Saturday, December 18, 2004

Falls From Grace

Out of the whole Bernie Kerik self-immolation affair, perhaps the most satisfying piece of the puzzle is how far St. Rudy's star has fallen in the past week. That's not to say Giuliani still won't take a stab at a presidential run in 2008, but clearly, the Republican wing of the GOP is taking a second look at his prospects.

Steve Gilliard has written an excellent knockdown of the Rudy and Bernie show from a New Yorker's perspective:

...But what will be so damaging for Giuliani as the Kerik scandal spreads, is how Giuliani was warned time and again about Kerik's behavior.

Now, what people outside New York seem to not get is how scary it was for Kerik to have the power he did while hanging out with the Bada Bing crowd. Colorful is one thing, crooked is quite another...

Kerik was a low rent grifter who kissed ass well. Put him in a jockey's silk, paint his face black and call him sambo. That's how he acted around Giuliani.

Prior to 9/11/2001, Giuliani was destined for the Ed Koch Memorial Scrapheap of lousy NYC mayors. He was embroiled in personal scandal. Lest we forget, he had to withdraw from his Senate race with Hillary because of his little family values mistress / wifey problem. The average New Yorker couldn't wait for the mayoral election to flush Rudy into the Hudson River.

But in the blink of an eye, the cameras were on his face as he strode through the ash-covered financial district with a hanky over his mouth and nose, talking to reporters. The birth of St. Rudy had begun.

As I watched Giuliani's star rise over the past year or so, I've thought it interesting how the GOP is all about forgiveness of personal peccadilloes (unless the peccadilloes happen to be attached to the resume of a Democrat, of course). What progressives must take from the Bush/Rudy/Bernie affair is that the narrative needs to be about a lack of sound judgment and critical thinking skills on the part of the people calling the shots in Neoconville. The net needs to widen to capture the broader implications of the story.

With this week's Rummy and Kerik stories, perhaps the GOP is starting to collapse on itself. As Bradfordchild pointed out in a comment to an earlier posting here on ASZ:

So, what do you do when you have seized absolute power, killed a bunch of people, looted the Treasury, given away the public lands, wrecked the environment, and substituted fake piety for genuine faith in the public square?

You turn on one another.

Isn't that how the fall of the Roman Empire started? Et tu, Brute.