Monday, December 28, 2009

Who is Janet Napolitano and why does she still have a job?

"The system worked."** The Director of Homeland Security, Madam Secretary, made her rounds on all of the Sunday talk shows (except of course, Chris Wallace on Fox News), saying just about the dumbest things she could possibly say about the Christmas Day thwarted terrorist attack on Northwest Airways flight 253. She told Jake Tapper who was filling in for Stephanopoulos on ABC's This Week: "Everything happened that should have. Passengers reacted correctly, the crew reacted correctly." She also said, "The traveling public is safe." And this, We’ll let the FBI and the criminal justice system do their work."

**Please read the fine print on your airline ticket: "In case of terrorist bomb attack, passengers will be expected to put out fire with bare hands." That's how "the system" works in Janet Napolitano's world.

Hey Janet: Your system didn't work if a terrorist gets on a plane and detonates a bomb. And he's not a criminal, he's a terrorist. Just sayin'.

This is the same individual who, in her testimony to Congress as Homeland Security Secretary, refused to use the word "terroism" and referred instead to "man-caused disasters." Later she told Der Spiegel last March, "Perhaps that was only a nuance, but it demonstrates that we want to move away from the politics of fear toward a policy of being prepared for all risks that can occur." She went on to say, "Our policies will be guided by authoritative information. [We'll do this job "smarter" than anyone else ever has.] We also have assets at our disposal now that we did not have prior to 9/11. For example, we are much better able to keep track of travellers coming into the US than we were before." Really? Napolitano is also remembered for her threat assessment report in April about "disgruntled" military veterans being a right-wing extremist threat. She apologized for her statement, but why the apology for something she honestly believes about veterans?  Oh, and not to be forgotten is the her assertion that crossing our U.S. border illegally "isn't a crime, per se." Frankly, I've had about enough of this woman. Three strikes and you're out, Janet. And now it's four strikes, with her ridiculous assertion that air travel is safe because the system worked.

The Washington Times editorialized about her man-made disaster language: This is a ludicrous nuance that causes confusion; it is PC language that is almost meaningless, worse than saying salad dodger for an obese person or product relocation engineer for a trash hauler. The WT editorial opines that Madam Secretary seems "confused" about her responsibilities, and they're not the only ones to point this out. Jonah Goldberg, writing this Sunday at the National Review Online, writes that Napolitano has a habit of arguing that DHS is a first responder outfit. Goldberg continues his point: By her logic if the bomb had gone off, the system would have "worked" since it has done everything right.

This is a ludicrous woman. How did she get the top job at and why is she still there? One article about her describes her as "wonky and charismatic." Someone obviously had the wrong word and instead meant "wonkish." Wonky is something that's odd or doesn't work right; wonkish is someone complex, subtle, hard-working, studious, or detail-oriented. People often refer to AlGore as wonkish. But charismatically wonkish--wow. She's remembered by one judge, a former employer, as a "gregarious people person who happily excelled at detail-oriented paperwork." A description like that sounds like code for "she's not too bright"; however, she has a consistent lifelong record of success in school and employment. She's also, unlike most of Obama's appointees, not a tax cheat and not a communist.

Madam Secretary Janet Napolitano is a 52-year-old former governor of Arizona who is also a native New Yorker. Well, OK, she graduated high school from a school in Albuquerque, did her undergraduate work in California, and received her JD from UVA, so she's sort of a hybrid mixed bag--a geographical mutt, if you will. Here's something I remember hearing but had forgotten--she served as an attorney for Anita Hill when Hill testified against Clarence Thomas. She was appointed by President Bill Clinton as a U.S. attorney, and she was subsequently elected Arizona Attorney General. She won the 2002 Arizona gubernatorial election with 46% of the vote, defeating her Republican opponent who received 45% of the vote. [Republicans just have start winning those close elections!] She was named by Time Rag as one of the best governors in the U.S. [Well, that's a meaningless platitude, considering the source.] What did the people of Arizona think of her? She set a record for the total number of vetoes issued by an Arizona governor, giving her the title "Governor No" (JaNo?), and she was re-elected in 2006, so go figure. Way to go, Arizona. Then she was an early endorser of Barack Obama. So she backed the right horse, so to speak, and consequently ended up with a big federal job, head of Homeland Security.

So I'm looking around the internet, trying to figure out what Arizonans think of this woman, and I find a site that in early December speculated that Napolitano might return home to Arizona to run against John McCain for Senate in 2010. I found another article that says she "provided a new model for progressive politics in the West" in the way she was able to contain Republicans as governor. Reading through the article that extols her as a great progressive, her policies seem to be all over the map. She was for government health insurance in her state "for the children"; she was for an increased sales tax for infrastructure (the article says that her governing record is full of tit-for-tat deals); she enacted universal all-day kindergarten, although she conceded to Republicans about school vouchers (she doesn't like vouchers); as a governor, she wanted to impose a cap and trade system on Arizona; she's vetoed state funds for raids on illegal immigrants; and she's relentlessly pro-choice. The progressive label fits her, although she says she "resists" labels.

