So by now we know that Kerik has had a shady past and that something that has already come out, or something that might come out, has caused him to withdraw from President Bush's nomination to the Homeland Security post. What is a bit surprising about the whole issue is not so much that Bush nominated a clearly unqualified person for the job, but rather that they were unprepared for Kerik's dirty laundry. Either they were unaware of it or they just didn't think it would come to light. Either way it smacks of arrogance. Bush simply assumed that Giuliani's lapdog, who happened to be the NYC Police Commissioner on 9/11, would make it through the nomination process unquestioned - as if 9/11 were enough of a shield to prevent any background checks.
But here is where the White House screwed up. Kerik is not really a national figure. People don't credit him for anything much, and he certainly isn't held in the same regard as Giuliani. Thus, the press wasn't at all reverential towards him (as they are Rumsfeld). It was therefore easy to take him down.
The White House must assume that they have the Midas touch - that anything they do will be accepted and that anything or anyone related to 9/11 will evoke unqualified support. Instead, their arrogance led them to nominate an unqualified character with a questionable past to one of the most important positions in government. They wanted a loyal "yes" man. Fortunately for us, we said "no."