Dammit, Janet, I Love You

If Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano actually becomes Secretary of Homeland Security, as President-elect Obama seems to desire... well, we could do worse. The first DHS secretary, Tom Ridge, struck me (I only met him twice) as a smart guy who really didn't understand his portfolio and was being driven slowly mad by the blame accrued for the agency's sloppy organization and stupid proposals. Second-and-current Secretary Michael Chertoff as been nowhere near as bad as we had reason to expect. Yes, he presided over Hurricane Katrina. But that seems to have been another victim of the inherent bureaucratic nightmare of DHS.

I think history has already forgotten Battlin' Bernie Kerik, the laughably corrupt and mobbed-up cop whom Rudy Giuliani commended to George W. Bush as a great replacement for Ridge. Kerik's nomination caught fire like styrofoam in a microwave, and we as a nation got the first clue that Giuliani had been replaced at some point in 2001-2004 by a strange, bald cyborg that needed to recharge batteries by making inopportune phone calls to its "wife."

Anyway, the worst idea proferred by Chertoff has been the national ID card, the slow decline and sputter-out of which I wrote about earlier this year. One of the governors who helped nail down the coffin lid on REAL ID was... Janet Napolitano.

On Tuesday, Gov. Janet Napolitano signed a measure, House Bill 2677, barring Arizona's compliance with the Real ID program. In so doing, she called it an unfunded federal mandate that would stick states such as Arizona with a multibillion-dollar bill for the cost to develop and implement the series of new fraud-proof identification cards.
...
In a letter explaining her support for HB 2677, Napolitano cited a White House estimate that Real ID would cost at least $4 billion to implement. But thus far, she said, the federal government has only appropriated $90 million to help Arizona and other states offset those costs.

"My support of the Real ID Act is, and has always been, contingent upon adequate federal funding," Napolitano wrote Tuesday. "Absent that, the Real ID Act becomes just another unfunded federal mandate."

The implication is that Napolitano would favor a national ID if it could be funded. What's the likelihood of it being funded soon? Not very high. So Napolitano seems, first and foremost, like an effective manager who understands immigration policy and has been a bulwark against the crab barrel of restrictionist crazies in her state. Not the worst pick Obama could make.

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  • Citizen Nothing||

    "Not the worst pick Obama could make."
    Wow. That's the first time we can say that, right?

  • ||

    It's the Rule of Italian Grandmas.

    TSA agent: Did you pack this bag yourself? Has it been in your sole posession since you packed it? Has anyone asked you to carry anything onto the airplane? Why don't you eat - you're so skinny!

  • ||

    Why won't the states offer to fund Real ID?
    4 billion is pocket change compared to the increased safety and security that national ID cards bring. This woman is a fool if she thinks it's wise to hold back on this any longer.

    Now, show me your papers!

  • ||

    The implication is that Napolitano would favor a national ID if it could be funded.

    Which makes her stance on this three steps forward and about 2.8 steps back.

  • ||

    DHS was the victim of an incompetant state and local government in LA during Katrina. Mississippi was a horrible disaster to but that never made the news because the Mississippi government wasn't completely incompetant. This year, had Gustav gone a little bit east, New Orleans would have flooded again, but the disaster wouldn't have been near as bad because Lousianna has a better governor and was better prepared.

    Nepoltino is well thought of by the current leadership in DHS and among the emergency management community. She is not a bad choice. Also, while she fought with the Sheriff in Pheonix, she knew which way the wind blows and was a real hawk about border security. The ICE and CBP people don't have a problem with her. The real indication is going to be who she choses to be S2 and the undersecretary in charge of ICE and CBP.

  • sfb||

    I can see paradise . . .

  • ||

    Wow, that is big news. Joe likes an Obama appointment.

  • cunnivore||

    Kerik's nomination caught fire like styrofoam in a microwave,

    I think you mean aluminum foil. Styrofoam is microwave safe, in my experience at least.

  • cunnivore||

    Also, while she fought with the Sheriff in Pheonix, she knew which way the wind blows and was a real hawk about border security.

    Fighting with Herr Arpaio is a plus, not a minus in my book.

  • ||

    I love being accused of partisanship by someone who starts off by absolving the Bush administration for any failures during Katrina.

    It's like one of those "You're a shill for the Democrat Party!" comments - completely self-refuting.

  • ||

    Arpaio is a clown. But the voters in Arizona were about to go into revolt over the border security issue. Nepoltano declared an emergency and did something about it. I don't think she is as open borders as people think, although several people are telling me her appointment means that Obama will go hard for amnesty.

