The Corner

Rudy and Kerik

Will Kerik damage Rudy’s hopes for the presidency? Or for the governorship? What difference does it make? Mayors of New York City do not achieve higher office. Period. As best I can recall, not a single mayor of New York went on to higher office in the entire 20th century, and it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that none of them managed the trick in the 19th century, either. (Readers who are especially knowledgeable about New York City history are invited to send me emails, weighing in.)

Why should serving as mayor of Gotham doom any politician? There are two theories. The first: that serving as mayor of New York associates any politician so intimately with the city that he becomes flatly unacceptable to the rest of the state, let alone to the rest of the nation. As a son of upstate New York, I can attest to the truth in this. The mere suggestion that Mayor Wagner or, later, Mayor Lindsay might end up as our governor was enough to start my father muttering about moving to Pennsylvania. In Rudy’s case, just stop and think: He’s loud and obnoxious (not without a certain charm, I grant you, but loud and obnoxious all the same); he’s an insistent supporter of gay rights and abortion on demand; and he’s on his third marriage, his second having collapsed in colorful acrimony. Is this the man to win a presidential primary in, let us say, South Carolina? The second theory: that, like the Hope Diamond, the mayor’s office is cursed.

One way or the other, Rudy’s career in politics is already over.

Peter Robinson — Peter M. Robinson is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution.

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