Conclusion: Janet Napolitano isn't a lightweight, and she shouldn't be underestimated. Why then does she  keep stepping in shit, making these unforced errors, in her capacity as Director of Homeland Security? If her remarks are analyzed from the standpoint that she is an otherwise reasonably intelligent and savvy politician making dumb remarks, then two things come to mind: 1) she's in the wrong job; and 2) she's used to being the smartest person in the room and as such her knee-jerk reaction is to make patronizing remarks to Jane and Joe Q. Public. Perhaps she's also using bad judgment, repeating Rahm Emanuel-generated talking points instead of using her own brain.

Don't look to her to be fired from her job as Homeland Security Director; do look for her to quit that post sometime in the near future to run for political office--IMHO.

Update. Oh jeeze, now the White House Monday morning quarterbacks are evidently making Janet walk back the stupid remarks she made on the Sunday shows. A blog called Charlie Foxtrot has the story: "Let the Furious Napolitano Spin Begin." Sunday Janet said, "The system worked." Monday morning on the Today Show, Janet said, "The comment is being taken out of context."

Matt Lauer: "You would then concede that the system that was supposed to prevent something like this from happening failed miserably."

Napolitano: (nodding) "It did." Then she asks, "What do we need to do, to change, perhaps, the rules that have been in place since 2006?" Code for IT'S BUSH'S FAULT! --"All of that under review right now."

Well, Janet, what the hell have you been doing since January 2009 when you were given the job?

Let's review, or, as my favorite blogger, Michelle's Mirror's Blog suggests: I offered an alternate solution that would eliminate the underwear screening that is bound to tick everyone else off: “How about you just don’t let Muslims from turd-world countries traveling to America on a one-way ticket, purchased with cash, without luggage, who are denied re-entry into the UK for suspicion of terrorist involvement, whose name is in an FBI terrorist database, whose father notified the U.S. embassy in Nigeria that his son might do something like this, and was last seem pacing about in the airport grabbing his privates to say good bye – how about you just don’t let them get on the damn airplane!”

To every reasonable question she was asked by Matt Lauer (and frankly, the tenor of those questions was a surprise to me--I must be missing something), her reply was the same: "That's my question too," and "We're looking into that." "Obviously we need to review those protocols," she said--the protocols used to determine who gets on the no-fly list, how the list gets "whittled down" (her phrase) from the larger watch list. I want to see this woman go in front of Congress and explain what she's been doing for the past eleven months that's been more important than reviewing "protocols" for how a terrorist does or doesn't get put on a no-fly list.

Napolitano: "What I would say is, our system did not work in this instance, no one is happy or satisfied with that, and extensive review is underway. . . . But at this point we feel. . . that air travel is safe as we work our way through this problem."

Yep, especially if you fly by private jet, like federal wonks at her level do. That's quite a walkback in just under 24 hours.

I think it's pretty clear that whatever political talents Janet Napolitano possesses, she is clearly either in over her head at Homeland Security or just simply in the wrong job. ABC's Brian Ross reports that Umar Abdulmutallab, the failed Christmas Day airline bomber, says “more like me” will be coming to the US: "We are carrying a bomb to the enemies of God."

Update #2. Sent to me by nobakindown, one of my frequent commenters:

Imagine if George W Bush Was Bodysurfing, posted by Laura Ingraham.

...when an airline terror plot almost succeeded in killing 300 inside the U.S. on Christmas Day. Imagine then if his Homeland Security Secretary, in a bizarrely self-congratulatory mode, said that "everything happened that should have" to thwart the attack. A man who never should have been allowed anywhere near the U.S. managed to hang on to a multiple entry visa and nearly carry out the worst attack in our nation since 9/11. This is a total outrage and isn't surprising given this administration's rebranding the war on terror "overseas contingency operations." As I have been saying all along, Team Obama is woefully unprepared to handle what our country is facing. Now their incompetence is not only hurting the free market, it is endangering the lives of the American people. Hmm...maybe Desiree Rogers will come out of hiding to save the Obama brand from yet another embarrassment.

P.S. Does anyone beside me have ZERO CONFIDENCE in taking an international flight to the U.S.?

P.S.S. Has anyone heard from BO? No? Really not? Wonder what's he's up to? Busy, I guess.

I guess he finally weighed in on the Christmas Day terrorist attack. Blah, blah--like, who cares? Says Dr. Zero (Doc 0) from HotAir on Twitter: Has there ever been a moment of crisis in which both America's citizens and enemies were less interested in what the President had to say? Probably not. Go play golf, Barry.

Some comments from HotAir people:

Good thing he didn't wear a tie; otherwise, I'd never known he is on vacation.

His attempt at a moustache gave him all the gravitas of a French Cabaret singer.

He looks pissed that his vacation was interrupted to me. And no, I could care less what he has to say.

Even without the tie he still has to look right then left then left then right then left then right…President Pong

A mai-tai on the podium would have made this more convincing.

BO: let me be perfectly clear, blahblahblah, i have sent a tersley worded letter, blahblahblah, bush-bush-bush, blahblahblah….zoned out… Hey B+ presidente, go back to working on your D- golf swing.

Didn’t he get a tie for Christmas that he could have worn? Oh wait…..does he celebrate Christmas?

Blame Bush--"Pathetic," Says Karl Rove

1 comment:

nobackindown said...

try 5 strikes and you're out - she made reference right after being appointed chief Homeland idiot that hijackers on 9/11 had entered the U.S. via the Canadian border!