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Thoughts on Napolitano for Homeland Security

Rumor has it that Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano is Barack Obama's top pick to head the Department of Homeland Security. I've been generally opposed to Napolitano taking a position in the Obama administration ever since her endorsement of him started the VP speculation -- not because she wouldn't do a decent job, but because we need her here. If Napolitano leaves, GOP Secretary of State Jan Brewer takes over. While Napolitano's no super-progressive, her veto pen has been the only thing standing in the way of domination of the state by the super right-wing. And she only became more important after the election, when the GOP picked up Legislature seats. Further, she's term-limited in 2010, just when John McCain is up for reelection -- and several polls have shown she'd have a good shot at beating him.

I've been somewhat swayed by a line of argument that says Napolitano needs to quit while she's ahead. The Arizona budget has been ugly this past year, and will only get uglier in 2009, due to cratering tax revenues as a result of the economic crisis. There won't be a solution that makes anyone happy -- so whoever is responsible will be likely to find their political career at an end. Maybe, then, we're better off dumping this mess in the GOP's lap and hoping the Democrats can pick up the pieces in 2011.

But thinking more this morning, I actually sort of hope Napolitano gives up her Senate ambitions if she takes the DHS job. She has a decently centrist view of immigration, so there's likely to be some improvements with her at the helm. However, she has to know that if she runs for Senate, the GOP will deluge voters with ads claiming she supports amnesty. Fear of such ads, then, would be likely to make her take a harder line on immigration policy at DHS to prove her toughness. On the other hand, if Napolitano doesn't run, what Democrat would have any shot at the Senate? (For now I will fantasize about Senator Grijalva.)


Blogger fancycwabs said...

Senator Powers!

12:29 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Right except by law, in Arizona you can't run for anything unless you are

a) a war veteran
b) a life long resident of AZ with multigenerational ties

Keep dreaming about Grijalva unless you think Pima County is seceding.

3:09 PM  
Blogger Stentor said...

Ah, but Janet is originally from NYC and never served in the military.

10:19 PM  

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