Off With Her Head!

Sullivan continues his jihad:

I am relieved that Obama has now promised “accountability at every level.” I’d say firing Napolitano would be a start. Show you’re different from the Bushies. Actually hold someone you know and like accountable.

Accountable for what? What did she do wrong? Napolitano didn’t change any procedures which then led to the bomber getting through security. She didn’t shift the DHS budget in a way that impacted security. She didn’t botch the response. And her statement is factually correct, and only wrong if you completely distort what she said?

Is Sullivan operating with a different definition of accountable than I am? Because his definition of “accountable” looks a helluva lot like my definition of “scapegoat.” He wants her fired not for her job performance, but for giving Republicans (with yet another assist from the liberal media) a sound bite that is easy to demagogue. That is not how adults operate.

We’re all mad here.

*** Update ***

And another thing- If Obama fired Janet or forced her to resign for no reason whatsoever, who in their right mind would ever accept another appointment from him? Seriously- would you go to work for someone who would scapegoat you for things beyond your control, fire you, ruin your reputation and destroy your political career just because a couple wingnuts demanded it?

More here.

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136 replies
  1. 1
    donovong says:

    This is another one of Sullivan’s periods of non-readability. Very similar to his hissy-fits about Palin’s baby and whats-his-name who impregnated Palin’s daughter.

    I go there less and less, lately.

  2. 2

    Is Sullivan operating with a different definition of accountable than I am?

    No, he’s operating on a different definition of jackass. That’s why he never realizes that he is one.

    Edited to add: What donovong said. We’re supposed to take the guy who went apeshit over Baby Eighttrack seriously? I think not.

  3. 3
    slag says:

    Because his definition of “accountable” looks a helluva lot like my definition of “scapegoat.”

    Yes indeed!

  4. 4
    beltane says:

    Sullivan often has weird obsessions with women, both with the ones he likes (Thatcher), and with the ones he dislikes (Palin, Napolitano). The only thing I can say in defense of him is that his obsessive behavior seems based on personal motives and not political ones.

  5. 5
    dmsilev says:

    Sullivan’s gone nuts again. It happens from time to time. He’ll get better eventually, and then find some other random bit of silliness to go nuts over. Repeat ad infinitum.

    -dms

  6. 6
    verberne says:

    If Sullivan needs to find someone to quote, please find someone more credible than the neocon Maureen Dowd.

  7. 7
    BTD says:

    John:

    There was “systemic failure,” according to the President. While I agree with you that asking for Napolitano to resign is absurd, clearly accountability includes the idea that you are responsible for the performance of your department.

    In what way was DHS responsible for the “systemic failuire?” I tink that should be investigated.

    In what way was the State Department responsible for the systemic failure? I think that needs to be investigated.

    We now are hearing reports that the CIA had information that it did not share. If true, to what degree is the CIA responsible for any errors? I think that needs to be investigated.

    I was quite please with the President’s statement yesterday because as you yourself wrote, there is something wrong with a system (or its personnel) that allows the individual in question to do what he did.

    Sullivan, is, as usual, overwrought. But Napolitano clearly is accountable for any failing by her department, wouldn’t you agree? The same for Clinton at State and Panetta at the CIA.

  8. 8
    Tyro says:

    Accountable for what? What did she do wrong?

    She didn’t do anything wrong: she was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and failed to inspire confidence when it was necessary. Which in Washington, DC is enough. I don’t think Sullivan has the wrong sentiment here, except that under these circumstances, the republicans are whining enough that it would be harmful to the government to give in to their tantrums.

  9. 9

    Ah, but John, we can’t listen to you, since you’re such a well-known Obamabot. *snort* *snigger*

    Seriously: Man, this is just a Sully thing. As much as I agree that Napolitano’s initial comments was way off, this manhunt for “responsibility” doesn’t actually help security. He’d do much better to press Colburn to stop blocking the TSA Admin’s vote, and to press Obama to open up this “top-down review” of the system a little more, give us some goals and timeframes for making it happen.

    The system — not just the TSA, but all of how we do Homeland Security — is way broke. Kicking out Napolitano won’t fix that, no more than tossing Chernoff or Brownie HorseMesiter would fix things post-Katrina.

  10. 10
    Ash says:

    Sully is still on some sort of bender from all the Iran stuff. Everything he’s been saying in the last week or so has been a neurological response to his own personal form of crack.

  11. 11
    eric says:

    @BTD: maybe. first figure out the failing.

  12. 12
    Zifnab says:

    Is Sullivan operating with a different definition of accountable than I am? Because his definition of “accountable” looks a helluva lot like my definition of “scapegoat.”

    I remember McCain’s knee-jerk reaction to the CDO implosion was to suggest we shit-can the head of the SEC. I don’t know if this would have been a terrible idea, but I was rather curious of the claim that a quick scalp and replacement with a McCain campaign aid was going to solve the nation’s problems.

    Exactly who do we replace Janet Napolitano with? And once we’ve got our candidate lined up, do you think that person will be confirmed before or after the head of the TSA, currently bottled up by Senator Jim DeMint (R – Assholistan)?

  13. 13
    John Cole says:

    @BTD: Sure, she would be accountable for failure in her department. Where is it? What was her failure? What was her department’s failure?

  14. 14
    beltane says:

    @dmsilev: Between events in Iran and the Bristol Palin/Levi Johston/Tripp Johnston-Palin melodrama, Sully won’t have much time for Napolitano. Sorry, Janet.

  15. 15
    Kryptik says:

    But I heard this was a failure of Napolitano on an even worse level than how Michael Brown failed during Katrina! Exponentially worse! Now everyone and their mother are going to bring underwear bombs and we’ll never be safe flying again! And it’s all her fault! RABBLE RABBLE HARUMPH HARUMPH!!

  16. 16
    LITBMueller says:

    Ummm…someone correct me if I’m wrong, but…didn’t the Undiebomber get on a plane in, like, a foreign country, n’ stuff? And…isn’t DHS/TSA on responsible for airport security in, like, OUR country? Or, am I missing something…

    “…Dutch Anti-Terrorism Coordinator Erik Akerboom admitted the airport’s security checks are not watertight…”

    Fire Akerboom!!!!!

