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Dec. 28 2009 - 2:48 pm | 16 views | 1 recommendation | 8 comments

Andrew Sullivan joins the rightwing blogosphere to take down Janet Napolitano

I think Andrew Sullivan is over-reacting.  He’s basing his calls for Napolitano’s resignation on a couple of interviews she’s done wherein she has not, apparently, taken enough responsibility for the attempted bombing of flight 253 into Detroit by the Nigerian “crotch-bomber.”  Indeed, it appears Sullivan is now hopping aboard the right-wing “fire Napolitano” bandwagon, shooting first and asking questions later.  Or never.

But we should ask questions.  Like, for instance:

Do we begin firing Secretaries of this-or-that Department each time we experience some failure or breach?  Does it make sense to fire Napolitano (after only one year and no major security breakdowns) simply because her answers in a handful of interviews were not the ones Andrew Sullivan (and his erstwhile allies on the right) wanted to hear?

I think this sort of mentality is actually quite destructive.  How is the Department of Homeland Security ever supposed to adapt to new challenges or learn from its mistakes if every time there is a security issue we toss out the leadership?  Will firing Napolitano guarantee that we have more competent leadership in her place or will it just mean that some other new appointee has to learn all the ropes all over again?  I think that a pattern of failures would certainly warrant such a response, but a few clumsily answered questioned on daytime television and one nearly-very-bad terrorist attack hardly justifies this reaction, let alone her resignation or removal.

Quite frankly, this whole hullaballoo is just that – a hysterical reaction – on the part of Sullivan especially who should know better.  The right-o-sphere is eager to take a swing at any Obama official at any time and for any reason, but Sullivan should have the patience to think things through enough to offer up some coherent and constructive commentary on the issue.  That whole “conservative disposition” thing is clearly not on display at the Dish today.  This sort of guns-blazing reaction is too reminiscent of the sort of post 9-11 punditry that led us down this dismal road to begin with.


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  1. collapse expand

    At this point, the idiots are running the asylum.

    It’s disturbing, to say the lease.

    I posted this somewhere else, but shouldn’t we be talking about the 108 republican senators who voted down additional funding, particularly for explosive detection equipment, back in June?

    Plus, if any of these knuckleheads thinks that TSA is going to thwart a major attempt, they are sadly mistaken.

    It’s like asking the local high school football team to take on the Indy Colts.

    Are we still stuck in the mindset that terrorists are mindless hacks who don’t think, strategize, etc?

    It’s crazy.

  2. collapse expand

    By their logic, the entire administration of George Bush should have resigned after 9-11. Honestly, I found her answer refreshing – owning up to fault, not beating around the bush, not trying to point fingers – wow, finally!

  3. collapse expand

    Andy’s an intelligent guy and a decent writer but I’m afraid his mea culpa on “supporting the invasion (and occupation) of Iraq like a teenage girl supports the Jonas Boners” has rendered his analysis suspect at best.
    He’s smart enough to know DHS is a joke and not at all in the loop in terms of “real” intelligence- which is fake anyway. So the “fire Janet” stuff is just a chance to get some of his don’t ask/ don’t tell terror warrior mojo back. Mr. Sullivan would make a great case study for the phenomenon known as the cowardice of machismo. That’s when you talk super-tough for fear that someone will think you’re a pussy.
    The best part of the whole show so far has been the emergence of the term/brand “terror event.” That way you can still scare the shit out of people whether anything actually happened or not. Those Kennedy School folks are really good.

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