Homeland security appears to be a work in progress for the Obama administration, compounded by hand-wringing and dithering: What about the rights of terrorists, what about the proper protocols for airline passenger screening?
The proverbial big stick may be in vogue among the citizenry, however. A Zogby International poll released Friday reveals that the nation favors some muscle when it comes to homeland security: 54 percent of Americans support "ethnic and religious profiling" when it comes to preventing a terrorist attack, while 71 percent favor full body scans at the airport. And three-fourths of the respondents agree there is "too much political correctness in the discussion of terrorism."
And while President Obama did not include homeland and other national security spending in his proposed spending freeze, another decision made a year ago troubles some observers. In February 2009, the Obama administration downgraded the Homeland Security Council, absorbing it into the National Security Council, points out Tevi Troy, a fellow at the Hudson Institute and former deputy secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services during the George W. Bush administration.
Former Homeland Security director Tom Ridge is not keen on the idea either, telling Congress last year that this merger "would diminish and potentially damage" the council.
"Trying to reinvent the wheel is an old trick in politics, especially with new administrations," Mr. Troy tells Inside the Beltway. "President Obama sold himself, more than any other one thing, as not Bush - remember all the talk of 'change.' But effectiveness should trump ideology. Things that worked under Bush - like our homeland security approach - should not change, just because a new regime is in charge."