  17. 17
    slag says:

    @Tyro:

    failed to inspire confidence when it was necessary

    I’m sorry, but in whom did she fail to inspire confidence? Some guy’s underpants failed to ignite! So, now we’re all wetting our own? I don’t think so.

    She only “failed to inspire confidence” in people who have a vested interest in keeping everyone unconfident. Who are those people? Well, right now, it’s Republicans and the media. They both just love the ratings.

  18. 18
    Stroszek says:

    Mousavi ’12!

  19. 19
    Noonan says:

    Seems like a pretty obvious attempt by Sully to hide his Obama boner. I guess he has to criticize Obama for something, so this qualifies.

  20. 20
    BTD says:

    @eric:

    Indeed, the word “investigate” would be the key there.

    Look, the President has stated in clear terms there was a “systemic failure,” and I for one agree with him.

    Like the President, I believe that something clearly went wrong with the system when a person reported on by his father to our State Department, apparently with CIA monitoring of the individual, was able to get explosives on to a plane inbound to the US.

    My understanding is that the system on paper should have stopped him. It did not.

    But clearly there was a problem – either with the system or the personnel. Maybe it was a one time thing. People are human.

    Let’s find out.

  21. 21
    WyldPiratd says:

    Hell, the Capitulator in Chief probably will fire her. He’s shown little hesitancy to throw other staffers under the bus for bullshit reasons that the Rightards and media got in a snit about.

    Obama cant pass up kowtowing to lunacy (see recovery bill; Afganistan surge, HCR, hell, everything. He seems to view capitulation as “bipartisanship” and he loves him some “bipartisanship’.

  22. 22
    Violet says:

    @John Cole:
    It depends what her department is responsible for. If her department has any responsibility for any screening of US-bound airline passengers in other countries and coordination of info on potential terrorists, then she probably does have some responsibility.

    I don’t know what the TSA actually does, other than set up and conduct security screenings in the US.

    Sully is being ridiculous. The fact that he hasn’t mentioned any actual reason for Napolitano being fired is telling. He just wants the symbolism.

  23. 23
    Why oh why says:

    Once the GOP stops holding up the nomination of the new TSA director, Obama should appoint him, then fire him.

    Also too, the Atlantic should fire Sullivan, McArdle… in fact all of their bloggers except Fallows.

  24. 24
    Max says:

    @beltane: I agree. And don’t forget his loathing and paranoia of H. Clinton. Sully has some weird mother issues that manifest themselves in over the top opinions and rhetoric.

  25. 25
    Tomlinson says:

    @LITBMueller:

    Ummm…someone correct me if I’m wrong, but…didn’t the Undiebomber get on a plane in, like, a foreign country, n’ stuff? And…isn’t DHS/TSA on responsible for airport security in, like, OUR country? Or, am I missing something…

    No shit. Isn’t the fact that these guys are now resorting to smuggling bombs onto foreign flights, with what used to be much tighter security, a pretty strong endorsement of the TSA?

  26. 26
  27. 27
    BTD says:

    @John Cole:

    Let’s investigate.

    But there is a prima facie case of failure obviously.

    Unless you are telling me that you disagree with the President when he says that the system failed, I am not sure of your point.

    Was it a DHS failure? Let’s find out. Was it a State Dep’t failure? Let’s find out. Did the CIA fail? Let’s find out.

    It seems to me you are as eager to pronounce blamelessness as Sully is to send Napolitano to the gallows.

    I say let’s investigate and find out.

  28. 28
    Tomlinson says:

    @Why oh why:

    Also too, the Atlantic should fire Sullivan, McArdle… in fact all of their bloggers except Fallows.

    I love Fallows and I like Sully – he at least makes me think.

    But I cancelled my Atlantic subscription just for McArdle.

  29. 29
    morzer says:

    Every so often, Sullivan’s mask slips and an old-fashioned misogyny peeps out, usually accompanied by a reversion to his default setting as self-righteous peddler of Beltway gossip disguised as independent thought. He made it big working for Marty Peretz after all. Who gave McCaughey her start? Who published the Bell Curve? Who crusaded for Bush II and made even Karl Rove look moderate? Why, our infinitely flexible friend, Andrew “always in the process of re-inventing myself” Sullivan.

  30. 30
    SGEW says:

    @Why oh why: What’s your beef with Ta-Nehisi?

  31. 31
    bemused says:

    Typical R reaction to everything. Shoot first & there are never, ever questions later. Questions? We don’t need no stinking questions. With that mode of operation, no wonder R’s get themselves into so many money & s.e.x scandals.

  32. 32
    Dan Robinson says:

    Mistake one is really giving a shit about what Sullivan has to say. I don’t know if you have noticed, but he always comes down harder on women than men. He is a bigot. He is the kind of person who would say “Some of my best friends are women”.

  33. 33
    slag says:

    @BTD:

    It seems to me you are as eager to pronounce blamelessness as Sully is to send Napolitano to the gallows.

    That’s not at all what I read in this post.

  34. 34
    Steeplejack says:

    @Why oh why:

    [. . .] the Atlantic should fire Sullivan, McArdle . . . in fact all of their bloggers except Fallows.

    And Coates.

  35. 35
    donovong says:

    @BTD: Um, no. Firing the head of a huge government office that is clearly in need of improvement, because somebody in that department fucked up is “teh stoopid.” Using that twisted logic, it would then be incumbent upon Obama to resign, because Napolitano had to resign, because some bureaucrat far lower on the food chain may have fucked up.

    It would make more sense to leave someone in charge who has an inherent desire to fix the problem.

  36. 36
    BTD says:

    @Tomlinson:

    TSA has jurisdiction over who gets to fly into the US and from what airports.

    For example, the US can insist that certain security measures be met by airports that wish to originate flights to the US. Indeed, I am pretty certain that we already do that.

    Think of it this way, if the US could do nothing about overseas flights coming to the US, then that would be quite a whole in the system.

  37. 37
    BTD says:

    @donovong:

    I’m pretty sure I did not say anyone should resign.

