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Monday, December 06, 2004



Just for the record, does anyone seriously think the Dept of Homeland Security is making us safer?

jim htichcock

No, but it sure is colorful.


I'd be more impressed Marc if some of the folk knocking Kerik were from the right, you'd kind of expect the knocks from the left. As for Hart, well, I'm not sure he wouldn't engage in a little monkey business himself.

Randy Paul

Kerik is being appointed for being a political toady and having Rudy Giuliani in his corner, nothing more, except, perhaps his shameless comment when he returned from Iraq and tried to draw linkage between Iraq and 9/11.

I wonder why the right isn't concerned about the daughter he abandoned in Korea:


Randy Paul

GM Roper:

Here's the criticism from the right. It was in Ellis Henican's column:

"Was Sept. 11th Commission member John Lehman on to something when he called Kerik's leadership after the terror attack 'scandalous' and 'not worthy of the Boy Scouts.'"

Lehman is a Republican and former navy Secretary in the Reagan administration.


Randy, Thanks, I read that but didn't note it. I stand corrected!


From the right, I was surprised by the appointment of Kerik; but, unlike those from the left, I figured that Bush had more information and insight into his qualifications than did I. (I rarely hear anyone from the left who admits that maybe, just maybe, someone might know more than they do.) So, once the decision was made, I quit second-guessing and gave my support to the new Secretary.

(Specially for Josh) If Dodgers Manager Jim Tracy pinch hits Robin Ventura for the pitcher because he needs a left-handed batter but you think the pitcher is needed for another inning--do you boo Ventura when he comes up to bat or do you cheer him to get a hit? Well, once the decision is made, I cheer for my team. Others may boo the home team because it more important to them to be "proven right" than for their team to win. Another lesson from sports.

Randy Paul


And it was Ronald Reagan who said "Trust, but verify." Sorry, but I reserve my right not to be a lemming.

jim hitchcock

Woody, why would you boo Ventura(I'll say up front, gonna miss the guy) for what would have bben a bad managerial choice? Or was that you're point? --- On another note, what do you guys think of Rob't
Novak's choice to replace (eventually, but soon) Treasury Sec. Snow? Phil Gramm? Wow!


Randy, President Reagan was referring to a hostile foreign country who had a long history of cheating on nuclear weapons--not to our own government and system and, especially, not to one cabinet appointment. People who are trusting, loyal, and patriotic are not lemmings.

I don't disagree with people expressing opinions, but they are more effective before decisions are made rather than coming as sour grapes or Monday morning quarterbacking. (Another sports reference for Josh!)

I don't even know, just who was the person that the Democrats were proposing before Bush made his selection?

Marc Cooper

Actually, I think that Bush's selection of Kerik shows he DOESN'T have much if any insight, that he thinks primarily as a politician rather than as statesman. Kerik is strictly small-time vision. This is arguably the most important domestic post in the most powerful country in the world... we all deserve someone rather grander than a gopher for Giuliani. There is NO evidence available in the public record demonstrating that Kerik has anything but a "security guard" view of things.

Randy Paul

What Marc said.

As for expressing opinions before a decision is made, you're PRESUMING that it's sour grapes. Poppycock. I think that it's a bad decision. As for commenting before the decision is announced, I don't have the gift of clairvoyance. As I said before, I will never surrender my right NOT to be a lemming.


Hey, if it's a bad decision, then the guy won't last. I don't think that his appointment makes us more vulnerable to attack, which is the real issue. There are plenty of senior managers already in place to run those operations. Further, I rarely see where cabinet members really can make a major shift in the bureaucracies that they are charged with managing.

I don't know why Bush appointed this guy. I don't even know if he really is a Republican. However, despite certain beliefs to the contrary, Bush isn't stupid and maybe we should look for the real reasons that he appointed Kerik than reasons why he shouldn't have. Wait patiently until I report back.

John Davies

So other than Gary Hart who else would you recommend?

Michael Turmon


It's no use arguing that the decision makes little difference anyway. This agency is the third-largest in the whole government. It is the department that is supposed to make sure that the planes we get on don't be hijacked, and we all know the consequences when this job is not done well.

It is a huge responsibility.

Furthermore, about the relative importance of the chief in relation to the managers below him: in this case, since the agency is in such flux, it's clear that having a leader with some vision would make a huge difference.

Randy Paul

Ray Kelly, NY's current police commissioner and former head of US Customs would have been a better choice.


I agree with Marc that it would be wonderful if Bush would place the larger needs of the country ahead of narrow partisan interests. There are smart, skillful people across the aisle who could contribute in the next four years. But, it is clear that the second term is about conformity and unanimity.

I do not think critics will get much traction by calling for a sprinkling of contrarian views in the administration, a sprinkling that would may have little effect on policy. The real challenge (one that began weeks ago) is once all the "yes" men and women are in place, will there be a persuasive and cogent "no" message from the opposition?

jim hitchcock

Doesn't really matter how persuasive the opposition argument is, Mikey, If there's no one around to relay it to the man. We know he doesn't read newspapers, but does anyone know if he reads his daily
`early birds'?


Michael Turmon wrote: "...since the agency is in such flux, it's clear that having a leader with some vision would make a huge difference."