  • ||

    I didn't accuse you of anything Joe. I think it is quite important that you find an Obama appointee to be a good one. That is big news. I am sure I am not the only one surprised by your support of his nominations.

  • ||

    blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah Democrat blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah partisan blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.

    There, John, now you don't have to write about me anymore.

  • ||

    Joe,

    Since your entire knowledge of Katrina consists of what you read on Kos and in the New Orleans Piqayune or whatever it is, I don't consider your opinions to be particularly credible. Sorry, but I will beleive my lying eyes about what happened over you.

  • ||

    BTW, this:

    joe | November 20, 2008, 10:56am | #

    It's the Rule of Italian Grandmas.

    TSA agent: Did you pack this bag yourself? Has it been in your sole posession since you packed it? Has anyone asked you to carry anything onto the airplane? Why don't you eat - you're so skinny!


    is what drave John to such distraction that he had to write:

    John | November 20, 2008, 11:05am | #

    Wow, that is big news. Joe likes an Obama appointment.


    An Italian Grandma joke.

    That's awesome. No way your perception is skewed here, John.

  • ||

    Ok fair enough Joe. Maybe you don't like her, although you should. She is a good appointment. Much better than Holder as AG.

  • ||

    Since your entire knowledge of Katrina consists of what you read on Kos and in the New Orleans Piqayune or whatever it is...

    writes John, to a liberal whose primary source of political information is Reason Online.

    Quick, copy and paste from National Review Online some more, shill.

  • Lefiti||

    Maybe joe should go back on vacation. He is distracting from my all Lefiti, all the time format.

  • ||

    Ok fair enough Joe. Maybe you don't like her, although you should.

    Actually, I do like her. His best pick so far.

    I'm just laughing at you for showing your ass, and demonstrating how deluded your yammerings about the partisanship of my comments are.

    How seriously should your accusations about me be treated? This seriously: you accused me of being predictably partisan for making an Italian grannie joke.

    It just doesn't matter what I write, does it? I could type a random string of characters, and you would respond with exactly the same whining about how unfair I am.

  • ||

    Well, at least she's not very attractive. We won't have to listen to the feminists braying for her blood.

  • rhywun||

    joe & John, get a room already.

  • Quercus||

    If Napolitano goes to DC, would that give Jeff Flake a better chance at the Arizona governorship in 2010 as a jumping-off point for a presidential bid in 2012?

  • ||

    Joe,

    I worked for 5th Army in 2005. I deployed to New Orleans during Katrina and was there. The federal response, while it could have been better, was not the main problem. The main problem was the City of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana and the fact that it was a huge fucking disaster and was going to suck bad no matter how good the response was. The whole emergency response system is built on the idea that the state and locals handle things for the first 72 hours until the feds get there. When the States' can't do that, things get real bad real quick. Things would have been better if the Feds had nationalized the LA National Guard, walked all over state sovereighnty and gone in and evacuated NOLA before the storm ever hit. But since I beleive in states' rights, I think that would have been a huge mistake. If there is anyone to blame for Katrina at the federal level, it is USACE for building defective levees that couldn't stand up even to the weak backside of Katrina. Had the levees not broke, even NOLA's crackpot plan of putting everyone in the Super Dome would have worked.

  • ||

    joe & John, get a room already.

    lol, I was thinking the same thing, but I must say I do enjoy their back-and-forths, much snide and very entertaining

  • B||

    If Napolitano goes to DC, would that give Jeff Flake a better chance at the Arizona governorship in 2010 as a jumping-off point for a presidential bid in 2012?

    I don't think it changes anything in this regard, as I believe Ms. Napolitano is term-limited.

    Ideologically, she's a mixed bag (but seriously--for libertarians, who the hell isn't?) but as far as competent, pragmatic, and generally effective public officials go, she's a good pick overall.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Better to have Janet at Homeland Security than Education, where she would move to immediately implement Universal Preschool (whether funding is available or not).

    And what this makes her is a better dressed version of Dianne 'Retina Scan' Feinstein.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    joe & John, get a room already.

    As a gay man, perhaps rhywun has superior ability to pick up on homoerotic tension? ;)

  • ||

    John,

    No one is questioning that the state, city, and Army Corps deserve a great deal of the blame.

    No, the only issue that is remotely controversial (as long as you're around - it's not actually controversial) is whether the Bush administration deserves blame as well.