    If I remember my words, I am pretty sure that I condemned Sullivan for his usual overreaction.

  38. 38
    Ash says:

    @Dan Robinson:

    He is the kind of person who would say “Some of my best friends are women”

    “Neda should have won the Nobel Peace Prize!”

  39. 39
    Noonan says:

    @BTD: I agree on the investigate part. Seems a no-brainer. This should be treated by the spooks as though the plot succeded. (Because it did except for the operator error at the end.) Since the actual terror part didn’t happen we can skip scapegoating officials for the sake of a little Beltway Kabuki theater.

  40. 40
  41. 41
    Violet says:

    The Dutch have been beaten by the Somalis in airline security:

    MOGADISHU, Somalia – A man tried to board a commercial airliner in Mogadishu last month carrying powdered chemicals, liquid and a syringe that could have caused an explosion in a case bearing chilling similarities to the terrorist plot to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner, officials told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

    The Somali man — whose name has not yet been released — was arrested by African Union peacekeeping troops before the Nov. 13 Daallo Airlines flight took off. It had been scheduled to travel from Mogadishu to the northern Somali city of Hargeisa, then to Djibouti and Dubai. A Somali police spokesman, Abdulahi Hassan Barise, said the suspect is in Somali custody.

    Guess we should be taking airline security tips from Somalia.

  42. 42
    danimal says:

    @Why oh why: Ta-Nehisi Coates is one of my absolute favorite bloggers. Don’t fire him during your Atlantic purge.

  43. 43
    BTD says:

    @slag:

    It’s there in black and white in comment 13 and in the original post:

    Accountable for what? What did she do wrong? Napolitano didn’t change any procedures which then led to the bomber getting through security. She didn’t shift the DHS budget in a way that impacted security. She didn’t botch the response. And her statement is factually correct, and only wrong if you completely distort what she said?

    Now my view is we need to find out what happened. But, as the President said, a “failure” occurred. Maybe it was machine error or something else. But it seems premature to absolve DHS, or State, or the CIA.

    I’d rather wait for the facts.

  44. 44

    Fire Akerboom!!

    Place your bets: How long until the fReichtards call for the invasion of the Soci a li st Republic of Tulipstan?

    I give it ten days.

  45. 45
    mandarama says:

    @Violet:

    Sully is being ridiculous. The fact that he hasn’t mentioned any actual reason for Napolitano being fired is telling. He just wants the symbolism.

    Sullivan is all about symbolism. Of all the prominent figures who crave (and create) sweeping and hackneyed narratives, he’s one of the worst. I’ve had to stop reading him. He’s less subtle than Dickens, for crying out loud.

    Killed by a story arc, indeed. This shit is depressing.

  46. 46
    donovong says:

    @BTD:

    “But Napolitano clearly is accountable for any failing by her department, wouldn’t you agree? The same for Clinton at State and Panetta at the CIA.”

    You’re right. I can’t understand why I would interpret this as being cogent to a discussion about firing Napolitano.

  47. 47
    Demo Woman says:

    Harry Smith on CBS The Early Show corrected DeMint this morning when he misstated Napolitano’s comment.
    DeMint looked flummoxed because he’s not used to have someone challenge his lies.

  48. 48
    AkaDad says:

    Napolitano is too naive to be in charge. Everyone knows that Amsterdam is a hotbed of terrorism.

  49. 49

    Seems to me, after reading Sullivan, that his version of accountability is to fire Napolitano. That is just plain stupid. Until all the evidence is looked at firing her now is, in fact, scapegoating. Cole isn’t saying that Napolitano should not be accountable, per se, only that a precipitous firing is scapegoating. If later we find out that she was part of the problem by implementing changes that obviously made this attempt possible, then by all means send her back home to spend more time with her family.

  50. 50
    LITBMueller says:

    @BTD: Yep, but the actual screening at Schiphol is done by the Dutch. And, frankly, they have a history of sucking.

  51. 51
    BTD says:

    @donovong:

    You wouldn’t? Well, minds can differ on that point. For example, Cole went on to argue that Napolitano has done nothing wrong. Apparently, he found it relevant (tip of the hat for your use of the word cogent as a synonym) to the discussion at hand.

    BTW,

  52. 52
    tomvox1 says:

    I think what is going on with this whole exercise in hyperbole–and also including the Firebaggers, Huffers, etc–is the burnt stove syndrome. 8 years of rampant incompetence & venality have left everyone on the “Left & Center” (i.e. the not-batshit crazy part of the political spectrum) expecting more of the same even though there’s a new competent Commander In Chief in town with a good and professional team (obviously the Right has completely different motivations…). Therefore, when a quote gets taken out of context by the head of Homeland Security that seems to downplay a “terrifying” event, she must be just as bad at her job as Brownie. The fact that Napolitano happens to be qualified and doing a good job, the fact that this case is exactly the same as the Shoe Bomber which played out with a lot less pants-wetting, never enters into the equation. Burned by 8 years of sheer hackery and patronage appointments, the “reasonable voices of the Left and Center” are still conditioned to see every minor lapse as a wider indictment of an entire administration.

    Same with the Healthcare debate: Because Bush was a shameless corporatist whose idealistic-sounding programs were all giveaways in charitable disguises, so must Obama’s. The very sad part is that the general media can no longer objectively analyze the actual facts of any given matter anymore, preferring to practice banal “He said, She said” journalism. And so we are left only with competing ideological opinions as our main source of “news,” exacerbating this destructive pattern of hysterical overreaction & constant doubt of the true motives of arguably the most progressive administration since LBJ.

    It’s like the star athlete who performs admirably and even to a Hall of Fame level but is somehow found wanting and publicly excoriated for what he can’t do rather than what he is actually doing on the field. It’s only when that athlete is no longer playing that the fans look back wistfully at what they no longer have to cheer and wonder where their next champion will come from.

  53. 53
    BTD says:

    @LITBMueller:

    An investigation should make clear what Napolitano did right or wrong, if anything, and what steps we need to take on this.

