I Could Play the Race Card but …

Prologue

You will notice, effective today, the blog has a new name and a new look. Everything else will stay essentially the same but in keeping with the new tag line “Where no one is barred and everyone is grilled” I wanted to give a shout out to roughly a dozen folks who are “regulars” here. They make the comments section of the blog entertaining and sometimes downright frightening. The simple truth is no matter what I write in the essays, the comments section is where the action is. Unlike Jonathan Capehart (who I mention below) who gets hundreds of comments from hundreds of people and has little time to engage, I get hundreds of comments from a dozen people and I do my best to jump “into the fray” (the title of an old blog by the person who inspired the new title of this blog). The comments section has turned this “little slice of heaven”, to quote another regular, into more of a community than a blog. So every now and then, I won’t even write an essay. I’ll just throw a bit of red meat out there and let the assembled have at it. Without further ado, let’s open the bar for business. Drinks are on me.

Obama is Just Another Black Man

The steady stream of disturbing revelations about the Secret Service, culminating in the resignation of the department’s director, got me to thinking. Maybe the old saw from the liberal media and civil rights advocates about the relative worth of a black man being less than that of a white applied to the President himself? It wasn’t the first time this crossed my mind. I was flabbergasted when it was revealed years ago that the Secret Service were cavorting with prostitutes when they should have had their mind on protecting Barack Obama. The revelations of the past couple of weeks made me revisit my theory. A man shoots at the White House (and hits) and the SS bungles it. An armed man with a criminal record gets on the elevator with Obama and the SS bungles it. A man jumps the fence and gets deep into the White House — and the SS not only bungles it but lies about it. One has to wonder, maybe they really don’t take defending this man all that seriously?

The absence of such discussion in the media surprised me. The incompetence of the department was front and center in every report but just about no one broached race. That ended this week with a discussion of the matter on Bill Maher’s HBO forum and in an article by the Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart. Maher’s panel discussion focused on the added threat this President faces based on race. Capehart’s piece covered similar ground but went that extra step of wondering aloud if the SS was letting Obama come in harm’s way by commission, not omission. Capehart concluded that such doubt in the agency should not be contemplated because the Secret Service is not protecting Obama, they are protecting the Presidency and the very stability of our government.

I tend to agree with Capehart but an even more common sense reason dawned on me to abandon my concerns about racially motivated ambivalence on the part of the agency. My mind flashed back to December 14, 2008 when George W. Bush shared the podium with the Prime Minister of Iraq. A disgruntled journalist threw his shoe at Bush and the Secret Service rushed in front of the President to protect him and usher him to safety until the situation could be evaluated. Ehhh no, that is not how it happened. Bush dodged the shoe without a single eyelash twitch from the Secret Service and then ANOTHER shoe was thrown. After two shoes, we finally saw what appeared to be agents rush into the room behind Bush. Bush was still not escorted to safety pending an evaluation of the scene. I remember at the time being amazed at the incompetence of his security detail.

Contemplating this, I took my race card and placed it back in my breast pocket. There is no racial element to this latest round of dangerous negligence. It’s another chapter in a long gradual decline. This Keystone Kops impersonation is just the latest example of the degradation of standards in this country. It seems all of our institutions are failing. I don’t know what it will take to turn it around.

What do you think? The bar is open.

Bush Narrowly Escapes AssasSHOEnation While Secret Service Sleeps

On his “farewell tour” of Iraq and Afghanistan, President George W. Bush encountered an outraged shoe wielding journalist. Considering that Gerald R. Ford had two women shoot two real guns at him in as many weeks, this attack was relatively benign. Culturally, while we find the episode humorously bizarre, it is considered a supreme insult in Iraq, probably the equivalent of spitting at someone here.

But what I noticed and what really troubled me despite the levity of this entry’s title, was the action, or apparent inaction of the Secret Service. Let me see, in Secret Service school are you taught how to quickly discern a shoe flying through the air from some other more dangerous object? One would think that after the President adroitly ducked the first shoe, that Secret Service would have sprung into action to step in front of Bush until his safety had been assured. On the contrary, Bush was defended by no one but Iraqi  Prime Minister Maliki as he reached up to try and catch the second incoming projectile.

If I were Barack Obama, I’d be damn nervous after watching this incident. In fact, I’d fire the whole crew and start with a fresh one in January.

Rule number 1:  You see anything flying through the air in my direction, tackle my ass to the ground until you know what is going on.

Respectfully,
Rutherford

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