There was a great skit on Saturday Night Live in the early 90’s called “Ruining it for Everyone” that just seems politically apropos this week. The hostess (played by Julia Sweeny) interviews people who we’ve never heard of, but their stupid behavior “ruined it for everyone else.” Phil Hartman plays the first guy who ‘accidentally” put razorblades in kid’s candy screwing up Halloween for everybody. John Malcovich plays the first hitch-hiker to randomly kill someone ruining hitchhiking forever. And Adam Sandler plays the first guy to just whizz all over a restaurant bathroom leading to the universal “bathrooms are for customers only” signs.
SNL needs to bring this skit back in honor of the Secret Service agent who got busted with a prostitute down in Columbia – because trust me, that single solitary act of depraved stupidity is going to cost everyone, politically, financially and professionally.
In case you have missed every late night stand-up comedian for the last week and been avoiding the news at all costs the biggest scandal to rock the White House is the Secret Service Scandal (already trending on Google) that took place during the Summit of the America’s conference in Columbia. As we are now learning, upwards of 20 local women and more than 20 secret service agents, plus military service members, were involved in some non-security-friendly partying just days before Obama was to arrive in Cartagena, Columbia for a major meeting of world leaders.
When morning came and it was time to clean up for POTUS, I’m sure Secret Service agents were running around scouring the walls and cleaning toilets like some 80’s movie teens who just found out Mom and Dad are coming back from vacation 3 days early. Unfortunately, they weren’t dealing with Rebecca DeMorney and one of the local prostitutes who’d been brought in to party with the agents refused to leave the hotel until she got paid her remaining $36.00. When her fuss got public, hotel officials made some calls, Washington got involved and last Thursday 10 agents were recalled to the U.S. and suspended – and everyone else’s professional career is on the line. Of course, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Needless to say the Obama administration is furious. Between this and the Salahis crashing a party a few years ago you have to wonder just how competent the president’s security team really is. On top of that, the Romney camp is using this scandal as a political cudgel to go after Obama and his coddling of those evil lazy overpaid government employees.
It is interesting to note, however, that even though Romney says he’d “clean house” at the Secret Service, he went out of his way to praise Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan. I guess Mittens realized that it might be a good idea to stay on good terms with the guy who’s responsible for protecting your family during the campaign.
What this all boils down to, however, is whoever this mystery agent was who had the run-in with the prostitute. If he had just paid the woman and kept it moving none of this would’ve happened and thousands of government business trips wouldn’t be on the chopping block. And I can’t help but consider this: He hired a prostitute in a third world country. There’s no safe sex laws, no vice-cops, no sex activists – sex workers in third world countries are about as low on the social pecking order as you can get. And she got mad because he stiffed her $36.00? What kind of freaky-ish was this guy into that a prostitute in a third world country demanded every last cent for her services? One U.S. dollar equals 1776 pesos (I checked!) so a couple of bucks probably would’ve been more than this woman pulled down in months. The fact that she was holding out for the whole she-bang tells you that whatever Agent Smith got that night was not your run of the mill business trip debauchery, and he probably ought to be fired anyway.
Second – and I think equally important – is the idea that now the press and government agencies are going to start playing panty police with all government employees whenever they travel, ruining business trips for everybody. Look, I’m no fan of government employees wasting my tax dollars, but if a couple of guys want to spend their own money engaging in actions that are legal in Columbia, who am I to have a fit as long as the president is safe? But thanks to Officer Freak-of-the-Week, the GOP is going to hold a moral inquisition that’ll last for months.
Attacking government employees is a very effective tactic for the Republican party so Obama had better nip this Secret Service situation in the bud. Don’t forget: make sure that the General Services Administration investigation doesn’t go south as well, Mr. President. POTUS better hope the GSA scandal in Vegas doesn’t uncover anything more unseemly than $3,200 for mind readers, $2,000 ice sculptures and $75,000 team building exercises. But if the Secret Service scandal tells us anything, something worse will come up. Besides, if dropping $36.00 gets you a hooker in Columbia you really think that a bunch of feds blew $835,000 in Vegas networking and breakfast bagels only? Have fun with this one Mr. President. Government trips have just been ruined for everyone.
DR. JASON JOHNSON, Politic365 Chief Political Correspondent, is a professor of Political Science at Hiram College in Ohio and author of the book Political Consultants and Campaigns: One Day to Sell. You can read more at www.drjasonjohnson.com or follow him on Twitter @Drjasonjohnson