The Department of Homeland Security—the nation’s newest cabinet agency, founded only in 2002—is a mess. Everyone knows it. It’s taken formerly well-functioning agencies (e.g., FEMA) and made them worse, split up some (Customs) in ways that made them worse, combined others in ways that made them worse, and created perhaps the worst functioning federal agency of them all: the TSA.
More troubling, it combines two vastly different functions. On the one hand, DHS is supposed to bring under one roof all of our efforts to secure the border against unwanted traffic in goods and people. It’s also supposed to act as a domestic security force, much like a traditional European ministry of the interior. The two functions do not belong together. The former is something any competent nation could do well if it wanted to. The latter is inherently difficult and murky in the best of circumstances. Moreover, most of the real power to do anything about domestic security rests with other agencies, particularly the intelligence community and the FBI. In doing its second job badly, DHS preoccupies the time and energy of senior management to not much effect beyond ensuring that they will do the Department’s first, and eminently do-able job, also badly. Add to that the fact the bipartisan ruling junta does not want the border secured and so does everything it can to undermine the Department and its morale.
It’s no wonder that almost no one of substance wants to run it. With one apparent exception.
Kris Kobach is arguably the smartest, best-informed and most vigilant immigration patriot in the country today. True, he’s no expert on domestic counter-terrorism, but that shouldn’t count against him. The Department he aspires to lead is lousy at it anyway. The best thing the administration can do to protect America from attack is to place sound people at the Defense Department, the intelligence community, and the National Security Council. The transition is off to a strong start.
The DHS Secretary doesn’t need to be a counter-terror whiz. He needs to be a barn-burner at the agency’s first and fundamental task: protecting the border. Which Kobach is.
Mickey Kaus’ analysis of the stakes is spot on. Trump, who is not seasoned in the ways of Washington, perhaps can be forgiven for not understanding—yet—what he’s up against. But surely Pence and Sessions know. The one-two punch of Sessions at Justice and Kobach at DHS will serve the political purpose of shoring up Trump’s base and the policy of purpose of delivering on his most fundamental promise.
Giving DHS to someone on the basis of loyalty or “diversity” or anything other than a true commitment to its core task would be a profound mistake—one that the President-elect, and his country, will pay for in the years and decades to come.
Kris Kobach for DHS.
I heartily agree but I wonder if Mr Trump is not obliged to play chess in four dimensions at this time.
Obama in particular and the Establishment in general still have plenty of deadly weapons in their armoury. For instance the current President could amnesty multitudes of illegal aliens; and anyway if the Global Elites decide that Donald Trump really means it, REALLY means to put an end to mass immigration and drain the swamp in Washington DC, they will quickly rewrite all the financial rules of the United States and the world – for instance by dethroning the dollar and making Special Drawing Rights the international bench-mark currency of last resort instead.
This would pauper the United States overnight and leave the new president with a Depression beside which that of the 1930s would look like a feeble blip on a screen.
(It is of course the people’s fault for having, in the first place, so decadent a country and having let things get so far that one man now has to be the dam holding back the floods of ruin.)
I take some comfort from noticing that the leading characteristic of Donald J Trump is that everyone always underestimates him.
With his rambling speeches (so refreshing after decades of political-speak boilerplate but at the same time prone to little gaffes) he has given the impression of being a bumbling amateur; but already has done far more for democracy than most in decades. He has made the political consultant industry look ridiculous and has utterly shot through the heart the mendacious, partisan, ethics-free Mainstream Media. He has lured them, by the very fact of his candidacy and its main themes, into a hysterical witch-hunt against him for 17 months; at the end of which they have lost their credibility, and with that their power.
And all this before he is even inaugurated.
Not bad for a bumbling amateur.
I suspect that he is playing the whole Establishment like an expert angler a very tough large deep-sea swordfish in the middle of the Caribbean. At least I hope so. It will take some doing to bring the country through the shoals and rocks on which the Enemy would want to steer his presidency if it once seemed to them to mean business.
I agree with your assessment of the DHS, Kobach the man, and Trump as President elect. Trump inspires and impresses me as he shows his pace, his stamina, his ability to accept the challenges posed to him and to block the attacks of the media, et al. He might not be your typical politician but then who said we needed one. The Deplorables were tired of “policitians” and wanted a “can-do” person of action. He is not waiting for royal accolades but is getting down to business and when he is inaugurated will hit the ground running.
Just as with check-list conservatism, check-list skills sets for cabinet officers are essentially meaningless. The primary job of DHS is to, duh, protect the homeland. This starts at our border. Kobach understands this reality, and that puts him head and shoulders above most anyone else who would be considered for the job.
John Derbyshire wrote at VDARE that, even if Kobach were selected, he may not make it through the confirmation. Since their last meeting, he has been left twisting in the wind. I worry that he may not be chosen, and instead the Heritage Foundation people working on his transition team will push for someone more moderate like Michael McCaul, whom Trump interviewed today.
Will McCaul “build a wall”? No. Trump promised a wall (or fence, etc). His firmest promise of all though I expect he will fulfill all his promises. Kobach is the man. And if you think his “inadvertent” photographic disclosure of his paperwork regarding the fence was a mistake, then think again. Trump knows if he appointed McCaul he would only have to fire him later.