kahn was shorter than LaGuardia and Yasser Arafat, Meyer Lansky & Charles Manson the same height as. Giuliani's height is listed as 5'9 1/2" but he looks shorter (as does Bloomberg, who claims to be 5'10"), say, about the same as Luciano, another guy it wasn't wise to get too close to. Maybe Hizzoner upped it to be the same as Gotti claimed (he looked shorter). Anyhow, 5'10" used to be about average height so they wouldn't have looked so short 40 years ago.... [in comments]

Posted by: Mike on November 11, 2007 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

I believe he's defensive about Kerik because his connections to him may derail his campaign. Kerik is dirty. Giuliani is therefore dirty by association. "What did you know and when did you know it?"

Posted by: JeffII on November 11, 2007 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK

Giuliani in power will hasten the decline of the American empire. Posted by: snicker-snack

While Rudy may win the Rethug nomination, he's not even that popular in NY except upstate. If he can't win the five boroughs, he doesn't win NY.

Posted by: JeffII on November 11, 2007 at 5:52 PM | PERMALINK

I had hoped that America also wouldn't elect a borderline-retarded, completely unqualified maniac either.

Z: Alas, Mencken was obviously right -- and THEN some.

"The odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre -- the man who can most easily (and) adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum.

"The presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal.

"On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron."

--H.L. Mencken, The Baltimore Sun, 1920

Posted by: Poilu on November 11, 2007 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

Giuliani is currently running a mile back from Clinton in NY. The folks in that state know both of these folks well...and that is their decision. Also Interesting, Clinton is doing the same thing to Romney in Mass..a state that knows him well. So what are we to conclude: The people that have actually been subjected to these men as leaders cannot stand by them.

Posted by: Richard on November 11, 2007 at 9:28 PM | PERMALINK



Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM

buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly