Government gone wild
What the Secret Service and GSA scandals say about our culture
- Duration 7:01
- Date Apr 21, 2012
What the Secret Service and GSA scandals say about our culture
Also in this playlist...
This transcript is automatically generated
Welcome to The Journal Editorial Report I'm -- -- you go well another week another government scandal this time it's the Secret Service reeling from allegations that as many as eleven agents -- prostitutes and a Colombian hotel in advance.
A president Obama's visit there the situation has become an election year embarrassment for the White House and follows.
The revelations that the General Services Administration sponsored a junket to Las Vegas in 2010.
The cost taxpayers close to a million dollars.
Both scandals play into the narrative about bloated and dysfunctional.
Federal government so is that fair let's -- Wall Street Journal columnist and deputy editor Dan -- -- assistant editorial page editor.
James Freeman and editorial board member -- repentance a -- that -- start with a Secret Service.
Incompetence in government is not news.
It's an old story so why does the Secret Service scandal.
Well if that's troubling it is fascinating.
And it's not incompetence it's an absolute loss of the mystique of many of the important things that -- connected with.
Governments itself with the White House everything that we used to -- The face of the security detail DC these guys with thinking if not pats who with a -- -- -- finally get the sense that apparently illegal I would.
It piloting untouchable so the people you thought you might want to believe -- but so lucky and suddenly then -- these button down guys Lisa.
Of the ten -- -- it's not just two people.
Floating around in bed drinking Absolut Vodka with women did -- not -- prostitutes and that and cheating the prostitutes of money.
He's in the minor matters then that Richard Gere.
You know at treating the prostitute in pretty woman.
And bringing them into a security parameter.
If we would seem from there from the reporting means that we think of the Secret Service guys -- them.
The guys will take a bullet for the president and some of them have.
I didn't think it Tim McCarthy and getting shot.
Along with the original Reagan -- his right Reagan yet now we do we do think of them as police unit and you know I mean -- in perspective I'm not sure this is the first time and in the lead American unit has advanced on a bordello it -- -- I think that what is the fact that as you said this during the mission.
And the president's itinerary is kind of lying around while they are engaging in this I think shocking for people who look at it I think often look at.
Groups like the Secret Service likely to -- military units is the part of the government that really works so.
The fact that this is not just -- personal security there's that issue of national security here what does this have happened say in Moscow or Beijing or in South Korea.
I mean we have enemies out there who were trying to compromise people who were close to the president like.
This don't put themselves of absolutely yeah what does this tell us about the culture damn.
Of the Secret Service anything do you think you think it's fair to ask whether this had just happened once or.
It is it hard to believe that it happened only one.
It is hard to believe and I do think they really should be a serious investigation.
It is just incomprehensible that you could have this kind of breakdown.
In discipline among and a weak core like this.
And I must say to hit it does raise the question of whether Mark Sullivan should dumb -- -- or or actually -- -- head -- Secret Service at a Secret Service.
Yeah I wanna go back -- -- in history but.
I think this is head of beginning a long while ago the first night the Clinton spent in the White House guests would jumping up and down on the Lincoln bed.
This is some kind of sign a cultural center how to edit -- do this what -- story because there's this sense that there is no longer any importance attached.
To the role of people serving government and government.
This kind of freedom from convention and the sent to freedom of kind of sanctity.
About things attached to the surface of government.
All right moved to moving on to the General Services Administration a million bucks for a party that's a lot of money for -- it's -- a lot of money for Washington that's Nancy I government terms let's cover charge -- -- -- why has why why why why are people so upset about this.
Think that her colleague got Peggy -- -- on the -- this week saying that this is not a surprise they're wasting money but it's the -- -- kind of throwing our money away and laughing about it I worked briefly in government -- I gotta say there were a lot of people disagreed with our policy terms but.
My impression was that they were generally public spirited people who were trying to make America a better place what you see in this GSA.
Adventure is it seems to be people who are really kind of enjoying living high on the hog and an amused by -- sensitive.
That in the video shows that look I'm -- -- government and I'm living high on the hog and you sapped tax -- just can't do anything about it so there.
Yeah I think there's something to that I mean but the question is.
If this scandal and Las Vegas not happened -- -- supposed to go -- everything is OK with government.
-- was about waste fraud and abuse something that goes on every day in a government whose budget is four and a half trillion dollars three and a half three and a half trillion dollars and I mean trying to.
In this brawling.
-- leviathan of government.
Without something like this happening I think is just hard to credit.
It is it fair to -- to use these examples to say you know what there's something larger wrong in government Washington.
Yes because I didn't think that the sense of revolutionary change has filtered down is a kind of loosening the freedom anything is possible now.
Weevil is head fraud we've always had placed we've always had this country what we happen always -- Is this sense of the guilt free -- if you have the head of this agency reading emails saying I -- on that but hey.
My wife and I -- said to each other it's our opportunity now it's not gonna last forever that is a very new sense of complete separation.
From a sense of duty.
Does this does this -- -- President Obama because let's face and he's not -- a strategy but he's not respond he's not responsible for and handles individuals.
Actions but he is the one that in our current political debate making the case every day.
The government works and we need more than it needs to be bigger.
So this is a problem for -- repeated examples of I would doesn't work it's too big it's spending too much -- I think it is gonna give momentum to efforts by Ron Johnson and Tom Coburn in the senate to reform.
Federal pay and benefit programs we talk a lot about entitlements there other things -- -- -- be -- if the debate over government is about school lunches.
Democrats tend to when the debate is about GSA parties.
The conservatives who wanna cut government tend to -- So I think Mitt Romney should make this an issue in the election I really do because in fact the president has been trying to distance himself.
From both of these scandals he's the command he's the president he has to bear some direct responsibility for it should be an issue.