Long after her job performance would have called for a speedy exit, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is finally stepping down. She will reportedly become president of the University of California system, in what the L.A. Times describes as “an unusual choice that brings a national-level politician to a position usually held by an academic.”
Napolitano’s nomination by a committee of UC regents came after a secretive process that insiders said focused on her early as a high-profile, although untraditional, candidate who has led large public agencies and shown a strong interest in improving education.
UC officials believe that her Cabinet experiences –- which include helping to lead responses to hurricanes and tornadoes and overseeing some anti-terrorism measures — will help UC administer its federal energy and nuclear weapons labs and aid its federally funded research in medicine and other areas.
“While some may consider her to be an unconventional choice, Secretary Napolitano is without a doubt the right person at the right time to lead this incredible university,” Sherry Lansing, the regent and former film industry executive who headed the search committee, said in a statement being released Friday. “She will bring fresh eyes and a new sensibility — not only to UC, but to all of California. She will stand as a vigorous advocate for faculty, students and staff at a time when great changes in our state, and across the globe, are presenting as many opportunities as challenges.”
The Times tells us Napolitano was “quietly contacted” a “long time” ago by an executive search firm hired by the university. That’s nice. Shouldn’t the American people have been informed of this while the political class was 100 percent obsessed with passing an immigration bill that would give vast amounts of enforcement discretion to the Homeland Security secretary?
Why is the California university system looking to pay half a million dollars per year to hire someone who doesn’t have much in the way of relevant experience? Politics, politics, politics:
Robert Powell, the chairman of UC’s systemwide faculty Senate and who consulted on the UC search, said Napolitano stood out among the more than 300 potential candidates. She “has demonstrated an outstanding ability to deal with complex organizations under demanding circumstances,” he said.
Acknowledging that she will be a departure from UC’s traditions of having a president with strong records in campus administration or academic research, he stressed that her political skills will be important. “When she goes to Sacramento, clearly the conversations will be on a different plane,” he said.
As for any possible complaints that UC would be led by a Democratic politician, Powell noted that the regents’ search committee included Republicans who joined in the choice for Napolitano and that she won elections in a Republican state.
Sure, Napolitano has a great record of managing complex organizations. That’s why she was thinking about throwing in the towel last August, while her department was rocked by the latest scandal. If I were an upper-level male employee of the California university system, I’d be getting nervous right about now. And her management skills were on dazzling display when she claimed she had no idea her people were dumping illegal alien prisoners onto the streets during the Sequester Terror, and feigned ignorance of the NSA spying scandal, weren’t they? From the politicized use of Homeland Security resources to slander the Tea Party, through her failure to detect or respond to actual terrorist threats, it’s a hell of a resume. Perhaps the University of California regents are confident that no one would every try the “Incompetence Defense” anywhere outside of the Obama Administration, the only body on Earth where you can deflect criticism by loudly proclaiming that you’re not good at your job.
The confirmation battle for Napolitano’s replacement should be interesting. If it’s a highly controversial nominee, we might be about to find out if Democrats are ready to nuke the Senate in their quest for power.
Update: A tough statement on Napolitano’s tenure at Homeland Security from Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), who has become quite obsessed with the curious antiquated notion that the Administration should actually obey the law:
Secretary Napolitano’s tenure at the Department of Homeland Security was defined by a consistent disrespect for the rule of law.
The resignation of Secretary Napolitano should refocus the attention of Congress on its first task: to ensure that the executive branch faithfully carries out the laws of the land. The most significant obstacle to immigration reform remains President Obama’s selective enforcement of the law. Any selection – interim or permanent – to replace Secretary Napolitano must disavow these aggressive non-enforcement directives or there is very little hope for successful immigration reform.
Whoever replaces Secretary Napolitano must restore the rule of law, as well as the morale of ICE officers which has plummeted under her tenure.