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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Colombian prostitutes and lavish partying in Vegas inspire hot headlines — and understandably infuriate the public. But concerned as President Obama must be over the unfolding embarrassments in the Secret Service and the General Services Administration, he may actually be comforted by the feeble attempts of a few politicians to wring political profit from those scandals. The likelihood that the White House is implicated can be measured by their stature.

When Senators like Joe Lieberman, Chuck Grassley, and Susan Collins demand that the President or his administration must be “held accountable,” it is safe to assume further investigation will discover nothing damning. Even Rep. Pete King (R-NY), the highly excitable chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, has been able to restrain himself so far.

Yet Republicans who won’t pretend that Obama is responsible for a handful of bad security agents or GSA officials will still scream that these misadventures prove “Democratic big government” is America’s biggest problem.

Initial efforts to lay blame upon the President  — who was betrayed by both the GSA director he had appointed and by the Secret Service and military personnel tasked to protect him in Cartagena – were predictable enough.  Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) suggested that Obama is somehow “responsible” for overspending on a GSA conference in Las Vegas, simply because he appointed the agency’s head (whom he promptly fired when the abuses came to his attention).  She has been in government long enough to know that the President can scarcely oversee every dollar – and while $860,000 sounds like a lot of money, it is a vanishingly small sum in a nearly $4 trillion federal budget. Grandstanding politicians like her often compare the nation’s expenditures, with false naivete, to  a household budget. For a family earning $40,000 a year,  this would represent a misallocation of far less than four cents.

As for the prostitution scandal, Senator Chuck Grassley seized upon the inevitable publicity to get a little for himself, by asking the Secret Service whether it is adequately investigating the possible involvement of White House staff members. He specifically pointed to the White House Communications Agency– which used to be called the “Signal Office” and is in fact part of the White House Military Office, not under direct control of the President or his civilian staff, as the Iowa Senator ought to know by now. Senator Lieberman, the Connecticut independent who nominally caucuses with the Senate Democrats, chimed in on Fox News with his usual sanctimony to urge that the President be “held accountable” for the Secret Service fiasco, although he couldn’t quite explain what that would mean, instead reciting the usual “buck stops at the president’s desk” pap.

Other figures in the ranks of the President’s adversaries, such as SuperPAC boss Karl Rove, have wisely urged the Republicans to refrain from politicizing either of these mini-scandals for the moment. Having worked in the White House, Rove probably knows that the President has done what he can to address them. The White House counsel’s office has already reported that none of the Presidential staff was involved in the Cartagena misconduct.

But certainly some Republicans will seek to conflate the GSA matter (and perhaps even the Secret Service scandal) with all government spending, since the Tea Party ideology that now dominates their party deems almost all government to be synonymous with “waste, fraud, and abuse.” Would they abolish the Secret Service? Probably not, since that great scourge of waste, Newt Gingrich, insists he will continue using their protection – at a cost of millions in taxpayer dollars – from now until the GOP convention in August. As for the GSA, the problem there appears to have arisen from a favorite Republican panacea that is always supposed to eliminate inefficiency: the hiring of a private contractor.

  • EdC

    Republicans have so little to be proud of, that they have to throw anything and everything up against the wall to hope and see if it sticks. They are so upset about their self invented Entitlement to rule the country isn’t in effect, that they need to do anything possible to detract from the present administration, to make themselves look good. Recently a typical Republican would screw up a one car Funeral Percession, and they couldn’t organize one to save their lives, so the have to act like wasps (sorry to the Womans Air Service Patrol) and in a cluster f— sting everything they can. It is hoped that their dyed in the wool followers will come to their sences, and vote the Present Republican leadership out, and maybe rebuild one that has at least an ounce of common sence. In the mean time I believe that the Republican Party should rename itself the Nationalist Plutocratic Party

  • EdC

    Republicans have so little to be proud of, that they have to throw anything and everything up against the wall to hope and see if it sticks. They are so upset about their self invented Entitlement to rule the country isn’t in effect, that they need to do anything possible to detract from the present administration, to make themselves look good. Recently a typical Republican would screw up a one car Funeral Percession, and they couldn’t organize one to save their lives, so the have to act like wasps (sorry to the Womans Air Service Patrol) and in a cluster f— sting everything they can. It is hoped that their dyed in the wool followers will come to their sences, and vote the Present Republican leadership out, and maybe rebuild one that has at least an ounce of common sence. In the mean time I believe that the Republican Party should rename itself the Nationalist Plutocratic Party

