DHS Speculation

If you google "Susan Collins DHS" a laundry list of websites appear with articles entitled "Susan Collins: No thanks on DHS Secretary". This breaks my heart. 

If you've read my blog like… at all… you probably noticed that I have a slight *tendency* to take issue with, shall we say, certain Right Wing politicians. As such it may seem out of character for me to write an entire blogpost about why Senator Susan Collins (R - ME) WOULD BE THE BEST PERSON IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD TO BE SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY. 

The History: 

Here's the deal. Pre-2001 FEMA was its own cabinet level agency meaning it had a direct line to the President. Since middlemen slow the process and events of these nature are time sensitive this was really helpful. It allowed the director of FEMA to directly communicate with the President during national incidents so things could get done ASAP. This is particularly important because a Presidential Declaration is needed to open up federal resources - read: FEMA. After 9/11 President W.B. felt a reorganization of the federal government was needed because of "lessons learned" from having to coordinate a GAZILLION agencies in NYC. Among the many changes post-9/11 was the creation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS… yay acronyms). Okay… seems legit. EXCEPT THAT IT ENVELOPED FEMA.

Why is this a problem?

The US has gone back and forth, back and forth, and back and forth again about which should be the top priority of the federal government (and in turn the states and localities)

Civil Defense or Natural Disasters?

This either/ or dichotomy follows current world events. During the Cold War it was all about Civil Defense… 

You get a fallout shelter! You get a fallout shelter! You get a fallout shelter!

During times of peace, and following major natural disasters mitigation efforts, led by the federal government, have been acknowledged and attempted. Post-9/11 our all hazards planning approach turned into a frenzied KILL ALL THE TERRORISTS, HURRICANES AREN'T REAL LIFE planning approach.

Okay, that is a little overstated but you get the point.

Is terrorism something we need to worry about and plan for?

Yes, of course.

Should we stop planning and funding for natural disasters to focus on civil defense?

Well, I think August 29, 2005 answered that. 

Okay so with the creation of DHS, FEMA was demoted from their cabinet level status and had their budget… well in the words of our crass and classless governor… they didn't use vaseline. So then Katrina happened…


WTF is going on with this chain of command


But since he's moved on, we should too.

Point: FEMA under DHS = Bad    

At the risk of sounding overdramatic one could easily argue that moving FEMA under DHS was the most asinine decision of the W.B. presidency. 

Janet Napolitano, of this gun wielding photo fame.

Present Day: 

Janet Napolitano, current Secretary of DHS

announced she is resigning her post

of four years to become the first woman president of University of California. This is very cool. Three cheers for GIRL POWER. So DHS is going to be secretary-less come August. 

This is where my girl SuCo (Susan Collins for you non-Mainers) comes in. I'll be honest, the thought never even occurred to me, but once the internet speculated and put it in my head I became obsessed with the possibility of SuCo taking over DHS and SAVING AMERICA. 

How SuCo Could Save America: 

In order for a new Secretary to be appointed Obama needs approval from Congress. Since 98% of public support isn't enough to get something passed in Congress right now I think we can all agree that we shouldn't hold our breath when it comes to the 113th. EXCEPT when it comes to SuCo. EVERYONE LOVES HER. Seriously she's basically the only old school Moderate Republican left in America. Go ahead, call her a RINO... she's a BEAST. If anyone can get through Congress its SuCo.

She might be from Maine but don't underestimate this woman. Her resume more than qualifies her. She's the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and she's from Caribou. She was literally a lumberjack. I've never heard of a terrorist messing with a lumberjack…

have you?

Most importantly if you've followed her career you know that she's smart. She doesn't make rash decisions and thinks through tasks at hand while carefully deliberating probabilities and possibilities. She has an insanely long history of crossing party lines and will work with anyone necessary if it means getting goals accomplished. 


So What Now: 

Well first of all, let's all cross our fingers that Collins saying

"No Thank You"

was just a 3 month late April Fool's Day joke. SuCo and many others have suggested Thad Allen (of Katrina and BP fame).

Here is a list 

of some other speculations. 

Numerous factors are at play so I guess we'll all just have to wait and see. Although… I will be in DC next week… Maybe I'll stop by her office and test out those "open door policies" we're all promised during campaigns… I'm a convincing person right? 

If you're curious and want more information about how this whole system works I would recommend

Claire Rubin's book

because it explains everything I just did in more detail and less sass. She's also known as the "Recovery Diva" and

blogs here

 - I think it should go without saying that I'm jealous of her blog title.