Two terrorist attacks on American soil within les s than sixty days. Administration officials declare that “the system worked” after the Christmas day attack, only to be contradicted by the President days later. The President notes on December 29th that the Christmas day attack was carried out by merely an “isolated extremist,” but then declares on January 7 that “we are at war,” and that we must stay “one step ahead of a nimble adversary," in complete contradiction of his Homeland Security Secretary and his own previous remarks.
Oh, my –how does America’s liberal media explain it all away?
One of the most extraordinary accounts of this chaos was served up by Washington Post columnist David Broder. In the aftermath of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s sweep-it-under-the-rug “the system worked” analysis of the Christmas day attack, Broder published a column on January 1 explaining her terrific handling of the crisis.
“In the years I have known her,” Broder wrote, “she has managed every challenge that has come her way with the same calm command that she showed in this instance. If there is anyone in the administration who embodies President Obama's preference for quiet competence with ‘no drama,’ it is Janet Napolitano.”
Well, - gosh! - I can’t claim to have known Napolitano for “years” like the super-cool Mr. Broder does. However, I was an Arizonan for all six years of Napolitano’s tenure as Governor in that state, so I know some things about Ms. Napolitano.
As Arizona Governor, Napolitano was all over the road with policy positions on security. Early in her first term in 2003, she voiced support for a proposal to allow illegal immigrants to be issued state driver's licenses. When public outcry turned against her, she fell silent on the issue, and later refused to take a position on the matter when her fellow Democrats introduced legislation to actually make the driver’s license “dream” a reality.
And while 2003 saw the states of California and Texas contemplate whether or not to send state National Guard Troops to the U.S. / Mexico border, Napolitano opposed the idea for Arizona, arguing at the time that border security is a “federal issue” and not the job of state government. Yet three years later, in the midst of her 2006 re-election campaign, Governor Napolitano shocked Democrats and Republicans alike by dispatching the Arizona National Guard to the Mexican border, to “help” with the flood of illegal immigrants.
One of the most extraordinary components of Napolitano’s Arizona legacy has to do with her attempt to monetize state security. With virtually no input from the state legislature, Governor Napolitano used her executive powers to mandate the purchase and installation of speed-limit enforcing “photo radar” cameras which are now dispersed literally everywhere in Arizona - - in the city, and throughout the state’s vast rural regions as well.
Napolitano’s approach to speed enforcement is bad enough for its draconian, big-brother approach. But worse still, in a blatantly cynical move, Napolitano established that citations from the statewide “speed cameras” would carry with them no penalty to one’s driving record - - just a monetary fee. As long as offending drivers are willing to write the check and pay off the government, they can continue to violate speed limit laws with no restrictions on their driving privileges, and the state “profits” all the more.
In 2009 during her last few days as Arizona’s Governor, Napolitano explained that her “speed cameras” were a “solution” to the state’s budget woes. And this should raise concerns for all Americans today: as Governor of Arizona, our current Secretary of Homeland Security took the moral imperative of “public security” and reduced it down to a matter of mere revenue generation.
Had David Broder waited a couple more days before publishing his “I love Janet” piece, he may have seen the New York Times report on January 3rd noting that Napolitano’s “Arizona security experiment” is likely headed for the trash heap. As if the intended purposes of the program aren’t bad enough, Napolitano’s “photo radar” program has also failed to save Arizona from its budget woes, producing less than a third of Napolitano’s projected $120 million in annual “revenues.”
In the aftermath of the Christmas day terrorist attack, there has been chatter about shake-ups among President Obama’s security team. But don’t look for Napolitano’s departure any time soon. She “earned” a secure position in the Obama Administration by defying her long-standing friendship with the Clintons (President Clinton once appointed Napolitano as a “U.S. Attorney”) back in 2008 and endorsing Obama over Hillary. It is political cronyism at its worst - but it is the way things work in Washington.
And this is why we need a security professional heading-up the DHS – and not a politician.
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.