    • Christian Martin

      Fair enough. Just like the Democrats have become Narcisstocrats. Republicans want to mindlessly make massive cuts in many areas that would damage large sectors of the populous not to mention their failure to close the tax loopholes for high income to wealthy citizens so they at least begin paying what the rest of us have to. And let’s not forget the Narcisstocrats being too hell-bent on handouts and vast social programs to catch a clue about how finance and economics work to notice we are so far beyond bankruptcy that even the next generation is screwed. Choosing blind devotion to one party over another is going to guarantee that this cycle never ends. The government has us right where they want us……until someone wises up and brings another party or two to the forefront. Like maybe the Liberatarian party.

      • rustacus21

        We only need concern ourselves (as citizen/owners of this Democracy) of only 1 thing: which brand of legislator is better for the nation – the self-serving, greedy, accepting of their-puppet-of-the-rich roll, OR those who have a VALID, CONFIRMED record of REPRESENTING their constituents/nation, in a Constitutionally comprehensive manner? 1 party (Republican) is automatically disqualified. The other is at the mercy of the poisonous, evil money influence of which the ‘xcluded’ party has willfully, parasitically attached to our system, so no matter which way ANY politicians turns in this current age, the vile influence of money cannot be escaped from!!! That leaves it all up to voters & hopefully they have their heads on strait this year (vs. 2010). The government itself MUST B fixed B4 even thinking of adding another party to dilute the chances of candidates of a Constitutionally ‘obedient’ orientation to have a chance to fix things they way we ‘COMMAND’ that they MUST!!! 1980, 2000 are 2 examples of the potential 4 corruption represented by 3rd parties, in an already chaotic & compromised political system

  • whatisaliberal

    Hmm let’s see, if a Republican were in the White House would Mr. Conason be blaming the administration for a mess like this?
    How silly of me to even bring up hypocrisy in a forum such as National Memo.

    • you mean like they did when the Bush regime created the mess were in now?

      • whatisaliberal

        Oops, there goes that hypocrisy again.
        How is it – if a conservative talks about the ‘Obama regime’ it is inflamatory, disprectful, and somehow racist, yet referring to the Bush Presidency as a regime is ok?

    • That’s why they were fired immediately.

    • oldtack

      This is not Liberal nor Conservative, Democrat or Republican. This is Government and how it doesn’t work. I am a retired Federal Employee and my job involved a lot of traveling. We received a good daily per-diem for our food and full expense for our lodging accomodations. If we had a meeting with others involving Government policies or business that entire cost was submitted with the expense report – no questions asked. In reality – the guidelines are there and employees are expected to be honest. As evident in this instance and many many more instances – employees are not honest. They misuse and abuse the system because it is so easy to do so. The abusers need to be and should be terminated with demand for restitution and the entire expense account system completely overhauled to gain control over a system gone amok.

    • holyreality

      Secret Service malapropism during the Bush years?

      Why, yes, I remember one certain “journalist” for Talon News who got a laminate for 24/7 access, a privilege many active reporters fantasize over, but Jeff Gannon, an advertised male escort gained late night access to the White house more than once.

      NOBODY(except the Comedy Network) would give this story legs, so GWB’s “boyfriend” remained under the radar so he could toss softballs to the Prez in his rare press conferences.

    • holyreality

      Secret Service malapropism during the Bush years?

      Why, yes, I remember one certain “journalist” for Talon News who got a laminate for 24/7 access, a privilege many active reporters fantasize over, but Jeff Gannon, an advertised male escort gained late night access to the White house more than once.

      NOBODY(except the Comedy Network) would give this story legs, so GWB’s “boyfriend” remained under the radar so he could toss softballs to the Prez in his rare press conferences.

  • ObozoMustGo

    There you go again, Joe. Carrying Obozo’s water like a dutiful useful idiot. Fact is, Obozo is a scandalous president. And these scandals are worthy and just topics of discussion. The fish rots from the head, and Obozo IS the rotting head!

    Have a nice day!

    • EdC

      Hay OMG what are you smokin’ What about the 440o hundred that Bush and chaney sent to die so that Bush could be a war time president. Thats not a scandel, cause of course its republican. The only reason that history might not like like OBama is because Republicans will rewrite the history books to make it sound that way, LIKE They have done in Texas, Like they have done about MacArther, like they did about Bush Senior, It”sto bad that proven Republican lies continue to leed this countryinto oblivion.

  • ObozoMustGo

    DISTRACTIONS ……… DISTRACTIONS…………. DISTRACTIONS……

    Instead of my usual 10-point post displaying Obozo’s wild incompetence, I’ll mix it up with an excerted article from the Washington Post by Matt Patterson. Read it and weep leftist nutjobs….

    Matt Patterson (columnist – Washington Post, New York Post, San Francisco Examiner)

    Government & Society
    Years from now, historians may regard the 2008 election of Barack Obama as
    an inscrutable and disturbing phenomenon, the result of a baffling breed of
    mass hysteria akin perhaps to the witch craze of the Middle Ages.
    How, they will wonder, did a man so devoid of professional accomplishment
    beguile so many into thinking he could manage the world’s largest economy,
    direct the world’s most powerful military, execute the world’s most
    consequential job? Imagine a future historian examining Obama’s
    pre-presidential life: ushered into and through the Ivy League despite
    unremarkable grades and test scores along the way; a cushy non-job as a
    “community organizer”; a brief career as a state legislator devoid of
    legislative achievement (and in fact nearly devoid of his attention, so
    often did he vote “present”) ; and finally an unaccomplished single term in
    the United States Senate, the entirety of which was devoted to his presidential ambitions.

    He left no academic legacy in academia, authored no signature legislation
    as a legislator. And then there is the matter of his troubling
    associations: the white-hating, America-loathing preacher who for decades
    served as Obama’s “spiritual mentor”; a real-life, actual terrorist who
    served as Obama’s colleague and political sponsor. It is easy to imagine a future
    historian looking at it all and asking: how on Earth was such a man elected president?

    Not content to wait for history, the incomparable Norman Podhoretz
    addressed the question recently in the Wall Street Journal: To be sure, no
    white candidate who had close associations with an outspoken hater of
    America like Jeremiah Wright and an unrepentant terrorist like Bill Ayers,
    would have lasted a single day. But because Mr. Obama was black, and
    therefore entitled in the eyes of liberaldom to have hung out with
    protesters against various American injustices, even if they were a bit
    extreme, he was given a pass. Let that sink in: Obama was given a pass –
    held to a lower standard – because of the color of his skin.
    Podhoretz continues: And in any case, what did such ancient history matter
    when he was also so articulate and elegant and (as he himself had said)
    “non-threatening,” all of which gave him a fighting chance to become the
    first black president and thereby to lay the curse of racism to rest?

    Podhoretz puts his finger, I think, on the animating pulse of the Obama
    phenomenon -affirmative action. Not in the legal sense, of course. But
    certainly in the motivating sentiment behind all affirmative action laws
    and regulations, which are designed primarily to make white people, and
    especially white liberals, feel good about themselves.

    Unfortunately, minorities often suffer so that whites can pat themselves
    on the back. Liberals routinely admit minorities to schools for which they
    are not qualified, yet take no responsibility for the inevitable poor
    performance and high drop-out rates which follow. Liberals don’t care if
    these minority students fail; liberals aren’t around to witness the
    emotional devastation and deflated self esteem resulting from the racist
    policy that is affirmative action. Yes, racist. Holding someone to a
    separate standard merely because of the color of his skin – that’s
    affirmative action in a nutshell, and if that isn’t racism, then nothing is.

    And that is what America did to Obama. True, Obama himself was never
    troubled by his lack of achievements, but why would he be? As many have
    noted, Obama was told he was good enough for Columbia despite
    undistinguished grades at Occidental; he was told he was good enough for
    the US Senate despite a mediocre record in Illinois ; he was told he was
    ood enough to be president despite no record at all in the Senate. All his
    life, every step of the way, Obama was told he was good enough for the next
    step, in spite of ample evidence to the contrary.