    For example, suppose DHS had done everything right – including monitoring the processes at Amsterdam and even improving them (I think the US sent puffer machines to Amsterdam) and did diligent hands on inspections of the processes they followed.

    But this one slipped by due to human error, or even corruption, in Amsterdam.

    I for one would completely absolve DHS. You can do what you can do. But you can’t run the airports of the world.

  54. 54
    Sentient Puddle says:

    Accountable for what? What did she do wrong?

    She put out a statement that was then taken out of context. Worst thing in the world you could do. Duh.

    Seriously, I don’t see how this is anything but a witch hunt. People manufactured a reason to hate Napolitano, and now they’re calling for her head. This ain’t right.

  55. 55
    eemom says:

    Jane needs to get Sully on board with Rahmgate. Jane, Grover, and Sully — a menage-a-trois made in heaven.

    btw, thanks for quoting the Cat…..I love that exchange:

    “But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.

    “Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat, “we’re all mad here.”

  56. 56
    mandarama says:

    @tomvox1:

    Thank you. Well said.

  57. 57

    @BTD: Cole’s saying that there’s no evidence to fire her today. That’s not at all the same as saying that, after an investigation where her or her dept. culpability is found, she might be fired.

    You’re reading his shorthand against Sully’s “fire her today!” (which is what I’m reacting to, as well) a little too closely, man.

  58. 58
    Leelee for Obama says:

    @BTD: I would say cluster-fuck, which is what I called it a few days ago is the best description. There were several balls dropped-CIA, National Counter Terrorism Agency (?), Schipol Airport Security, Nigerian Airport Security, and maybe more. But, Napolitano is guilty of mis-speaking, let’s hang her. If she dropped a ball anywhere, I’m fine with her stepping down, but if not, let’s get rid of whoever decided not to act on what the father of this young man told us. If no one told Janet Napolitano, which is how it’s looking, she should stay and someone should kick some serious butt, until the SHARING of INFORMATION becomes de riguer. For the love of the Spaghetti Monster, can we stop back seat driving this thing. We’ll know when we know. Better chance of that happening now than last year, right? I still think the imaging machines are the way to go, and anyone who doesn’t want their bits ( Richard Quest-love him ) seen should stay the fuck home, until no one wants to blow up their sorry, shy asses.

  59. 59
    Kryptik says:

    @Sentient Puddle:

    Pretty much. To the GOP, the worst thing you could do is not fail, but to publicize a perception of failure. It doesn’t matter if you actually did anything wrong, as long as you ignore it rather than say ‘something is actually rotten’.

    Though close behind is challenging the orthodoxy of ‘Terrorism will crawl out from under your bed and smother your children in your sleep if we don’t attack everyone now, now, now’.

  60. 60
    beltane says:

    @eemom: Sully would have nothing whatsoever to do with Jane Hamsher. This morning he approvingly posted a Joe Klein quote that offers an oblique criticism of the whole FDL movement. He likes PUMAs just about as much as he likes Sarah Palin.

  61. 61

    An email I sent to Sullivan just this morning (the second of its kind in the last 3 days),

    Can you please state what exactly the Secretary of H O M E L A N D Security was supposed to do about poor security in Lagos and Amsterdam? It seems that for all of your puffery on this issue you’ve yet to state any specific transgression committed by the DHS or Napolitano. If anything these issues point to a problem at the State Department, or even with the CIA.

  62. 62
    Mark says:

    Beltane @4:

    You’re totally right about Sully’s strange approach to women.

    Remember when gay libertarian PayPal-founder Peter Thiel told the Cato Institute that the country went downhill when women were given the right to vote?

    Amanda Marcotte wrote that this was typical of libertarians. Sully thrashed her but absolutely refused to say anything about Thiel.

    (He’s not the only one – E.D. Kain (a minor writer, I know) refused to criticize Thiel, but said that criticizing libertarians was “beyond the pale.’)

    Sully has to come to grips with his misogynism.

  63. 63
    Ben JB says:

    I actually wrote to Sullivan about this, which seems like a not totally coherent stance–at one moment he’s saying that the best thing to do is to frame this as an absurd joke on AQ capabilities, the next he’s calling for Napolitano’s head.

    I also get the feeling that part of the problem here is similar to how our head of state and our head of government are the same–that is, whereas England has a nice separation between their ceremonial queen and their executive PM, our Pres must fulfill both roles: making decisions and giving soundbites. It seems here that no one can point to an actual mistake Napolitano made in her role as decision-maker of the DHS–the only spin is that she made a mistake as the talking head of the DHS (and only if you take it out of context).

    (Although some of the same people–but not Sullivan, I think–saying that Napolitano’s “the system worked” comment failed to instill confidence would be saying the same thing if she said the opposite.)

  64. 64
    slag says:

    @BTD: I read the question as a question. And the statements as statements. You’re free to argue that either she did or we don’t know if she changed security procedures that enabled the undie bomber. But I still see the question as a demand for evidence outside of those statements. Which, to me, was simply a challenge to people calling for her termination to produce evidence of egregious wrong-doing rather than an effort to deny there was any.

  65. 65

    Oh, John, John, John.

    Don’t you know that the President is supposed to “demonstrate leadership” and “provide the people with a feeling of safety and protection”?

    Obama’s got it all wrong; he’s trying to *lead* and *protect*, keeping people *safe*.

    Letting people say stuff that the Republicans can distort doesn’t “demonstrate leadership” and when the Republicans distort what they say, it doesn’t “provide people with a feeling of safety and protection”. So, obviously, those inferior goals of Obama are not cutting the mustard, so it’s time for him to “show that he can change course” rather than what he probably plans to do – evaluate the circumstances and make appropriate changes.

  66. 66
    Sentient Puddle says:

    @Kryptik: That the GOP would be screaming for her head is no surprise. That’s their playbook.

    Me, I’m more dumbfounded that the media has gone along with this. For the life of me, I cannot accept the premise that they somehow forgot to read the rest of her quote and don’t know the context. They’re just making the shit up. And the media should not be making shit up.

