Homeland Security Shake-Up
Last week it was announced that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano was resigning from her post to take over the University of California System. Among the list of names for her replacement was Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.
Despite denials from his spokesperson that the governor is “focused on Maryland,” it would be a brilliant move for him and for Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown.
If Governor O’Malley were chosen to be the next Secretary of Homeland Security, he would literally be handing over the governorship to Mr. Brown, who has already announced his candidacy for governor in 2014. He has chosen Howard County Executive Ken Ulman as his running mate, and has racked up all kinds of endorsements. If Governor O’Malley were to resign to accept an Obama cabinet position, Lieutenant Governor Brown would essentially become the incumbent running for “re-election.”
This is all on top of endorsements from Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake (D) and Congressman Elijah Cummings (D), recent gain in fundraising, and hiring President Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign manager as an adviser for his gubernatorial bid. Not to mention, Governor O’Malley came out in full support of the Brown/Ulman ticket, yet another reason he would take this job to give Mr. Brown a leg up.
But the governor has personal interest in a possible cabinet position as well. As I wrote in my May 9th column, What’s Next for Governor O’Malley?, he is considering a 2016 campaign for president. Think about how often Janet Napolitano is in the news, and also the extremely important issues that the secretary deals with. A high-profile position like the secretary of Homeland Security would give Mr. O’Malley national name recognition that could launch him into the 2016 presidential spotlight and establish him as a more credible candidate. Don’t get me wrong, he’s no match for Hilary Clinton, but this would certainly lessen the gap.
Even though his name surfaced, Governor O’Malley likely will not be chosen for the vacant position, which is why his spokespeople like to say he is “focused on Maryland.” Increasing taxes and fees 54 different times since 2007 is really showing some serious focus.
According to The Washington Post, more logical replacements for Secretary Napolitano include Alejandro Mayorkas, who was recently appointed as deputy secretary at Homeland Security, and even former Sen. Joe Lieberman (I., CT). Whoever the secretary is, it doesn’t really matter their background as they will just have to fall in rank and file with the president and Attorney General Eric Holder. Rest assured, the president will choose someone who will take orders well.
Either way, I’m not sure the new Homeland Security secretary can be any worse than Janet “Big Sis” Napolitano. Then again, maybe I’ve spoken too soon.