    What could this breed if not the sort of empty narcissism on display every
    time Obama speaks? In 2008, many who agreed that he lacked executive
    qualifications nonetheless raved about Obama’s oratory skills, intellect,
    and cool character. Those people – conservatives included – ought now to be
    deeply embarrassed.

    The man thinks and speaks in the hoariest of cliches, and that’s when he
    has his teleprompter in front of him; when the prompter is absent he can
    barely think or speak at all.

    Not one original idea has ever issued from his mouth – it’s all warmed-over Marxism
    of the kind that has failed over and over again for 100 years.

    And what about his character? Obama is constantly blaming anything and everything
    else for his troubles. Bush did it; it was bad luck; I inherited this mess.
    It is embarrassing to see a president so willing to advertise his own powerlessness,
    so comfortable with his own incompetence.

    But really, what were we to expect? The man has never been responsible for anything,
    so how do we expect him to act responsibly?

    In short: our president is a small and small-minded man, with neither the temperament
    nor the intellect to handle his job.

    When you understand that, and only when you understand that, will the current erosion of liberty
    and prosperity make sense. It could not have gone otherwise with such a man in the Oval Office.

    • whatisaliberal

      Hey OMG, do us a favor and delete one or the other of these posts. You’re acting like a liberal – taking twice the space to say the same thing! 🙂

      • whatisaliberal

        Thank you or never mind. Now only one of the posts is showing. Now one of earlier posts is showing twice what’s up with this site anyway?!!

        • ObozoMustGo

          Ahh… just got this one. Misinterpreted your last post. Yes, now and again this site double posts a posting. I dont know why. I dont do it, it just happens. It usually seems to correct though.

      • ObozoMustGo

        What up whatis? The 2nd post was just a re-print of an article from the Wash Post. It’s actually a very objective summary of Obozo the Incompetent! That’s why I put it here.

        • mnhistoryfan

          Go to Snopes and see what it says. What it says is that it is unlikely that the Post would publish an article like this, and they checked and found nothing that indicated a “Matt Patterson” ever wrote anything for the Post.
          Someone did find he once wrote a letter to the editor.
          Once again, there is no there there. No facts. Just fantasies.

    • mnhistoryfan

      The ombudsman at the Washington Post, Patrick Pexton, had this to say about the claim that “Matt Patterson” works at the Washington Post. He writes that he’s gotten a lot of emails like this: “does Matt Patterson work at The Washington Post” and asking if he wrote an anti-Obama satirical screed for The Post that is making the rounds of the Internet. The answer is, no, he doesn’t and he didn’t. This is not the first time I’ve received a round of e-mails about some anti-Obama rant allegedly written by someone from The Post.
      The mysterious Matt Patterson might be the Matt Patterson who contributes to the Examiner newspaper here in D.C. and who works for the conservative Capital Research Center. His work has appeared in The Post, but not this work.

      His article starts with the old saw, “Historians will look back in awe at…” In this case they’ll wonder if the election of Obama was “a baffling breed of mass hysteria akin perhaps to the witch craze of the Middle Ages.”

      I always thought the witch craze was in Salem, Mass. Never mind.

      The last one of these that made the rounds was an anti-Obama piece supposedly by a nonexistent Post reporter by the name of Dale Lindsborg about why the president never puts his hand on his heart when the national anthem plays and why he doesn’t wear the flag lapel pin. This, too, was fiction, debunked by several urban legend sit.
      So much for an “objective” commentator.

  • jebediah123

    Who exactly is this “Obozo Must Go” freak?? One thing I have learned—people who scream from the sidelines never come up with a good play themselves. If “Obozo” has all the answers, why doesn’t he run for some political office? My bet is, he wouldn’t even make a good alderman.

    • ObozoMustGo

      hey jeb… it is I, ObozoMustGo here! I suppose you mean others who have opposing views are just “screaming from the sidelines” huh? Go get job and quit mooching off the taxpayers you leftist nutjob moron!

      Have a nice day!

    • metrognome3830

      Obozo must be ignored. I predict he will respond with some lame comment about leftists are morons who don’t have jobs and just want to live off Obozo’s tax money. We, of course, have no idea if Obozo has a job, if he himself is a moron or a right wing troll. But I think there are several good clues.