  67. 67
    eemom says:

    @beltane:

    whatevah. Since I wrote that I noticed she’s now parading Dennis Kucinich’s head around on a stick, so I guess she doesn’t need Sully.

  68. 68
    mandarama says:

    @BTD:

    It seems to me you are as eager to pronounce blamelessness as Sully is to send Napolitano to the gallows.

    Nice dichotomy–puts you right in a reasonable middle. Too bad it’s mistaken. John’s point is that symbolic scapegoating isn’t going to find any facts or improve any systems. His secondary point is that Sullivan is punishing Napolitano for giving Republicans some cheap cannon fodder–ironic, since Sully is generating even more cheap cannon fodder himself. That’s not the same as saying “no one is at fault” for the actual incident.

    I say let’s investigate and find out.

    Is anyone saying there won’t be or shouldn’t be an investigation? Obama said there would be a thorough review and accountability, and outlined the agencies at work on it. So why call for something that’s already underway?

  69. 69
    beltane says:

    @Mark: I do remember that. He gave Marcotte (who I like a lot) a “Moore Award” for left-wing shrillness.

  70. 70
    Califlander says:

    John, when are you going to accept that Sully, despite his personal loathing of Palin and consequent support for the Democratic ticket last year, is still a Tory hack?

  71. 71
    John Cole says:

    It seems to me you are as eager to pronounce blamelessness as Sully is to send Napolitano to the gallows.

    Stating someone should not be fired without cause is not the same as saying they should not be fired with cause.

    Christ.

  72. 72
    Kryptik says:

    @Sentient Puddle:

    That’s because the media has to compensate for it’s ‘pervasive liberalism’ by buying the bullshit the GOP shovels wholesale. You know, for the sake of balance.

  73. 73

    Wait, is this the oft-quoted Sully that we fawn over here on a regular basis?

    I thought we had established that he is an idiot and not worthy of attention?

  74. 74
    BTD says:

    @John Cole:

    Look. You wrote what you wrote. I’m glad you are willing to wait to see if there is something to blame anyone for before you absolve them of all blame.

    But that’s not what you wrote.

  75. 75
    Corner Stone says:

    @Dan Robinson:

    He is the kind of person who would say “Some of my best friends are women”.

    I doubt he would ever say that as it’s clear he hates and fears women.

  76. 76
    Leelee for Obama says:

    No offense to Sentient Puddle but this:

    They’re just making the shit up. And the media should not be making shit up.

    … is adorable. I mean really, so simple and naive, and adorable. If the media were doing anything that resembled the job they are supposed to be doing, 2000 to 2009 would have been a much different period of American History.

  77. 77

    Help me out here. When the airliner crashed in Buffalo last winter, was there a cry for resignation of the head of FAA?

    Doesn’t the FAA guarantee us perfect safety? Or do they just operate at a certain level of vigilance which is known, and calculated, to have a limited capacity to insure safety, thereby insuring that some accidents will happen? Didn’t FAA allow tired, poorly trained crews to operate aircraft with marginal safety equipment to operate in adverse weather conditions beyond the capability of the equipment and the crews? And aren’t they still doing so today, as we speak?

    How does the FAA mission differ from the TSA mission, WRT safety? And of the two, which mission model has killed more people in the last year?

    We better start firing a lot more people. And we better start holding Obama accountable for airline accidents.

  78. 78
    BTD says:

    @mandarama:

    It’s fun to ignore what John actually wrote. Hell, he does it himself. Repeating, from the post:

    Accountable for what? What did she do wrong? Napolitano didn’t change any procedures which then led to the bomber getting through security. She didn’t shift the DHS budget in a way that impacted security. She didn’t botch the response.

    John’s answer to the question “what did she do wrong?” is nothing.

    Sully’s answer is “off with her head.”

    My answer is, as the President stated, there was a a failure. Let’s find out what it was.

  79. 79
    Sentient Puddle says:

    @Leelee for Obama: o noes!!1 my sensibilities!

    I can dream though, can’t I?

  80. 80
    beltane says:

    @eemom: Is Kucinich her savior or a sellout now. With Hamsher’s rapidly expanding enemies list it is hard to keep track.

  81. 81
    Leelee for Obama says:

    @Sentient Puddle: Yes, of course you can dream, Puddle. We all do, but always remember, we’re the ones who live in the reality-based community.

  82. 82
    Leelee for Obama says:

    @beltane: Ya know, I haven’t given Jane a thought in several days. Is she still making new enemies? Seriously, time for a Holiday break for her, no?

  83. 83
    Maude says:

    What we have here is a failure to communicate.

    I thought that this type of thing was supposed to be solved by the head of all intelligence position put into place during the last administration.

    It could be turf wars.
    It is so easy to blame one person without gathering all of the facts. Sully flies off the handle a lot.

    The State Department is included this time because of the father. I’d like to know how many people at State knew of the complaint and did they tell anyone in the security realm of the gubmint.

  84. 84
    tim says:

    Given Sully’s recently revealed habit of putting his name to posts written by his underlings, perhaps the napolitano bashing is more attributable to one of them and the “Know Hope” Man is letting it slide thru…

  85. 85
    Ben JB says:

    @BTD: #78:

    BTD, I disagree with your interpretation of John’s comments; first, John lists all the things that she didn’t do: she didn’t change anything that made it easier for the bomber to get on and she didn’t botch the response once we knew there was an incident. Saying that she didn’t do certain things is not the same as saying she didn’t do things wrong. Heck, it may turn out that she should’ve shifted some money around or something–and when that comes to light, then she should be held accountable for what she did wrong. John is merely pointing out that, at this time, we have no actual evidence that she did anything wrong.

    Second, let’s say that, at first, John did come out with something that sounded like he was defending Napolitano, but later, he made it clear that he was actually simply arguing against symbolic scapegoating. We may disagree on the first part (I think he was clearly against scapegoating, you think he’s clearly defending Napolitano against charges), but we can agree on the second part of my formulation: in later posts, John is clearly against scapegoating. That said, arguing about what he meant is pointless since he clarified what he meant.

    Third, the fact that everyone else here understood what John said at first might lead you to reconsider your position.

