As most of you know, I firmly supported Janet Napolitano for Attorney General in the new Obama administration. It looks as if Eric Holder will be the Attorney General instead, but CNN has just announced that Napolitano will be the choice for Department of Homeland Security. Here is the Reuters headline:
U.S. President-elect Barack Obama’s top choice to lead the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, CNN reported on Wednesday, citing multiple sources.
The Democratic governor, a supporter and campaigner for Obama’s presidential campaign, had been reported to be on a short list of people to fill cabinet posts in the new administration.
Assuming she makes vetting and is confirmed, Janet will make a fantastic Secretary of DHS. Some of the skills and abilities I pointed out as qualifications for AG will serve her very well as Homeland Security.
Napolitano is well versed and experienced with constitutional law and civil rights, having been mentored as the hand picked protege of one of the country’s great Constitutional scholars and authorities, John P. Frank, one of the two legal fathers of the Miranda decision. She has sizable long term experience not only as the Arizona Attorney General (a huge office), but also as chief executive of an entire state government as Arizona Governor. Of critical significance, she was the US Attorney for the District of Arizona for six years under President Clinton, prior to her terms in state office as Arizona’s AG and Governor.
The job ahead is going to, in addition to the legal skills, require someone with Federal experience and the established ability to manage a giant bureaucracy. Janet Napolitano has a very rare combination of background and experience to fit that bill. The attention to bureaucratic detail, not just in Washington DC, but in all of the 93 US Attorney district offices is going to have to be immense. Wholesale institutional change needs to be implemented, and malefactors rooted out.
Janet Napolitano has this ability in droves over any other candidate discussed for AG. She is spectacularly good at bureaucratic detail and getting big entities working as an efficient team. Janet has an incredibly feel good aura around her, and it is contagious to those working with and for her. She is a master team builder, both in terms of efficiency and competence as well as morale and attitude. Janet has already exhibited her turnaround skills in her transformation of the Arizona Executive branch, which was in shambles when she took over.
Additionally, as governor of a critical border state, and head of the National Governor’s Association, Napolitano will have the credibility and experience with state governors that is necessary for many of the operations and coalitions that form the backbone of the DHS operation.
The best news of all is that there will finally be an honest and competent person in the critical post that Michael Chertoff has been defiling the last few years. It will will be good to bury the tenure of Skeletor and put that era behind us once and for all.
Janet is a first rate choice. She will make us, America and the Obama Administration proud.