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Hookers, Clowns and “Government Run Amok”: But For The Rest Of The Story

By any objective measurement of newsprint or bandwidth devoted to the topic, the dominant “news” story of this week is the scandal involving Secret Service agents hiring hookers while advancing a presidential trip to Colombia. It seemed at first that the preoccupation with this small, sordid drama was just another example of the tabloidization of the MSM, and would disappear from the national radar screen the minute some entertainment celebrity did something even dumber.

But lo and behold, it seems that the conservative media apparatus is huffing and puffing to blow this up into a meaningful moment in the presidential campaign. At the tip of the spear, naturally, is Sarah Palin, who has exploited the fact that one of the agents in the case was assigned to her protection in 2008 and has allowed as how he “checked her out.” Since she’s now part of “the story,” she has zero inhibitions about explaining to Americans why this is another talking point in the case for firing Barack Obama:

“Well, this agent who was kind of ridiculous there in posting pictures and comments about checking someone out,” Palin told Greta van Susteren on her FOX News program. “Well check this out, bodyguard — you’re fired. And I hope his wife sends him to the doghouse. As long as he’s not eating the dog, along with his former boss. Greta, you know, a lot of people will just, I guess say that this is boys being boys. And boys will be boys, but they shouldn’t be in positions of authority.

“It’s a symptom of government run amok, though, Greta,” Palin said on the Thursday broadcast of “On the Record” on FOX News. “Who is minding the store here? And when it comes to this particular issue of Secret Service, again, playing with the taxpayer’s dime and playing with prostitutes and checking out those whom they are guarding….”

“The president, the CEO of this operation called our federal government, has got to start cracking down on these agencies. He is the head of the administrative branch and all of these different departments in the administration that now people are seeing things that are so amiss within these departments. The buck stops with the president. And he’s really got to start cracking down and seeing some heads roll. He has to get rid of these people at the head of these agencies where so many things, obviously, are amiss,” she said.

Palin is apparently alluding, as many other hostile commentators have done in connection with the Secret Service brouhaha, to the other Lite Scandal in the news recently, the GSA conference in Las Vegas that involved clowns, fortune tellers, a rap video and other wasteful expenditures. As it happens, of course, heads did roll at GSA, whose top three officials were fired or quit very soon after the Vegas extravaganza came to light. Heads appear to be rolling at the Secret Service as well; indeed, the dude who “checked out” Sarah Palin is no longer employed, and it’s certain some of his superiors will soon be cleaning out their desks as well.

What Palin and others like her have in mind is something very different: “cracking down” on “government run amok” in the form of the Affordable Care Act, the Violence Against Women Act, the Medicaid program, the food stamp program, and all sorts of public policies, services and investments that have zero to do with GSA, the Secret Service, or with clowns and hookers. It’s a “story-line” run amok, and even Sarah Palin knows enough about government to understand that.

 

By: Ed Kilgore, Washington Monthly Political Animal, April 20, 2012

April 21, 2012 Posted by | Election 2012 | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“They Do It Because We Don’t Stop Them”: Disrespect For The President And The Office Of The Presidency

My favorite song is “Respect” by Aretha Franklin. And many will tell you, respect is earned. But in some cases, it’s a given. Example? The office of the president of the United States of America. You might not like or respect the man, but you’ve got to respect the office. This is a concept many Americans agree on, even if they disagree ideologically.

Although I’m not that old a broad yet, I am seeing a growing number of Americans disrespect not only the man in the Oval Office, but the office of the president. It seems the older I get, the less respect Americans have for our commander in chief. And I wonder why that is.

One possibility is we as a nation do not hold persons who are disrespectful toward a president accountable for their actions.

This week alone we have seen two examples of great disrespect for our president and the office he holds. And where is the outrage?

1. Secret Service agents allegedly being “serviced’ by prostitutes: On a flight from New York to Los Angeles, I recently read a story by a former Secret Service agent for the late President John F. Kennedy. He never forgave himself for being close to the president, yet not close enough to stop the shooting of the president (to take a bullet for him) when JFK was shot in Dallas. Still, to this day, it haunts him. He respected both the president and the first lady. He took his job seriously, and his job was to protect the president. He not only respected the man and the office, he respected his own position, his duty, and his country. The recent reported behavior by the 11 Secret Service agents makes me wonder, if they could be so disrespectful to those women, to another country, and to our own country and the positions they hold, how could they protect our president? And what disrespect to that man, the office, and our country. How times have changed. 

2. Ted Nugent and his violent rhetoric: At a recent National Rifle Association convention, these words were uttered by Ted Nugent: “I’ll tell you this right now: If Barack Obama becomes the president in November, again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year.” And: “We need to ride into that battlefield and chop their heads off in November. Any questions?” And further, Nugent warned listeners that if they did not “get everybody in your lives to clean house in this vile, evil, America-hating administration, I don’t even know what you’re made out of.” He added: “If the coyote’s in your living room, pissing on your couch, it’s not the coyote’s fault. It’s your fault for not shooting him.” He also denounced the administration as “criminals” and said a Democratic victory in November would mean “we’ll be a suburb of Indonesia next year”—an apparent reference to President Obama’s boyhood time there.

Now the Secret Service is speaking to him about “what he meant” when he said he would be dead or in jail; I’m more concerned with what he meant when he said he wanted the National Rifle Association members to “chop their heads off in November.”

Some will say this is just Nugent being a loudmouth, he isn’t really threatening the president. Perhaps that is true, but what about the idiot who will follow Nugent’s words and make a true threat or attempt to carry out such violent rhetoric? Have we learned nothing from the shooting of Rep. Gabby Giffords?! When will the use of such language stop?! And the disrespect!

Why is it OK to speak so disrespectfully about a Democratic president, but if the same were said about a Republican, it would be consider unpatriotic or perhaps even treason?

Although I might anger many of you with what I’m about to write, I truly, truly believe it in my heart. I feel that the Secret Service and Ted Nugent, consciously or otherwise, feel it is OK to disrespect the president because of his skin color.

No other president’s birth right has been questioned. No other president has been portrayed as a monkey on a porch, mimicking a terrible, terrible racial slur. No other president has been portrayed physically on a billboard as Hitler—more than once. Shall I go on?

The bottom line? Threatening anyone’s life is wrong, whether Democrat or Republican, and especially our commander in chief. Respect the office. Hold those accountable who use such violent rhetoric; they do it because we don’t’ stop them. And if you disagree with someone, don’t threaten to shoot them. I disagree with my husband all the time, and he is very, very much alive.

 

By: Leslie Marshall, U. S. News and World Report, April 18, 2012

April 19, 2012 Posted by | Democracy | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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