  86. 86
    slag says:

    @BTD: What’s weird is that I didn’t see John write “nothing” in response to his own question. Why did you?

  87. 87
    Brian J says:

    @Zifnab:

    It doesn’t matter if it would have been a terrible idea. A change would have been made, whether or not it’s necessary. That’s what being a maverick is all about.

  88. 88
    satby says:

    @Ash: Sure, Sully pushed Neda for the Nobel. She’s Sully’s kinda woman.
    Dead.

  89. 89
    mandarama says:

    @BTD:

    It’s fun to ignore what John actually wrote.

    I think it must be fun to oversimplify what he writes too. In this case, I read John’s post as saying that an apparently competent cabinet member should not be publicly pilloried and stripped of their post unless he/she has committed an obvious mistake in procedure, budgeting, or response system. The information we have so far doesn’t indicate that Napolitano did any of the above, yet she’s being pummeled for symbolic purposes. It sounds more like failures of interagency communication, most of which happens at a lower level. No doubt that will become clearer in the review that’s taking place–the one that you’re calling for to take place.

    You’re reading John’s exasperated directness for “Leave my girl Janet alone because I don’t allow for any criticism!” and that rings a false note for me based on my knowledge of his writing. Now, I don’t know your work at all, except for these last few threads here, so it’s possible that I’m misreading you in turn. If so, apologies.

    ETA: What BenJB said.

  90. 90
    Ben JB says:

    OT: Speaking of Atlantic writers, Marc Ambinder has a poll open now for worst Republican scandal of the decade. His selection: Sanford’s Argentinean affair, the Abramoff investigation, Larry Craig’s “wide stance,” and Mark Foley’s texts to young male pages. WTF?

    http://politics.theatlantic.co.....candal.php

  91. 91
    Adam Collyer says:

    @tomvox1:

    It’s like the star athlete who performs admirably and even to a Hall of Fame level but is somehow found wanting and publicly excoriated for what he can’t do rather than what he is actually doing on the field. It’s only when that athlete is no longer playing that the fans look back wistfully at what they no longer have to cheer and wonder where their next champion will come from.

    See Rodriguez, Alex, New York Yankees, circa 2008. OR Manning, Peyton, Indianapolis Colts pre-Super Bowl win.

    America loves to build people up and then take them down. It’s the way our celebrity culture works, and the President is nothing if not a celebrity to most people. The 24-hour news cycle and the Internet have irreparably changed the way people set their expectations. If there isn’t immediate success, “there must be consequences.”

    Interestingly enough, Obama has both benefitted and been castigated by the same phenomenon, probably moreso than anyone. The 24 news cycle allowed Bush to get hammered (accurately, in most cases) for his total incompetence. Obama was really able to fill the void by acting as a stable and inspiring leader throughout his campaign. He was able to speak directly to his supporters through the internet, mobilize volunteers and make millions upon millions upon millions of dollars for his campaign. All good.

    The President has liberal tendencies, but at his heart, he is very much an incrementalist because of his pragmatism and respect for the institution of American government. He’s process oriented, which, considering that our last president and his subordinates believed in the unitary executive, is a very good thing. He allows the process to work itself out, kinks included. He’s not about to act as a “leftist George W. Bush” because he’s not (a) really leftist, despite the cries of the crazies, and (b) not George W. Bush. Both of these are good things.

    But the “failure” in not completing his agenda in 11 months is too much for this culture to handle when expectations have been set in accordance with immediate gratification. I went on vacation in November and listened to people who are nominal Democrats and Independents, all of whom voted for the President one year before but don’t pay much attention to politics. Their claim was that “he hadn’t done anything.” I reeled off several accomplishments off the top of my head and mentioned that if they didn’t pay attention to what was going on around them, that was their problem, not his.

    But it IS his problem, and really OUR problem as a whole. The vast majority of the American public pays little attention to politics and doesn’t watch MSNBC/CNN/Fox News/etc. We know the GOP is going to obstruct every piece of legislation in the pipeline, so we rely on a Democratic majority to get it done. If a significant portion of the base is too impatient to accept incremental change based on our government design and traditions, then the message that pervades public consciousness is that the President “hasn’t done anything.” It’s demonstrably untrue, but a big problem that I honestly have no idea how to solve.

  92. 92
    BTD says:

    @mandarama:

    He wrote that and then he wrote some more.

    I took issue with the “some more.” Your response is to point to the part I am not taking issue with.

  93. 93
    BTD says:

    @slag:

    He wrote all the words I quote.

    Perhaps you can tell me what you think they mean. My interpretation is “Napolitano did nothing wrong.” What’s yours?

  94. 94
    BTD says:

    @Ben JB:

    If that is what John meant, then my apologies to John. I read it differently and nothng John has written in the comments has changed my view of what he meant.

    He certainly wrote nothing like what you wrote.

  95. 95
    Scandi says:

    Sully’s just got some good weed again, so you shouldn’t pay too much attention for the next six hours or so.

  96. 96
    BTD says:

    @Ben JB:

    I also must add that the words John wrote are an objective reality. All the explanations provided in the comments do not change the actual words he used.

    Let me again state that John has not once offered an explanation that squares with your interpretation. And he has chosen to respond to my comments in this thread.

    It is of course true John does not to explain anything to me, but I certainly would not be sympathetic to John’s predicament (if indeed he has been misinterpreted by me) if Sully asked the same questions I have asked.

  97. 97

    @tim:

    Given Sully’s recently revealed habit of putting his name to posts written by his underlings

    Link?

  98. 98

    @Ben JB:
    Seriously, that is one screwed up poll.

  99. 99
    mandarama says:

    @BTD:

    No, I’m pointing to the same part you quoted above and took issue with. I read the same passage in the way I discuss above, with subtext. Emphasis mine:

    Accountable for what? What did she do wrong? Napolitano didn’t change any procedures which then led to the bomber getting through security. She didn’t shift the DHS budget in a way that impacted security. She didn’t botch the response. And her statement is factually correct, and only wrong if you completely distort what she said?

