On Monday night, Senate Democrats voted 57-37 to end debate on the nomination of Jeh Johnson to head DHS. That's three votes short of the traditional 60-vote filibuster threshold that Reid nuked last month. Johnson went on to win his appointment by a 78-16 margin. The White House performed its Snoopy happy dance soon after, with President Obama declaring Johnson "a strong leader with a deep understanding of the threats we face and a proven ability to work across agencies and complex organizations to keep America secure."
DHS employs 240,000 people and boasts a $40 billion budget. Johnson, unlike his most recent predecessors, has never actually held an executive position governing a state or managing a complex organization. Let me summarize his relevant experience in border security, port security, airport security or immigration enforcement: Zero. Zip. Nada.
News coverage instead stresses that Johnson is the "first African-American" to hold the No. 1 position at DHS. Because, you know, diversity will keep us safe. Here's more you should know about Johnson: He's a lifelong beneficiary of the government/law firm revolving door, dating back to the Clinton years. In a recent interview with a legal website, Johnson cheerfully bragged that his initial "foray into national security was a fluke, really. The Clinton White House recruited me to be general counsel of the Air Force. I had no idea what the job was about, had never been in the military and had never set foot in the Pentagon."
Yep, a "fluke." That's a public confidence booster, huh?
Johnson counts among the "big breaks" in his life a fateful meeting with Obama in 2006. He went on to shovel gobs of money into Obama's campaigns and Democratic coffers. In 2008, this top campaign finance bundler served on the Team Obama transition team. Next, Johnson found himself -- like the feather floating in "Forrest Gump" -- appointed to the position of general counsel at the Defense Department. He was "involved" in ending the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy and reportedly "oversaw" the use of unmanned drone strikes in Iraq and Afghanistan.
White House aides claim that Johnson is a "respected national security leader." But respected by whom (other than Democratic fundraisers) the administration will not say.
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