Saturday, January 9, 2010
Janet Napolitano, our Secretary of Homeland Security, recently achieved a peculiar sort of infamy by stating that "the system worked" after Umar Abdulmutallab almost blew up an airliner above Detroit on Christmas Day. When asked more recently for the most stunning finding after a review of security errors, she replied, "the determination of al Qaeda."
If she's stunned by that, whom has she been focusing her antiterrorism efforts on?
Oh, that's right. Back in April, Napolitano had said that one of the top threats to national security were the returning veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, who might be susceptible to "right wing extremism." (Did Napolitano ever put her life on the line for her country?)
Whenever I see a picture of Napolitano, I always get a slight sense of deja vu. The other day, it hit me where I've seen her before.
She is basically every middle school principal across the country.
The resemblance is more than physical. Napolitano is not particularly smart or insightful, but she's not really dumb, either. She may not do the right thing -- for instance, when it comes to preventing terrorism -- but she has avoided the early missteps which might have derailed her career. She's certainly not the type to blurt out a politically inconvenient truth. She speaks in pc cliches, and even worse, seems to think in them as well.
She obviously knows how to curry favor with the right people, otherwise she would never have become Governor of Arizona. And she would never have achieved that, or her current position, without being assertive and power-hungry as well. She has undoubtedly had a career full of taking all the credit and none of the blame. And like most middle school principals, she is probably a stickler for the rules -- for other people.
Napolitano seems to have no passions other than her career. The "personal" section of her Wikipedia entry is almost comical. There are two lines, stating that she is unmarried and is a basketball fan and plays tennis. (Any guesses as to whether she follows the WNBA or the NBA?) She also enjoys whitewater rafting and hiking.
Napolitano has obviously decided not to come out as a lesbian because it might impinge on her career. Being gay is hardly the stigma it once was, and it's not as if Napolitano is fooling anyone. But her decision typifies her non-risk-taking, bland persona. Not exactly the profile of a bold, original thinker who's going to outmaneuver an amorphous guerilla force like al Qaeda.
My guess is that Napolitano hates and resents men as a class, in part because they never showed any interest in her when she was younger. (My experience has also been that the women who resent men the most are those who basically want to be one.) She would deny this, of course. But I suspect it's there, simmering underneath.
I've known women like this. Whenever they hear of any sort of conflict between a man and a woman, they automatically side with the woman, regardless of fault. Then they lambaste other people for their "prejudice."
Most middle school principals never get put in a goldfish bowl. So the only people who get to see what they're like are the students, parents, and teachers who have to deal with them. Now the entire country is getting to see one, in all her glorious incompetence.
Some of you may remember Michael Phelps' mother Debbie from the Olympics. She bears a strong resemblance to Napolitano, and happens to be a middle school principal. I really don't know much about her other than that her son is an amazing swimmer. But my guess is that she would do as good a job as Secretary of Homeland Security.
As my son said the other day, you could take almost any 25-year-old cop off the street and he'd probably do a better job.