A hack for DHS?

Bernie Kerik? Giuliani’s driver? For DHS Secretary?
You’re joking, right?

So Rudi Giuliani made Bernie Kerik, his high-school dropout police driver, first the Corrections Commissioner and then the Police Commissioner. (This was years after Giuliani fired Bill Bratton for insufficient obsequity.) Kerik’s past included being the morals enforcer for a big Saudi hospital.

Kerik didn’t do anything obvious to make the horrible New York jails and probation service any better ( though he did turn the department into a Republican patronage operation), but he also didn’t do anything obvious to make the pretty terrific NYPD any worse.

Kerik became an icon after 9-11 not for anything in particular he did, but for looking and sounding the part of a tough cop. He seems to have messed up the job of training the Iraqi police miserably; no one has quite explained why he left that job so quickly.

Kerik scored points with Bush for making especially inflammatory and unsupported assertions that voting for Kerry meant voting for more attacks on the United States. He’s an employee of Giuliani’s consulting firm, which of course will want to do business with the Department of Homeland Security.

I know Kerik is popular in New York, which makes Schumer and Clinton unwilling to challenge him. But is there really no Senate Democrat willing to point out that putting this highly politicized mediocrity in charge of homeland security is a disgustingly sick joke? Or that firing an aggressive Inspector General isn’t really the right way to improve organizational performance?

Josh Marshall has been all over this one.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com