Napolitano to Homeland Security

Yeah, I know it is not a done deal, but the rumors are that our governor Janet Napolitano will be Obama's choice for Homeland Security.

On its face, this both makes a ton of sense, and simultaneously is odd.  It makes sense because Napolitano is one of those rising Democratic stars who get special love in part for not being white males.  It is odd because pulling her up to Washington would, by law, pass the governorship for the next two years to the Republicans (the Secretary of State completes the term, and she is a Republican).  It also strikes me as odd because I think Homeland Security would be an absolutely awful platform for launching a run for higher office.  That job has no upside - it is all downside.

But the final reason in the end that this may make sense can be seen in this table below from Paul Kedrosky on projected state budget deficits as a percentage of state revenues:


Arizona is almost in as bad of shape as California, and California is a disaster area.  So the financial chickens are about to come to roost here in Arizona for the drunken spending spree the state has been on, presided over by Napolitano.  To preserve her from going to the Gray Davis Memorial Retirement Home for Failed Governors, Obama is likely to beam her up to Washington.


  1. stewart:


    Today is is reported as a done deal.

    Do you think she will finally get the Federal Funds for all those illegals held in Arizona Jails?


  2. ErikTheRed:

    Gee, and I was hoping for Bruce Schneier - who might have actually done something useful with the position.

  3. Brian:

    Perhaps it's not so odd conceding the governorship to Republicans given your final point about the state's budget deficits. If they time it properly, she can leave Republicans holding the bag when those financial chickens come home to roost.

    And from Napolitano's perspective, the political dead-end of DHS is probably preferable to the political suicide of standing around waiting for the state's economy to collapse on her watch.

  4. Dan:

    I've seen speculation that she was plotting an eventual move to the Senate. With the state's budget collapsing on her watch, there's no way she can hope to bring down Kyl or McCain. In fact, this may be why we've seeing reports that McCain will run for reelection in 2010--to make clear to Napolitano that she wouldn't have an easy Senate win in 2010. With no hope of a Senate seat, DHS lets her prolong the inevitable dead end, and possibly angle for DOJ if the Attorney General nominee doesn't last. If she doesn't take Obama's offer of DHS, she'll probably get nothing, and be left holding the carpetbag when the state's money finally runs out. If she doesn't take this offer, she's out in the cold.

  5. Brian Dunbar:

    I'm speculating but ..

    Obama has picked Hillary Clinton for Secretary of State.

    If she turns him down, she looses cred for not being a team player.

    If she takes the job, she gets brought inside where her ambition is neutered: SecState can't run for office in 2012.

    Is President-Elect Obama gathering his potential opposition in 2012 to where they can help him but won't be able to oppose him until after his two terms are up?

  6. Mesa Econoguy:

    Napolitano is a horrible choice for just about everything, save maybe parking lot attendant. It’s an especially odd choice, given she supported a proposal to give drivers licenses to illegal immigrants (coincidentally an idea also supported by Gray Davis).

    The job of DHS is presumably to "control" who gets in & out of this country, and giving people who technically shouldn't be here pretty much full access seems like a very strange way of achieving the opposite. Perhaps she will give passports to everyone on the Treasury Department's Terrorism & Financial Intelligence Designation list.

    Regardless of what you think about open borders, DHS, etc., this is an almost comical choice, but expected from people of Obama's pseudointellectual handicap.

  7. Ralph Short:

    This truly shows Obama's concept of homeland security. It is let anyone in, give them citizenship and they will vote for us, the bolshicrats.

    It is the confirmation that his top appointees could give a dam about this country.

  8. John Moore:

    Our gain is the nation's loss.

    Homeland security should go to someone who understands both words, at a minimum.

  9. brotio:

    Moving Napolitano to Washington also lets the dominant liberal media spend two years blaming the Republican governor for the mess she inherited.