    I just don’t agree that John’s saying no one is at fault (“eager to pronounce blamelessness”). He’s saying that the situation does not appear to have resulted from incompetence on Napolitano’s part, and therefore scapegoating her for symbolic joy is stupid.

    BenJB and several others read it the same way I did. I can’t tell if you’re polling us all to find someone who agrees with your interpretation? Or to tweak John, as your tone implies? Your purpose here is unclear.

  100. 100
    norbizness says:

    This is why it’s always inappropriate to praise this assclown when he happens to be semi-correct, or to give a shit what anybody at that open sewer (minus the two bloggers mentioned before) of a magazine thinks.

  101. 101
    slag says:

    @BTD: I’ve already stated what my interpretation is. And it’s not “nothing”.

    And my interpretation of your interpretation is that it comes from your desire to play vanity games. You like to play with words and ignore meaning because it makes you feel Serious. Well, no one I know crafts every statement they make strongly enough that it can’t be seized on–intentionally or otherwise–to fit an alternate narrative. And that’s ok because what matters more is that people be intellectually honest enough to ask questions rather than make accusations.

  102. 102
    CalD says:

    Sullivan earned his spurs as a Clinton basher. Mrs. Clinton has endured worse a lot worse.

  103. 103
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @ Adam Collyer.

    Well said, that man. Hear, hear!

  104. 104
    John Cole says:

    @BTD: For fucks sake- WHAT DID SHE DO WRONG THAT YOU AND SULLY SEEM TO THINK SHE SHOULD BE “HELD ACCOUNTABLE?”

    Do you know of anything? Can you give me one reason why she should be fired? If not, get back to me when you have one. I’m not shielding Napolitano from accountability, I’m asking the prosecution to provide some evidence (anything will do, since you have provided none) to the court before you ask for the death penalty.

    And really, considering Obama already ordered a top-down review of the entire process, calling for an investigation of Napolitano is hardly a bold demonstration of your independence.

    I simply do not have the time to write every damned sentence so that it is impossible for a lawyer with too much time on his hands to distort it beyond recognition. Everyone here seemed to understand what I meant, why did you and you alone seem to interpret that what I was “really” saying is that Napolitano should be beyond punishment?

  105. 105
    Sasha says:

    I am relieved that Obama has now promised “accountability at every level.” I’d say firing Napolitano would be a start. Show you’re different from the Bushies. Actually hold someone you know and like accountable.

    The problem with the Bushies wasn’t that they weren’t held accountable — it was that they weren’t held accountable despite frequent and egregious demonstrations of manifest incompetence or partisanship. We haven’t seen such equivalent idiocy from Napolitano, and calling for her head is way premature.

    Firing Napolitano would just be a highly visible response that would provide the illusion of decisive action (that “something is being done”), but ultimately serving no real purpose and solving no actual problems. In short, it would be a curious parallel to our current and dysfunctional airline security and screening policy.

  106. 106
    maus says:

    Is Sullivan operating with a different definition of accountable than I am?

    YES.

    Come on now, there’s no need for the “i’m just asking questions…” tone to this, Sully has no expectations (but a hell of a lot of tolerance) for the Republicans, but while I think that the Dems have let me down as of late, he has superhuman/unrealistic expectations of them.

    Those expectations, of course, exist to justify his neverending support for the nutball right because well, the Dems aren’t without any flaw, therefore it’s ok to conflate Obama and Bush.

  107. 107
    S. cerevisiae says:

    Well, since to many of the 28% Obama is just like Stalin they expect him to react like Stalin – purge, purge, purge.

    That worked out badly for the USSR in 1941.

  108. 108
    Max says:

    @BTD: Why are you here?

  109. 109
    N M says:

    The answer is simple – Sully just dislikes bull dyke lesbians. Lipstick only for that chap…

  110. 110
    Anne says:

    Perhaps Sully should be reminded that the bomber didn’t get on the plane in the US. This guy was traveling with a one way ticket paid for by cash and had no luggage. Didn’t anyone get suspicious???

  111. 111
    gopher2b says:

    What were the alleged misses here: (a) his dad reports him to an embassy in Nigeria (or Yemen??), (b) the British denied him a visa, (c) he bought a ticket with cash, (d) he didn’t check baggage on an international flight, (e) Amsterdam screeners failed to find the explosives.

    US has no jurisdiction over e and I doubt US officials would even know about b, c, or d.

    The U.S. embassy employees (which fall under the State Department or possibly CIA) will probably be in a heap of trouble if they failed to timely report his dad’s warnings. Otherwise, pull on that string and find out where the ball was dropped. You fire Napolitano if she fails to follow through on the investigation she should conduct in her agency and fails to hold her employees accountable. She could probably use a refresher course on public relations but that is hardly a fire worthy offense.

  112. 112

    […] Scapegoats vs. accountability Is Sullivan operating with a different definition of accountable than I am? Because his definition of “accountable” looks a helluva lot like my definition of “scapegoat.” ~ John Cole […]

  113. 113
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @BTD:

    Look. You wrote what you wrote. I’m glad you are willing to wait to see if there is something to blame anyone for before you absolve them of all blame.
    __
    But that’s not what you wrote.

    Your tunnel vision on this matter is pretty astonishing, to be honest.

  114. 114
    Mr Furious says:

    @John Cole: John, that’s two more responses than that commenter deserved. BTD’s making you look bad. There’s only one thing to do…

    Fire DougJ.

  115. 115
    slag says:

    @Mr Furious: I would have thought Anne Laurie would be on the block before DougJ was. She is a girl, after all.

  116. 116
    Martin says:

    Well, I have to say that getting a credible and detailed warning about a terrorist is an unlikely and incredibly fortunate thing. If I was Napolitano, I’d be looking at who dropped the ball between that embassy and having that name on a priority no-fly/watch list in every international airport and I’d do some firings and lots of lesser disciplinary acts.

    That call to the embassy is just about a best-case scenario to stop something like this. It was from relative in government, which is a more trustworthy source than almost any other you can find, and it was less than 2 months before the action, which is both plenty of time to act on it and not so far out to have lost credibility.

