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2008-12-05

WSJ: Rename Homeland Security

Wow! Finding something I want to blog about in the Wall Street Journal twice in one day! Peggy Noonan has a piece titled "At Least Bush Kept Us Safe". About this statement, which is not hers but "more or less" a quote of what some apparent Republicans were saying at a Christmas gathering she attended in Northern Virginia, Noonan says,
It is unknown, and perhaps can't be known, whether this was fully due to the government's efforts, or the luck of the draw, or a combination of luck and effort. And it not only can't be fully known by the public, it can hardly be fully known by the players at all levels of government.
I agreeļæ½it can't be known. Personally I'm inclined to assume it's largely been the luck of the draw. Partly because I'm pretty sure if anything major had been thwarted, somebody would have made sure the press found out about it (those that did make the press all seem to have turned out to have been overblown). And partly because thinking that it was the government's effort makes it all that much easier for government to justify continuing the abuses of the last 7+ years in the name of Homeland Security.

Which brings me to the first point I want to emphasize in Noonan's article:
What's at stake for him [Obama] is two words. When Republicans say, in coming years, "At least Bush kept us safe," Democrats will not want tacked onto the end of that sentence, "unlike Obama."

By the way, he should both reorder the Department of Homeland Security, that hopeless bureaucracy, and change its name. Homeland is a Nazi-ish word, not an American concept at all. And at this point "Homeland Security" is associated more with pointless harassment than safety. No one knows who came up with it. Probably some guy with two Christmas trees in Northern Virginia.

I don't always agree with Peggy Noonan, but on this I'm with her 100%, and have been saying the same since 25 November 2002.

The second point was even more of an aside in the article:
At such a gathering a month ago, there would have been some angry mutterings at John McCain, but not now. He's come quietly back to the Senate, where one of his colleagues told him of an amazing thing. The colleague had been touring the young democracies of Eastern Europe during the American election, and he found it wasn't so much Barack Obama that immediately knocked out observers but Mr. McCain's concession speech. This is the first American transfer of power they'd seen in eight years, and they couldn't get over the peacefulness and grace with which Mr. McCain accepted the people's verdict. "It really impressed them," the colleague told Mr. McCain, and later me. It gave them a template, a guide to how the older democracies do it.
Nice! I'm glad. It was graceful, kind and an excellent model for peaceful transfers of power in a democracy [also via The Daily Beast's Cheat Sheet].


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