You're right. I agree.

I still wonder why Bush made this particular appointment. There has to be more to it than politics, because I can see other appointments that would offer more political advantage. I'm still on the hunt for answers.


**I'd be more impressed Marc if some of the folk knocking Kerik were from the right, you'd kind of expect the knocks from the left. As for Hart, well, I'm not sure he wouldn't engage in a little monkey business himself. **

Who is there remaining on the right who criticizes anything the administration does?


Mork, not everyone on the right agrees with all that President Bush does, and I don't. However, we recognize that he won the election along with the authority to nominate whomever he chooses. It seems fair to allow his appointments reasonable time to show that they can do the job. Those on the left throw mud on the appointments without so much as giving them a chance.

This is where we are different. My observations over the years have been that the left has criticized many, many capable and successful public servants of the right, and that their criticisms were proven unfounded. After seeing so much of this, it's hard to take such premature judgements seriously.

My extensive research of Kerik has consisted of viewing two pages from Google. With that vast information in hand, I can report that Kerik is a black belt in tae kwon do. (Another sports reference!) Therefore, he can kick the ass of any terrorist.

It does seem that Karik has been successful in many areas and brought himself up from a horrible childhood. He has been an excellent, and trusted, advisor to the President. Both Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer have come out in support of him. (That could be a negative.)

Just because Karik hasn't been in the game long doesn't mean that he can't play in the major leagues. Let's be fair and give him a chance.

John Atkinson

have you read Phil Carter's 'all homeland security is local/right man for the job' piece up on slate? worth reading some praise from the left, or the critical center, or whatever you'd call Mr. Carter - not a partisan hack, certainly.

Kerik is certainly, ah, problematic in some respects, but I see his strengths as well, especially compared to philosopher kings like Gary Hart, who I'm sure would treat DHS as a platform to second guess/undermine/interfere with State and DoD (whether or not they should be undermined is a separate issue). Ridge didn't do much to really define DHS's core mission very well, and, homeland security being as broadly defined as it is, the 'wrong' guy could end up stepping on a lot of toes and igniting more bureaucratic turf wars, which we patently do not need at this point. I am with Carter, on this at least - I think Kerik will focus on working with local agencies and providing them with what they need, instead of trying to compete with State/DoD on national security policy.

in this respect, there's something appealing about his lack of education and lack of background in Washington politics - he's not likely to be hindered by abstract concerns with little relevance to the task at hand, such as "absolutely every state and municipal government has to be dealt with equally." noooo. I mean, maybe one day, ideally, yes, but while we are so vulnerable and still trying to 'catch up' on homeland security, we need to focus efforts on the areas where terrorist attacks are most likely, i.e. New York, DC, etc. Kerik is a pragmatic guy, and to my mind it's absolutely crucial to have a pragmatist and not a theoretician in this position.

issues of partisanship and corruption are more of a concern, I think, but I am somewhat optimistic on this too: far from the iniquities of the streets, and under far more scrutiny than ever, I think his opportunities for mischief will be pretty limited. and any pork/graft is likely to come our way (I am a NYer, full disclosure), and, hey, we need all the help we can get! schumer is about as craven a politician as they come, but he recognizes a good deal when he sees one. I'm certainly not convinced he won't be a gigantic failure, but I'm cautiously optimistic that he will end up being a bold but surprisingly effective choice, and one that could end up setting the mold for DHS much more than Ridge.

Randy Paul

"Novak's choice to replace (eventually, but soon) Treasury Sec. Snow? Phil Gramm? Wow!"

Yes and look what we have to thank Phil Gramm for:

"Similarly, Republican Senator Phil Gramm fell afoul of the administration over the banking regulations intended to combat money laundering in the anti-terrorism bill. The Texas right-winger opposed the regulations, even though they addressed well-known loopholes through which people like Osama bin Laden run their finances. In fact, the only reason the money-laundering component of the bill wasn’t law years ago is that Gramm single-handedly torpedoed similar legislation when he was the Senate Banking Committee chairman. Here, it was Gramm’s extra-constitutional sense of privacy that trumped the national interest. Gramm’s competing ideals led him to do even weirder back flips than Barr: 'I was right then, and I am right now,' Gramm said. Realizing that his ideological contortion was untenable, Gramm eventually dropped his opposition, but not before he called the bill 'totalitarian' and added, 'The way to deal with terrorists is to hunt them down and kill them.'"


What a mental midget. There's great value in cutting off their funding - and it's probably more cost-effective.


mikey writes, "There are smart, skillful people across the aisle who could contribute in the next four years"

Mikey, after the way the Dems have treated Bush and the repubs why on earth would he want to appoint a dem? Or, had Kerry won, the same question would hold.

Now, if he had gone out and searched for the "best possible man" and that turned out to be a dem, that would set OK with me. But not to first look on the "other side of the aisle."

Mork, gosh, good to see you. Your question as to who questions bush... well, Sassenbrenner has, I do, McCain has, Powell has, others will, I will, and of course, you and Marc will. :-)


In the end, does it matter who they choose? If you're not addressing the social grievances that help recruit terrorists, the whold thing's bound to fail anyhow.

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