The story is making the rounds that Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson is the front runner to replace outgoing Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson emerged on Wednesday as a new leading contender to replace Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense, but the race remains fluid and the timetable for an appointment still unclear.
The homeland security secretary has been in his job about a year, following a brief return to private practice after a stretch as the Defense Department’s top lawyer. Johnson worked on some of the thorniest national security questions to arise in the administration of President Barack Obama, including those dealing with detainees at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and the covert drone program. The Senate confirmed him, 78 to 16.
The only logical conclusion to draw from this trial balloon is that Obama is trolling the GOP.
Johnson is lawyer and political hack. His tenure at Homeland Security has done nothing to give one confidence in either his management abilities or his judgment. The way he has willingly gone along with Obama’s lawless application of immigration law should be enough to disqualify him.
His previous tenure as Department of Defense General Counsel, including his advocacy for abandoning “don’t ask don’t tell” in favor of the current permissive environment where lesbians can swap spit on a dance floor to the hazard of anyone who objects and his involvement in the DOD drone policy, hardly gives one confidence that he is up to the task of leading anything. In addition, he has made statements that have given the left aneurysms.
Johnson goes on to argue that American soldiers play the role of the Biblical Good Samaritan cited by King because they “have made the conscious decision to travel a dangerous road and personally stop and administer aid to those who want peace, freedom and a better place in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and in defense of the American people.”
Journalist Jeremy Scahill calls the speech “one of the most despicable attempts at revisionist use of Martin Luther King Jr. I’ve ever seen.”
Obviously it’s not possible to know what King, if he were alive, would think of any piece of U.S. foreign policy. But his political philosophy, as outlined in his landmark 1967speech against the Vietnam War, strongly suggests that he would be an opponent of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and, for that matter, the secret wars in Yemen and Pakistan.
The odds of Obama actually nominating Johnson approach nil — if we assume insanity isn’t the ruling attribute and that Obama isn’t indulging is government-by-trolling for the next two years. First, Johnson’s record at DHS will come under scrutiny. While he was nominated to head DHS with a minimal record and by a subservient Democrat Senate, he would be entering this nomination process which is controlled by a Republican Senate, in an utterly poisonous political environment, with a record as a do-anything-the-boss-says political hack. More importantly, IF by some miracle he were confirmed it would require Obama to find a new DHS secretary while his lawless actions on immigration are still front and center.