  • whatisaliberal

    Another point …
    You state “and while $860,000 sounds like a lot of money, it is a vanishingly small sum in a nearly $4 trillion federal budget.” That in itself is part of the problem. Government spending has gotten so out of control that nearly $1Million dollars isn’t worthy of concern.
    Hey a million here, a billion there, it’s only money and it’s not even mine!

  • howa4x

    Of course they will. they have nothing else to say to the voters. What are they going to do, tell them how the Ryan budget will take away Pell grants for college or cut feeding programs for low income kids, while giving yet another tax break to billionairs. Do you think they will say that with a straight face?

  • Of course they will. This is a real treat for them to find some corruption in this administration. Still a few random Secret Service employees does not make an entire administration. The whole story is not available to the public and this could be one big set up compliments of the GOP. I could see them sending in a few hookers to shake down the Secret Service Agents for money, make a scene and a few reporters get a story. You are talking about a third world country where people will do just about anything for money.

    • whatisaliberal

      C O N S P I R A C Y … and I thought liberals labeled right-wingers as conspiracy nuts. I guess it take one to know one?

    • Diogenes67

      Every Columbian hooker who can afford the airfare will he hanging around the Republican National Convention. Good times for the GOP.

  • How many of the agents who were fired were hired by Bush ?

  • I will be glad to see leiberman go He has always been a turn coat .Did the sun rise today? NO! Well that is President Obamas fault . Also anything the republicans do wrong They will try to blame the President . I believe karl rove started THE PASS THE BUCK Policy. If we can divert the people they wont remember who said what AND God Help us he is right

  • ChristoD

    The Greed Over People party will stop at nothing to denigrate the President. This will be another exercize in wasting the peoples money.

  • They better be careful, because blaming the President for this will open the door for Democrats to remind everyone about the handling of Katrina in New Orleans and the role of a recent Republican President in what happen there. The Republicans love sex scandals and it is one of the things their base seem to really react to. This is all about Politics to Republicans not what actually happened. Just like the public’s reaction to the Republicans’ response to President Clinton ‘sex scandal” most people will grow tired of it and it will not hurt President Obama except with the people who would not vote for him anyway.

  • rustacus21

    This is an accountability matter, tru enuff, but to consider where all this is coming from – the previous Conservative administration; it’s clear Y the level of incompetence & absolutely unprofessional & stupid behavior of the agents is in question & YES, Sullivan, as well as Edward DeMarco (overseeing the mortgage/foreclosure catastrophe conceived ALSO by the last admin) & a host of other hold-overs from the previous administration should have been GONE on 1/21/09!!! This is what the furor has been about – the utter disrespect for women & non-Whites in our society, culminating in THIS incident of bringing HOOKERS into the same hotel where the President would be STAYING?! It is, however, the culture that carried over from the most corrupt, inept, lazy & incompetent administration EVER to disgrace the office of the President!!! No wonder Conservative are so adament in their disdain for President Obama – they want to keep attention OFF the last administration, giving them cover, so the nation won’t ask the REALLY pointed questions as to why the Supreme Court-appointed, ole-boys-network decision, allowed an administration 2 intentionally CRASH a perfectly good & prosperous economy, started 2 wars in place of already established world peace & declared war on American citizens – a war that has yet to cease, as policies from the last administration are still in place!!! Only a complete overhaul could have gotten & kept the nation from remaining stagnant, when progress & advancement opportunities abounded – if NOT 4 Republican & Conservative OPPOSITION. & for those Americans critical of this President, FORCE HIS HAND!!! Elect ALL the Progressives & Liberals running this fall so there are NO MORE EXCUSES!!! W/majorities in both houses, we, as a nation, can even fight back – IN 4 SHORT YEARS, against the poisonous, vile, despicable money influence we ALL see is destroying our Democracy, but are 2 ignorant to do anything about!!! The choice is either to stand tall as PROUD, ENGAGED Americans, having saved an entire planet, or lay, sniveling on our knees in FEAR, over what to do, when the Constitution is ALL the guidance & instruction we NEED!!!!!!!

