“…No doubt she’ll sail right through the confirmation process…”
This is the common assumption of Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano, the soon-to-be Secretary of Homeland Security. Indeed, it does appear that she will quite quickly be confirmed in the Senate, to the position for which Mr. Obama has selected her.
But if a majority of Americans knew - - and if the members of the Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee actually cared to inquire - about her actual track record in Arizona, Ms. Napolitano might not be such an easy and obvious choice to oversee the domestic security of our nation.
Without a doubt, Ms. Napolitano is an extremely bright and talented person. Well educated and intensely (and admirably) driven, she compensates for whatever she may lack in “flashiness” by projecting a sense of confidence, and a no-nonsense image of being “about the people’s business.”
The confidence, the image, and the “focus” have served her well politically in Arizona. Yet in examining her record, it’s difficult to say that Governor Janet Napolitano has served Arizonans well.
When Napolitano was first elected Governor in November of 2002, Arizona was facing an approximately $2 billion deficit. And while the state dug itself out of that hole quickly enough, Governor Napolitano sailed through the “boom years” of this decade (during which Arizona became one of the fastest growing states in the country) spending tax payers’ money in-discriminately, and covering up the spending with clever accounting gimmicks - - attributing current-day expenditures to future year’s budgets, and all the rest. Even as recently as a year ago, when Arizona’s new budget deficit had already become painfully evident, Governor Napolitano was arguing that her state should be providing “free tuition” at all of the state’s public universities, to any high school student earning a “B” grade average or higher.
Today, the Arizona state budget is right back where it was when Napolitano became Governor - - facing a staggering $2 billion deficit. And as she moves “up” to Washington, the Governor leaves for her predecessor Jan Brewer the tough task of cutting government spending, an ordeal made even more difficult by years of Napolitano’s unwillingness to reign-in her own spendthrift behavior.
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.