Tuesday, December 14, 2004
Truth Will Out...When the Stakes Are High Enough
I was talking with a friend last night about all this crap coming out regarding Kerik, the would-have-been Secretary of Homeland Security. What I wonder is, "What is the calculus that determines whether prior actions become important enough to stop somebody from obtaining a job?" Several of these accusations and problems date to his time in NYC, yet none of them stopped his appointment to go Iraq. Some predate his time working for Giuliani, yet none stopped his rise to police commissioner.
To come from the other side, people knew about Clinton's dalliances and marijuana before he ran for president, yet it never stopped him from becoming governor of Arkansas. Yet suddenly because he was a candidate for president, it was important.
I understand why the people appointing him would want to look past these things. I don't understand why people who might oppose him or the press corps wouldn't do more to track down info on appointees themselves. I mean, isn't that part of what reporting is? How hard would it be to get an intern to spend $50 to run a background check on appointees, even lots of appointees?
Certainly something about the stakes of the appointment make sense. Perhaps it is too daunting to track down every single appointee at every level of government, and so institutions like the press or government agencies invest only effort commensurate to the level of appointment. On the other hand, maybe people who oppose a candidate reserve charges for when they will be maximumly damaging. It's just curious is all I'm saying.
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