    If we can’t convert that kind of high-quality intel into stopping someone, then we’ve got a very big problem. I can let the other things go since it’s too hard for us to know the volume of passengers that fit that profile (more than we realize, is my guess). But jobs need to be lost over that one aspect of this story.

  117. 117
    Observer says:

    I emailed Sully earlier this week suggesting he organize a legal defense fund for his favorite young man, Levi. Told him I’d be happy to contribute, and I meant it.

    No response.

    Pretty much the only thing I read him for is the Iran coverage and that too is getting thin. Which just leaves medical maryjane for the masses.

  118. 118
    tomvox1 says:

    Hate to say it but Sully does pretty much nail it here:
    http://andrewsullivan.theatlan......html#more
    Just when you’re ready to dump him, he gives you a glimmer of intelligence that justifies continued attention…

  119. 119
    Morgan says:

    Is BTD Big Tent Democrat? Anyone know? His style and MO seem pretty similar.

  120. 120
    BTD says:

    @John Cole:

    Unlike Sully, I am ready to fire nobody.

    Unlike you, I am ready to absolve nobody.

    I’ll wait for the facts.

  121. 121
    BTD says:

    @slag:

    Sure. My points are best dismissed as “vanity games” as opposed to addressing what I wrote.

    That is always available as a response.

  122. 122
    Observer says:

    I miss the days when comment sections had an “Ignore poster” option.

  123. 123
    John Cole says:

    @BTD:

    Unlike Sully, I am ready to fire nobody.

    Unlike you, I am ready to absolve nobody.

    I’ll wait for the facts.

    How am I absolving her when all I am doing is pointing out there is no evidence she should be fired? Christ on a crutch. You have to be doing this intentionally. There is no possible way someone with a law degree could fail so hard at reading comprehension.

  124. 124
    danimal says:

    @Morgan: Big Tent Democrat has popped in to the BJ comments section on occasion to promote his views and tussle with Cole. I don’t always agree, but he’s been upfront with his posts in the past.

    BTD may be a wannabe.

  125. 125
    BTD says:

    @John Cole:

    I think you went through a litany of queries and answered them. I think you are premature in answering them.

    For those wondering what I am driving at, I thought a few days ago John hit it picture perfect on this. So much so that I wrote a post that was almost verbatim to what John said.

    I think you were in the right place before, withholding judgment but agreeing with the President that a failure occurred.

    We do not know why the failure occurred. I think we should withhold judgment on who did what and why and whether it was done correctly or not until then.

    It felt to me you were moving towards a position of no one did anything wrong, let’s move on.

    It seems to me that your words supported my view.

    Your latest comment is certainly clearer and I appreciate it.

    No harm intended.

  126. 126
    Jenn says:

    @Why oh why:

    Ack! Don’t forget the Awesomeness that is TNC. See, I figure he and Fallows are well worth a subscription to the Atlantic. Sully, I used to read him a lot, too, but have pretty much given up, except once the Iran protests hit during Ashura, I wandered back over to get updates, but I’m once again reducing my visits — I already know Palin’s a Know-Nothing (in both senses of the phrase), and frankly his obsession with Levi is not something I feel the need to participate in, even just by reading. His jump onto the “Fire Napolitano!” bandwagon just adds to the meh. (I do understand the thought-process behind abandoning the Atlantic because of the craziness of McArdle, but TNC and Fallows outweigh her for me; of course that is probably helped along because I try to ignore her with every fibre of my being.)

  127. 127
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @BTD:

    I think you were in the right place before, withholding judgment but agreeing with the President that a failure occurred.

    The problem you are experiencing here is that his position never really moved. At least, that is, in the real world it didn’t. I can only imagine how much Cole’s “stance” on the matter has been slipping and sliding around in your own mind.

  128. 128
    Jong says:

    A systemic failure is a failure where a system fails to perform its fucntion. In this case screeing of passengers did not prevent a dangerous person form boardng the plane. Rushing to action and changing the names on the org chart will not actually solve the problem. Becuase as far as we know the people are not the problem the system is…

  129. 129
    woody says:

    Trying to remember: Who among the catastrophic fuck-ups of the Bushevik regime did Sully demand be fired? Yoo? Heckuva-Job Brown? That ignorant, insipid, gap-toothed slattern, Condee Rice? Somebody remind me, again, why anything that Sully writes, or thinks, or says should matter a tinker’s dame…

  130. 130
    BTD says:

    @Midnight Marauder:

    Whatever. If I am wrong I am wrong. I think I am right. you think I am wrong. It happens.

    No need to get angry about a disagreement.

  131. 131

    […] say fall-guy, I say scapegoat John Cole and ED Kain cannot get their head around my call for Napolitano to be fired. It may be a cultural […]

  132. 132
    les says:

    @Martin:

    I’m with Martin. If we ban everybody with a single non-specific warning from a single individual, airport lines will be much shorter for the thirteen people allowed to fly.

  133. 133
    jamie says:

    I’m pretty sure Sullivan was completely wrong on Iraq. Mebbe it’s time for him to find a job more in line with his talents, whatever they are.

  134. 134
    jamie says:

    Oh, yeah. No one in the pundit bidness is ever held accountable for what they have to say.

  135. 135

    […] But there are the calls for her resignation. It’s just unclear what the accusation is. Former Bush-right John Cole tries to figure it out: […]

  136. 136

    […] a slightly tangential note: Are these douchebags really getting away with an obvious misquote of Napolitano?  It seems like this is a “gemme” attack against the […]

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  1. […] a slightly tangential note: Are these douchebags really getting away with an obvious misquote of Napolitano?  It seems like this is a “gemme” attack against the […]

  2. […] But there are the calls for her resignation. It’s just unclear what the accusation is. Former Bush-right John Cole tries to figure it out: […]

  3. […] say fall-guy, I say scapegoat John Cole and ED Kain cannot get their head around my call for Napolitano to be fired. It may be a cultural […]

  4. […] Scapegoats vs. accountability Is Sullivan operating with a different definition of accountable than I am? Because his definition of “accountable” looks a helluva lot like my definition of “scapegoat.” ~ John Cole […]

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