Jeh Johnson has emerged as a favorite to become the secretary of defense.
This could be a most intriguing choice, not so much for the job he could get, but for the job he would abandon.
Johnson is the current secretary of homeland security. He’s a sharp lawyer and a former Air Force general counsel, which is a civilian post. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has submitted his resignation but will stay on until the new defense boss is confirmed by the Senate.
The Senate confirmed Johnson as homeland security secretary in a 78-16 vote and he figures to be confirmed for this new post.
Ah, but what about the homeland security job?
This might cause some serious headaches for President Obama.
The Department of Homeland Security is the lead Cabinet agency on this immigration matter, which Obama inflamed with his executive order the other day that delays the deportation for 5 million illegal immigrants. Senate Republicans — who’ll take control of the Senate in January — might see this as their chance to stick it to the president. They could block whoever the president picks to lead the Homeland Security Department.
It could get tough, bloody, nasty — which well could be the norm for the remainder of Barack Obama’s presidency.
As I’ve said repeatedly, the president deserves to populate the Cabinet with people with whom he feels comfortable. Jeh Johnson is qualified to be the next defense secretary. Barack Obama will find an equally qualified individual to protect the homeland.
It won’t matter to those who are angry over the president’s legal and constitutional executive order on immigration.