Monday, October 21, 2013

Delaying a nominee?

Jeh Johnson has accepted the nomination by President Barack Obama for the position of Secretary of Homeland Security.  I believe this nomination will be filibustered by some Senate Republicans.  Despite President Obama's urging for a quick confirmation process, I believe it is unlikely to happen, despite what people smarter than me believe.

Johnson is a highly qualified candidate for this position.  He has had a personal relationship with Obama dating back to 2006 when he began working on the campaign.  He began his career as a federal prosecutor in New York's Southern District.  He was the general counsel to the Air Force during the Clinton Administration and advised the presidential campaigns of Obama and John Kerry on national security policy.  He, also, oversaw the Department of Defense's legal counsel.  He later resigned from the Department of Defense and rejoined a New York based law firm.

Many Conservatives might challenge this nomination by trying to find Johnson's lack of qualifications.  Many will suggest that Johnson is just a party hack, given his adviser role to the Kerry and Obama campaign.  Others might suggest it based on the fact that he has a personal relationship with Obama.

There will be talk of Johnson's lack of leadership.  He has never been in charge of a government agency, but who has.  He was in charge of overseeing the Department of Defense's legal counsel.  Unfortunately, that will not be enough to stop many of those rumors in their tracks.  There will still be those who question his leadership.

The conspiracy theorists and the crazy caucus will likely have a field day with this nomination.  Johnson is a lawyer, a good one at that.  Why would the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) want a lawyer being the Secretary, they'll ask merely asking questions.  They'll start a whisper campaign that DHS is trying to prosecute people into FEMA camps.  Enough of this outrage focused on Senators might make them rethink their decisions, however wrong they may be.  But that won't be the reason many Conservative Senators begin to question the nomination.

Many Conservatives will attack his work on repealing the discriminatory policy of don't ask, don't tell.  He co-chaired a working group with Army General Carter Ham to study the impact of repealing, don't ask, don't tell.  Johnson issued a report concluding that repealing the policy would pose little risk to military effectiveness.  But many Conservatives were not happy with this report, both in Congress and out of Congress.  Many Conservative outlets will surely link this report to some story that has no bearing on his ability to be Secretary of Homeland Security.  But Conservative commentators will liken nominating Johnson to oppose the gay lobby.

If Rand Paul is serious about trying to be the public voice of opposing drones, he will likely oppose Johnson's nomination.  Johnson was one of the administration's lawyers on the approval of extrajudicial killings, otherwise known as drone strikes.  His views have reportedly evolved.  He now believes that the administration needs clearer and more transparent procedures.  He has helped to develop a policy to shift drone policy away from the CIA and over to the military.  This viewpoint and shift will definitely be brought up in the confirmation hearings.  Even if Paul agrees with Johnson, he'll likely still filibuster.

As aerial drones become a staple in law enforcement and border security, views on drones are going to be needed to be heard.  Since Johnson was on Obama's legal team for drones, many Conservative commentators will link Johnson's view on drones with Obama's.  The original conversation between Paul and Attorney General Eric Holder will be brought up, regardless.  All of a sudden many people will begin talking about drone strikes on American citizens by DHS.

Just remember, things don't have to be true for it to be brought up in confirmation hearings. News reports agree.  Just look at the knock-up job of many news sources, who have a "liberal bias" couldn't figure out that Paul was talking out of his rear side, about drone strikes on American citizens.  News outlets would not, I don't know look at the letter Holder sent Paul prior to their argument.  Johnson will likely be brought into this, as well.

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