Money Quote/Instant Internet Meme: "Of course, like every other American, I think it is important to keep the president safe. But I don’t think that it is literally the only important thing, which seems to be the attitude of the Secret Service. We fetishize presidential security as if POTUS were some sort of sacred object rather than a job description."
The entire post is an exercise in petulance.
What the hell, let's take a closer look.
Apparently some lunatic with a knife and an arms cache jumped the White House fence and managed to get all the way to the front door before they caught him. And apparently some other lunatic -- this one in the Secret Service -- has proposed establishing checkpoints in the public areas around the White House in order to prevent this sort of thing from happening again.You would think that a respected "journalist" would refrain from impugning the Secret Service, who are willing to give up their lives to protect the president for the good of the country, but she doesn't have enough respect for anyone who works for Obama to do that. He passed health insurance reform and now he can die in a ditch for all she cares.
For those of you who are not familiar with the geography of Washington, it’s probably worth mentioning that the White House is smack in the middle of downtown. This is partly by design -- the city’s architect, Pierre L’Enfant, envisioned the city around the White House and the Capitol Building -- and partly because over the years, federal agencies and lobbyists have found it convenient to be located right next to the centers of power. The street in front of the White House was already closed off to vehicles during earlier rounds of security theater, making it somewhat arduous to navigate around the area. Now, thanks to some sort of mistake by the Secret Service, Washington’s pedestrians and bicyclists are supposed to take their lumps, too. When it comes to the safety of POTUS, the Secret Service considers no price too great for other people to pay.Actually, it's thanks to yet another disturbed individual who wants to kill the president. It is not unreasonable for the president to try to keep people from walking into his house, where his wife and teenage daughters live. McArdle was ready to flood DC with cops when Matthew Yglesias was mugged coming home from one of her "dinner" parties. McArdle also ignores the reason for recent security increases--the Oklahoma bombing of a federal building and some Saudis who tried to crash a plane into the White House. It's just so silly for the president to have all that security!
For example: President Barack Obama and his family like to spend the evening before Thanksgiving handing out food to the needy.1 How do I know this, you may ask, even though I do not watch the evening newscasts where this sort of event is prominently featured? Because I now live right next to the intersection of three major routes out of town: New York Avenue/Route 50, which runs east to Maryland and the Beltway and west to interstates 395 and 295; Florida Avenue, which also runs out to Maryland; and North Capitol Street, which transports Washingtonians to Union Station and office workers back to their homes in Maryland. And on the evening before Thanksgiving, when a presidential motorcade shuts down one of those major thoroughfares for half an hour or so and brings the other two to a dead halt, I get to spend several happy hours listening to the screech of horns and the Twitter wailings of taxi passengers who just missed their sold-out trains.McArdle doesn't like it when other people get in her way. She was pissed when protesters were swarmed by cops and slowed down traffic. (Of course she blamed the protesters, not the cops.) And now she's pissed that someone else got in her way. Who the hell does he think he is?
I can understand why the Secret Service might not want to risk the president getting caught in a bumper-to-bumper traffic jam, which would be a good place for terrorists to attack (though perhaps not a good place for terrorists to escape from afterward). But no one seems to have thought of the perfectly expedient and safe method of keeping him in the White House, surrounded by armed agents (who, let us remember, did catch the armed lunatic well before the presidential person was ever in danger): If it is so urgent that the president be seen distributing food as a Good Example to the Nation, why not do it at the White House, where I am given to understand that there is some pantry space and even cooking equipment? Instead, traffic gets snarled for probably hundreds of thousands of anxious people who are just trying to get home to their loved ones so that the president can have what is, essentially, a photo op.A man walked into the White House with a weapon. Does that sound very safe? Thank god, for the sake of the country and the president and his family, nobody was hurt, but to shrug it off and say, well, he was caught so what's the problem, is monumentally callous.
I'm just glad that she didn't suggest Malia and Sasha should be trained to rush any armed gunmen who try to kill their father. Maybe she's learning after all.
Of course, like every other American, I think it is important to keep the president safe.Of course, of course. Who would not? But let's not get carried away. McMegan must not be inconvenienced!
That patently insincere caveat was inserted to prove that McArdle is not saying what she is plainly and clearly saying: the president should risk assassination because McArdle had to wait in traffic. In DC.
But I don’t think that it is literally the only important thing, which seems to be the attitude of the Secret Service.::facepalm::
Can you believe that the president's secret service detail think that doing their jobs is the most important thing ever? They're just guarding the president. It's not like our entire nation was traumatized by a presidential assassination in our living history or something. McArdle should start paying a little more attention to those historical shows she likes to watch. They sometimes mention the guy, what was his name, oh yeah, John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
Her Scotch-Irish ancestors would be ashamed of her. For so many reasons.
We fetishize presidential security as if POTUS were some sort of sacred object rather than a job description.Who the hell does he think he is, making McArdle wait in traffic? Doesn't he know who she is?
And lest you think that I am pleading especially for Washingtonians -- who did, after all, decide to move to Washington, and whose jobs are probably somehow related to the presence of the federal government -- let me point out that we now export these traffic snarls and security lockdowns all over the country whenever the president goes to raise money or give a speech. Which seems to be most of the time, in the era of the permanent campaign.We managed to suffer through it in silence. McArdle should try that.
What will they do the next time someone manages to penetrate the outer ring of the presidential cordon -- strip-search everyone within a one-mile radius? The Secret Service cannot simply keep extending the perimeter and subjecting everyone else to more searches and waits every time it has a security failure ... not least because a larger perimeter is harder, not easier, to secure. It certainly can’t do so while keeping him in the middle of a big city.Nobody can do anything ever, even guard the president--if it puts out McArdle, and she is very put out.
If security really is the only imperative, then it should build a bunker in the proverbial “undisclosed location” out in the deep woods somewhere, drop the first family into it for eight years, and have him make all contact with the outside world via videoconference. But if the president wants to live in the heart of downtown, and even go out into the world occasionally, then his security agents will have to accept that the people who voted for him are out there, too. And that their lives are also important.Yes, so Megan McArdle never has to wait in traffic, the president of the United States should have to hide in a hole in the woods. Her life is important too, maybe even more important than the president!
It might seem strange for an authoritarian to put herself above the leader of the free world, but obviously McArdle does not consider Obama to be an authority figure. Getting elected President of the United States isn't enough for her, even though she said she would have voted for him. He's dead to her now, and if he's dead to everyone else because of lone gunmen, well, that's just the price he'll have to pay for inconveniencing her.
ADDED: This helps explain some of the recent problems with the Secret Service.