Saturday, November 03, 2007


Maybe this is how you beat Giuliani -- not with the many tales of Bernie Kerik's corruption, as laid out in today's New York Times, but with an ad based on the scene at the then-mayor's residence after Giuliani offered Kerik the job of deputy corrections commissioner, as described in Kerik's memoir and quoted in the same Times story:

Mr. Kerik followed Mr. Giuliani downstairs to a dimly lighted room. There waited Mr. Giuliani's boyhood chum Peter J. Powers, who was first deputy mayor, and other aides. One by one, they pulled Mr. Kerik close and kissed his cheek.

"I wonder if he noticed how much becoming part of his team resembled becoming part of a mafia family," Mr. Kerik wrote. "I was being made."

That's what you do: You film a reenactment of the scene. You read the passage over it. There's your ad.

Actually, you read the extended excerpt that appears in Wayne Barrett's story on Giuliani in this week's Village Voice:

"In this dark sitting room, one by one," Kerik recalled, "the mayor's closest staff members came forward and kissed me. They all knew. I know the mayor is as big a fan of The Godfather as I am, and I wonder if he noticed how much becoming part of his team resembled becoming part of a Mafia family. I was being made. I was now a part of the Giuliani family, getting the endorsement of the other family members, the other capos."

This takes Giuliani down off his heroic white steed and brings him down to earth -- as a weirdo, or as a sick individual with Walter Mitty fantasies of being a thug.

But I fear Democrats won't do it. (Forget the Republicans -- none of them seem to want to close in for the kill on any of their opponents.) Maybe they'd be afraid of appearing anti-Italian (though I'm Italian-American and I say go for it -- after all, he's the one wallowing in the stereotype). More likely, they're going to be typical Democrats -- they're going to concentrate on the facts of Kerik's corruption ... and the details are going to be hard to follow and hard to connect to Rudy, and therefore are going to dismissed by the public with a shrug and a yawn. (I urge you to read the Times and Voice articles anyway. It's amazing how much dirt there is.)

No, don't go there, at least not yet. Start with the kisses.

By the way, let me point out that Kerik's memoir came out seven years ago, yet I hadn't read any reference to this scene in any story about Giuliani until this week. Why is that? Where has the press been?

(And please note that this means Giuliani has had seven years to deny that the ceremony took place. As far as I know, he's never denied it.)

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