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Friday, July 1, 2011

No Offense, Everyone: But Who the Fuck is Leon Panetta?

I've got to lob some disclaimers into your eye before getting to the meat and bacon-wrapped scallops of this blog post: normally, I don't give a shittit about politics. I didn't vote in any election until 2008, because I didn't care and, frankly, I kind of still don't. Basically, I was guilted into registering and voting by my white, socially-conscious Jewish wife and my white, socially-conscious Jewish (Facebook) friends. I think politics is a game and a sham and a mess and a bore and something people talk about to sound intelligent.

But we all know that won't happen to me.

Ever since I was hired as an EMT in 2005, I would listen to NPR on my unfortunately long commute to my ambulance company's base. I was able to get more than my fair share of the news of the world in that time, and I was actually glad to have the opportunity to be alone in my car with the radio and the important events of the day being recited to me by staid-sounding men and hyper-nasal women most likely sporting short haircuts and funky glasses.

After I left the ambulance business, I worked 0.03 miles away from my house and frequently walked to work. Without the constant input of news every morning, I regressed, re-started sucking my thumb, wetting my pants, and beginning sentences with "Me want". Fortunately, this didn't last as, in August, I got hired by the psych hospital and the commute is, once again, around 40 minutes. So I've got my NPR and my culture and my information back again.

And it seems like, every time I turn the radio on, this fucking guy Leon Panetta is doing a new job in the federal government. And that's great. I guess. But it got me thinking: who the fuck is this guy anyway?

According to Wikipedia, he's a "politician, lawyer, and professor" and I'm like, okay, that probably describes 87% of the residents of the Washington, D.C. Metro area. Fine.

But let's take a look at some of the jobs this cat's held in the United States government:

1977-1993: Member, U. S. House of Representatives

1994-1997: White House Chief-of-Staff for President Clinton

So, okay. Let's look at that for a moment. You serve as a faithful, if somewhat lowly Representative for sixteen years-- that's good. That shows some staying power. That shows you're probably decent in your job, or that, at least, you're not awful enough to cause a fuss and you probably don't go fucking interns to create scandal. So then you go to work for someone who does just that. You go from Representative to White House Chief-of-Staff. That kind of seems like a pretty big leap, but... okay. I buy it.


You go from Chief-of-Staff to:

C.I.A. Director - January, 2009

That doesn't give anybody pause? This is someone with, as far as I know, no law enforcement background. No background in intelligence or investigation. It's like... was his name picked out of a sombrero while the White House power-brokers were drunk on sangria, dancing around the Oval Office naked and tonguing each other?

I hate to trivialize politics, but...

So, he becomes C.I.A. Director. Not only was he confirmed: he was confirmed and installed the. next. day. Maybe they all know something I don't. And then Osama bin Laden gets killed, so we can all pretend Panetta had something to do with that, which he probably didn't, but that's okay. And now, because he did such a bang-up job in the C.I.A. from January, 2009 until the present, he's being given another ultra high-level job with the Feds:

You guessed it, boys-n-girls: on June 21st, Leon Panetta was unanimously confirmed as the next Secretary of Defense-- swearing in to take place today.

Secretary of Defense? ...Why? What, exactly qualifies someone to be the Chief-of-Staff? Or the head of the C.I.A.? Or the Secretary of Defense? And what is it that necessarily qualifies the same goddamned person to do all three? It's amazing, and somewhat unbelievable to me, to believe that this guy is the federal government renaissance man of the 21st century and is somehow seemingly capable of just slipping into whatever top-level position the White House says he's qualified for, like he's slipping on a blazer from Brooks Brothers. I mean, I know looks aren't everything, but, he looks like an allergist.

When Panetta was tapped for the C.I.A. Director position, my delicious eyebrows weren't the only ones that went askew. Senator Dianne Feinstein wasn't happy about it, for one. Washington Post writer David Ignatius made the argument that Panetta was qualified because "he sat in on the daily intelligence briefings as Chief-of-Staff". And I have to say that this argument is absurd. I sit in on treatment team meetings every day with psychiatrists. Does that mean that I can start prescribing Lithium and Xanax to every twitchy motherfucker I see on the street? Come on, Ignatius. Have some Seroquel.

Hey, maybe I'm just being a crotch. After all, it may be that the Secretary of Defense gig is the job Panetta's most qualified for. After all, he does have military experience. He holds the rank of First Lieutenant and was honorably discharged from the United States Army.

In 1966.

1 comment:

  1. His major sponsor has been the Monterey's Cannery Row Co. headed by a 33rd degree mason which is interesting.. He is closely associated with Santa Clara University's Jesuit community. Somewhat of a paradox one would think..


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