  • rhywun||

    Unfortunately it would probably cause a matter/anti-matter reaction and the universe would implode on itself and pop out of existence.

  • ||

    joe & John, get a room already.

    If you'll notice, rhywun, these things always, without exception, start the same way.

    A better comment might have been "John, stop stalking joe."

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    "John, stop stalking joe."

    Is it that serious? Admit it, you're having fun!

  • Joel||

    Prediction: Approximately 40 nanoseconds after Napolitano gets the DHS slot, Real ID becomes a really great idea and complaints of "unfunded mandates" are just nattering and obstructionism.

    There's something in the water at D.C. Something bad.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    In the movie, I'm thinking John is played by Glenn Close and joe is played by a rabbit.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Citizen Nothing, I'm sure if joe had to play a rabbit, he'd rather play "Frank".

  • ||

    So Napolitano seems, first and foremost, like an effective manager who understands immigration policy and has been a bulwark against the crab barrel of restrictionist crazies in her state.

    You have just summoned "He who cannot be named and links to his own blog"

  • ||

    No, Harvey.

    Admit it, you're having fun!

    As fun as it is to rub his nose in it like this, I honestly would rather be alternating between juvenile quips, pop culture references, and the serious discussion of ideas.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    "juvenile quips, pop culture references, and the serious discussion of ideas."

    You gotta love the big tent here at H&R.

  • Abdul||

    Joe & John,

    Let's discuss this decision on it's merits.

    I, for one, would not hit that.

    Counterarguments?

  • ||

    I'd rather be reading funny Lefiti comments by the fake Lefiti.

  • ||

    Counterarguments?

    *tink tink tink-tink*

    Sorry, slippery pin.

  • rhywun||

    I would not hit that either.

  • Abdul||

    Well, Weigel seems to want to hit that. Or else, the title of the post is a pop-culture reference that went over my head.

  • ||

    Can't we just disband DHS? It was a bad idea with a bad name from the start.

  • ||

    The Joe and John get a room thing has been hit before and will be again. It is moving up on the list of most common hit and run post but still trails "sock puppeting Lefiti" and the always popular "reason sucks ever since Postrell" posts by a wide margin.

    Rotwang,

    I think they should restructure DHS. They should send customs back to commerce. Let FEMA go back to being its own agency but only let it to emergency management and response. Then take the immigration agencies and the CT function from FBI and make a true homeland security agency that does nothing but secure borders and CT and gets completely out of the hurrican and earthquake business.

  • ||

  • ||

    Here's an idea:

    Joe, filter John.

    John, filter joe.

    You'll both be happier, I suspect.

  • Just Plain Brian||

    "Oh, so nobody here thinks power is sexy? Not one of you finds power sexy?"

  • ||

    "You'll both be happier, I suspect"

    NO WAY!! He should have to filter me. He started it.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    "a pop-culture reference that went over my head."


    The kids today don't know Rocky Horror?
    Jesus. We really are doomed.

  • ||

    [Rotwang] Can't we just disband DHS?

    Cory Doctorow has a great idea - since it would be political suicide to disband DHS, we should instead add *more* to DHS until it incorporates everything, then simply rename DHS the Executive Branch.

  • patrick||

    if her years of failing to secure the Mexico-AZ border are any indication, then she's on track to do a horrendous job securing the whole country

  • ||

    I was in a question and answer session at the ASU law school, where Janet was asked specifically about the reasons for her opposition to Nation ID. Her response was that she was only concerned about the funding. She stated she was specifically not concerned about any privacy aspects of said nation ID.

  • ||

    if her years of failing to secure the Mexico-AZ border are any indication, then she's on track to do a horrendous job securing the whole country

    Did terrorists cross the Mexico-Arizona border on her watch and then execute some dastardly plan of destruction? I must have missed that...

  • truthteller||

    So which reason would you prefer for proving that Janet would be a terrible choice for any cabinet position? Maybe in '96, while U.S. Attorney in Arizona, she would not cooperate with a government sting that targeted pedophiles because the pedophiles in her state turned out to be gay men. She let one guy go who ended up molesting 200 boys. Maybe we should consider that her policies took Arizona from a surplus to a $1 billion deficit. Maybe we should look at how she rewrote a voter ID law so that a utility bill would suffice as ID, thus allowing illegals to vote.

  • Misanthrope||

    AFP-AZ (Americans For Prosperity) calls departing Governor "fiscally irresponsible":
    http://www.americansforprosperity.org/afp-arizona-calls-departing-governor-napolitano-fiscally-irresponsible

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