Well, great, that’s just great. Who the hell is going to man the dial on the Fear-o-meter now?
Tom Ridge, who politely waited after the sting of the previous litany of Junior’s cabinet resignations subsided a little, is now gone, too. He says he wants to spend more time watching his son play rugby.
I can relate. If faced with the choice, I would probably rather watch my beloved, fragile offspring bite off his tongue trying to drag a slab of pigskin across a chalk line than fall asleep every night with the knowledge that if some deluded zealot blows himself into chuck in a Wal-Mart someplace, I’m going to wake up to three hundred million freaked out Americans who want answers from ME. There were six orange alerts under Ridge’s watch, and not a single terrorist attack on our soil. If I were him, I’d cash in my chips, too.
Unlike Junior, Ridge is not as dumb as he seems on television. He's self-made, well-educated, and he's been a dutiful and fairly capable public servant. And unlike John "Moses" Ashcroft, at least his parting words were modest and measured:
“I am confident that the terrorists are aware that from the curb to the cockpit we’ve got additional security measures that didn’t exist a couple years ago, that from port to port we do things differently with maritime security. I am confident they know the borders are more secure. I am confident they know we have developed and are sharing information with state and local law enforcement.”
I am confident they know that stuff, too, but that doesn't necessarily make me feel safe. And unfortunately, what history will probably remember about Ridge is the politically timely manner in which changes to the terror alert level were announced. Most recently, for example, the alert level dropped the day after Ashcroft issued his preposterous statement that “the objective of securing the American people from crime and terror has been achieved," as if to throw the delusional old man a bone.
Nonetheless, in this administration full of howling incompetents, Ridge shone in his mediocrity. He might, sort of, like, be missed. Kind of.