Wednesday, April 18, 2012

God's Gift To Our Moral Scolds

President Obama's trip to Colombia was not his most successful foreign venture. Our southern neighbors have been, for years, far less tolerant and indulgent of the assumption of American pre-eminence. The inclusion of Cuba, while certainly long overdue, has caused consternation even among some who might otherwise support the President.

Worst of all, those whose job is to protect the life of the President have been caught in a still-evolving scandal involving Colombian prostitutes.

I have one of those urges to go to DC and smack these people upside the head. Do they honestly believe it is possible for folks in their position to get away with stuff like this? Displaying less common sense than my ten-year-old daughter, they got caught in a prostitution scandal; they got caught in a prostitution scandal in a country that has been, for more than a generation, the flash-point for drug production. Plagued by cross-currents of violence from narco-terrorists, indigenous rebels of varying ideological stripes, and state terrorism, Colombia is a country where the potential for honey traps such as this should be obvious. If it weren't bad enough these agents were off carousing with hookers, they were doing it in a country where the agents had to be aware such behavior would become potential fodder for exploitation by unfriendly groups.

Even more trying to our tired souls than the matters of the safety of the President and senior officials whose protection detail apparently leave thought and sense behind are the lectures that are starting to dribble in from our National Sunday School Teachers.
I realize that some party poopers will not share my delight at the Secret Service becoming a double entendre. But at the very least, this scandal, like the General Services Administration’s spending spree in Las Vegas, should serve to refute claims that the federal workforce is out of touch with ordinary Americans. As it turns out, some federal workers reflect our culture all too well.

Maybe we should stop blaming the feds for being like the rest of us — it’s hardly surprising that bad actors and buffoons find their way into the public sector as well as the private — and think of other lessons to draw from the scandal, such as possible recruitment tools: Work for the government and get a complimentary upgrade to a hot-tub suite? Join the Secret Service and be a playuh at the Pleyclub? Surely the GSA, a sleepy backwater of the government responsible for property, would raise its profile if it changed its name to the Garish Soiree Administration or the Grandiose Shindig Agency.
For crying out loud, a person would think no one in the history of the Universe had ever been caught being naughty. You'd think no country had its infamous individuals who specialized in debauching themselves. Isn't it bad enough we have to listen to moral scold clicking their tongues over the Lohans-Hiltons-Kardashians-Jersey Shore cast-Britneys of the world? Now, we have these antics raised as emblematic of some kind of unique American decadence, in whose footsteps members of the Secret Service are supposedly following?

My problem with this isn't "OMG, HOOKERS!!!!!" The display of a lack of any common sense among those who are supposed to protect the lives of our highest officials is outrageous. Is this lack of common sense some form of unique American culture? I would certainly hope not; I would not like our country known worldwide as the place where people lose all sense of perspective and priority at the drop of a thong.

None of this is to suggest that I approve of the antics of folks known far more for their penchant for going out in public without underwear than any positive achievement. Nor do I think paying prostitutes is the best way to spend one's hard-earned money. I am saying that these matters, which seem to be filling Millbank with the kind of moral superiority one would expect from members of the Anti-Saloon League, are not what trouble me the most.

The lives and safety of our highest officials are in the hands of people who seem to have no sense whatsoever. I admire the willingness to take a job where the most basic duty may well include sacrificing one's life for someone else. With such a job, obviously, comes a high level of stress that can display itself in excessive bouts of revelry when off duty. When accompanying the President in a foreign country, however, wouldn't one think "off-duty" didn't exist? Even more than OMGHOOKERSSEXSTRIPPERS!!!!!!, I am outraged by the idiocy and lack of thought on display here. Except, alas, the reality of OMGHOOKERSSEXSTRIPPERS!!!! is just too enticing for people to ignore, so now we are going to have to put up with all sorts of morality lectures from people like Dana Millbank.

Thanks a lot, Secret Service.

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