Which is not a very high bar, I’ll admit. Never in American history have we had such an ill-cast nominee for such a life-or-death post as Bernard B. Kerik, the former Rudy Giuliani chauffeur who was going to stand between us and the terrorists.
Chertoff is definitely a whole lot brainier than Kerik was. It’s magna-cum-laude Harvard versus high-school GED. However, the two men are similar in some striking ways: Both are tough political fighters. Both have never actually run anything very large. In the great debate between American freedom and American security, both men keep saying let’s be less free. Plus, both men benefited immensely from the mentorship of Giuliani.
Wait a second! Another Rudy protégé running Homeland Security? Haven’t we been here before?
Maybe so, but long before signing on with Attorney General John Ashcroft, Chertoff found his professional footing as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York (1983-87), where Rudy was his boss. We’ll know soon enough what lessons he learned in those years.
So the Kerik fiasco might have taken some of the shine off the former New York mayor. But life, we keep learning, is a circle, and Rudy’s back!
Ellis Henican is a staff columnist for Newsday, a political analyst at the Fox News Channel and the host of a nationally syndicated weekend show on the Talk Radio Network.
Ellis Henican joined Fox News Channel (FNC) as a political contributor in July 1999. He also serves as a staff columnist for Newsday and hosts a nationally syndicated weekend show on Talk Radio Network.