  • rustacus21

    … which is THE key question!!! Rite from the top, w/Sullivan, the rot begins!!! He should be SOOOOO GONE!!! It’s too bad I’m not President!!! Me & Conservative legislators would have had a private conversation as soon as they started that racist crap & we’d have had a knock-down, drag-out, for the press to ‘HEAR’, NOT SEE, w/NONE OF THEM WALKING OUT til we got it understood who IS BOSS!!! If they have aspirations of being there, I’d tell them to wait their turn & do as their TOLD – BY we citizens. But as we see, Conservatives have an agenda all their own, from sabotaging the economy to embarrassing the President in front of the entire civilized world…

  • rustacus21

    … & isn’t it about time some 1 remind SOMEBODY, other than on-line & in conversations among the more SANE of the American population (who can STILL carry on coherent, adult conversation!!!), that Conservatives are only good at what they did between 2001-2009. I’d recite it ALL again, but there’s no space or time here…

  • rustacus21

    Well, shoes only FIT on certain feet, is that true? It wasn’t until Nixon, Reagan, & Bushbush that Americans were at each others throats & the world hated us for our imperialistic, lunatic policies. U answer the question then: was the actions of the previous administration, overall, closer to policies resembling Democracy or authoritarian dictatorship? 9/11 doesn’t count, b/c the previous administration REMOVED all the tools necessary to prevent it, by dismantling the EXPERT anti-terrorist team coordinated by Vice President Gore & under the GUIDANCE of President Clinton. B4 U answer tho, U may want to read Richard Clarke’s ‘Against “ALL” Enemies’ – the truest observation YET, of the peace B4 the chaotic 8 years we would suffer thru. The Democratic Congress Conservatives like to refer 2, they, like we, the American citizenry, we LIED TO AS WELL!!! We ALL we had & made fools of!!! We have no excuse, however, now that we can see IT & know it as the TRUTH –

  • rustacus21

    “WE” are the government! If it doesn’t work, it’s our fault. We’re the voters who put them in office. Now, the question is, who’s working “FOR” & who’s working “AGAINST” the WILL of the American people? Answering this will help the ENTIRE nation know what needs to B done in November…

  • rustacus21

    “WE” are the government! If it doesn’t work, it’s our fault. We’re the voters who put them in office. Now, the question is, who’s working “FOR” & who’s working “AGAINST” the WILL of the American people? Answering this will help the ENTIRE nation know what needs to B done in November…

  • rustacus21

    Yeah, the ‘bozo’ must definately B xcused; he’s suffering SERIOUS PTSD, as well as some sort of substance abuse issues – so its up to us to help him along as best we can. These are issues that would test even a SANE man!!! U can imagine what it would do 2 a ‘true believer’ who was taken advantage of. Let us ALL Pray 4 him… & ALL America’s Conservatives…

  • rustacus21

    Its called PTSD & the entire nation was suffering from it! Some of us – those of us who KNEW what would happen EVEN B4 it HAPPENED, were able to weather it best (aside from the job & home & mobility losses). But at that moment, there was a spirit of collective recovery, just long enuff to vote in a large enuff margin to overcome the systematic corruption still plaguing the electoral system (e-voting machines specifically). But U skipped an administration! The 2001-2009 administration comes successively BEFORE 2009-2016. The story hasn’t been completed yet, so lets be patient, since this President has YET to even enact policies he’s been thus far denied. Let’s give him the Liberal/Progressive Congressional majority he needs so we can see able, competent, unconflicted government in action. It won’t be xactly Bill Clinton, but w/even his help, it’ll be as close as we hope to come 2 it…

  • rustacus21

    Objective?!!? Delving into ‘fantasy’ & reporting from ‘fictional’ accounts of things which never happened?! Well, Conservatives say they understand Democracy also. We see how that’s working out 4 the American people… Oh, the 99% of the American people, that is. My mistake…

  • They (the GOP) exploited the GWBush pitfalls specially the onerous (and stupid) wars to blame Obama’s rescue plans. They are ready to risk the future of U.S. with their cuts and impossible to follow programs focused on stopping any support to struggling workers.

  • Christian Martin

    Our nation is in serious trouble and both parties are to blame. Part of the reason we are near economic collapse is because we only have two parties to choose from. This encourages corruption on a scale that is second only to a singular dictatorship. Both parties bought,paid for,and owned by wealthy,big-business campaign contributors,the federal reserve banks,and investment firms like Goldman-Sachs. Neither party could do a damned thing about it even if they wanted to.

  • dljones

    If this were your back, you would be singing a different tune.