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He Coulda Put Spice In Bush's Cabinet

By Peter Carlson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 14, 2004; Page C01

Come back, Bernie Kerik. We need you. We want you. We love you.

We don't care if your nanny was an illegal immigrant. We don't care if you didn't pay income taxes for her. We forgive you, Bernie, because you allegedly have what Washington desperately needs in this era of tepid, tedious bureaucrats -- multiple mistresses, mob ties, $6 million in dubious stock profits on stun guns, an arrest warrant that was never served and, best of all, a "secret love nest" that the New York Daily News reports you used for "passionate liaisons."

Come back, Bernie, come back. We need some "passionate liaisons" in this town. We haven't had one since Bill broke up with Monica.

When President Bush nominated you for secretary of homeland security, we were thrilled. It's not that we didn't like the outgoing Homeland Security czar, Tom Ridge. Tom is a great guy and he kept us safe, but not even the world's most imaginative pervert could conceive of Tom Ridge keeping a "secret love nest" for "passionate liaisons."

Come back, Bernie. We love your bald, bullet head and your tough guy rhetoric. We love your delightfully Dickensian life story -- how the son of a prostitute grew up to be New York City's police commissioner. We love the fact that you'd married your dental hygienist, that you used to be the mayor's bodyguard, that you were once kicked out of Saudi Arabia while working there as a security consultant.

Bernie, we need people like you in Washington. We're drowning in colorless, button-down, blow-dried, respectable family men with respectable Red State family values.

Bernie, we're sorry. We admit we laughed when you called the White House on Friday night to back out of the Homeland Security gig because you suddenly remembered that you'd had a nanny who might have been illegal and that you might have forgotten to pay taxes for her. We made cynical jokes about the FBI's vetting process. We're sorry. We regret that. We really do.

In fact, we've been regretting that pretty much full time ever since then, Bernie, because every story we read about you makes us miss you more.

On Sunday, the New York Daily News reported that you were "deeply entangled with a New Jersey construction company long under fire for its alleged mob ties."

The story said you'd gotten your brother, Don, a job with the company, which a "mob turncoat" had identified in court as being tied to the Gambino family.

We love the delicious details of the story. We love the fact that your brother's job was "to run a dirt and stone transfer station." We also love the fact that the company hired a friend of yours after you recommended him as a "top-shelf guy."

In Washington, we need more guys who use the phrase "top-shelf guy" instead of the phrase "my distinguished colleague, the senator from the great state of North Dakota."

And, frankly, Bernie, we don't care that the guy you called a "top-shelf guy" later pleaded guilty to a felony conspiracy charge. Hey, as we say in Washington, "mistakes were made."

That story made us miss you, Bernie, but it didn't make us miss you half as much as the story in yesterday's Daily News -- the one about your "secret love nest."

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