The Conversation

Politics: Policy issues, legislation and political topics of all sorts.

White House fence-jumper gives the Secret Service another black eye

Sep 20, 2014 9:15 AM PT

I don't understand what's going on with the Secret Service.  For as far back as I can remember, they were one of the most respected agencies in federal law enforcement.  Not perfect, mind you, but they had a generally excellent reputation, and I'm sure many extraordinary agents are still on the job.  But for the past few years, it's been one bad story after another for the Secret Service - from advance teams tarrying with ladies of the evening in Columbia, to Friday's bizarre fence-jumping incident, reported by Politico:

The Secret Service is coming under intense scrutiny after a man who hopped the White House fence made it all the way through the front door before being apprehended.

President Barack Obama and his daughters had just departed the White House on Friday evening when an intruder scaled the north fence, darted across the lawn and into the presidential residence, where agents nabbed him. The security breach triggered a rare evacuation of much of the White House, with Secret Service officers drawing their guns as they rushed staffers and journalists out a side door.

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Fallout from the Wisconsin witch hunt

Sep 20, 2014 8:50 AM PT

As John Sexton related on Friday, the Justice Department hasn't been able to find anything liking New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to the "Bridgegate" scandal (and you know Eric Holder's people were very, very keen to find such a linkage.)  It remains to be seen how the bridge affair will affect Christie's political future, which may or may not include a run at the White House.  Some think his vindication after such intense media coverage will make the story a net plus for him, at least among swing voters.  Others wonder if the special sauce from even a nothingburger scandal might have stained him; not only will the media be sure to remind everyone he was "embattled" by the story - and some sort of wheezy partisan investigation will still be limping along in the background of New Jersey politics through the end of 2016 - but voters may think he bears some lingering managerial responsibility for the people who were behind closing those bridge lanes, even though Christie acted quickly and decisively once the story broke.

The nothingburger non-scandal that might have even more fallout has gotten a lot less coverage than Bridgegate.  In Wisconsin, the corrupt Democrat-union machine went after Governor Scott Walker with a vengeance, as a partisan prosecutor launched a multi-year "John Doe" investigation of the entire Wisconsin conservative community, desperately trying to find some evidence that Walker violated campaign-finance laws.  (Given the way union bosses own the Democrat Party in the state lock, stock, and barrel - to the point where they once snapped their fingers and made the entire Democrat caucus in the legislature abandon their duties and flee the state to avoid tough votes - the spectacle of SWAT teams raiding the homes of conservative activists to look for evidence they might have improperly coordinated with Walker's campaign is darkly comical.)  

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Did Begich Sell-Out Alaska For Harry Reid's Campaign Cash?

Sep 19, 2014 12:17 PM PT

A Mark Begich immigration vote which Begich's Republican opponent Dan Sullivan characterized as "bizarre" in an exclusive interview with Breitbart News may result in more than a few heads being scratched in Washington and Begich's strange explanation for it doesn't help matters, or him, at all.

At issue is what most view as Begich's "signal of support for pending executive action from President Barack Obama on immigration." A signal every other vulnerable Senate Democrat opted to not send. Furthermore, Begich's rationale suggests how and why he votes has more to do with him and his ego than anything one might remotely equate to principle.

Alaska Sen. Mark Begich, a vulnerable Senate Democrat who ultimately sided with his party on the vote, said he was “thinking about” voting with Republicans – but decided not to after not a single GOP senator approached him to seek his vote.

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Gov. Christie Responds to Report Feds Have Nothing Linking Him to Lane Closures (Video)

Sep 19, 2014 8:52 AM PT

Gov. Christie says he's not surprised by a report by and NBC affiliate in New York suggesting that federal investigators have found nothing linking him to the lane closures on the George Washington Bridge which occurred last year.

Gov. Christie was asked about the NBC report during a radio interview yesterday evening. "I told the people of New Jersey, directly and honestly, on January 9th that I had no knowledge of this and no role of any kind in the planning or execution of it." Christie said. He added, "what matters most to me is that the people of New Jersey know that I tell them the truth."

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An exit strategy in search of a war

Sep 19, 2014 8:20 AM PT

In response to Rand Paul: Obama Starting An Unconstitutional War 'Not An Unusual Thing For Him':

I know it's fashionable to hit Senator Paul from both Left and Right for the tortured evolution of his position on ISIS, and particularly difficult to square Air-Strike Rand with Drone-Strike Filibuster Rand, but I generally sympathize with both the process he's gone through, and most of the conclusions he's reached.  It's not easy for someone who begins with his anti-interventionist perspective and concerns about unconstitutional, unlimited wars to conclude that ISIS needs an infusion of American munitions, stat.  In fact, I'd say that goes to show just how bad the ISIS problem is.

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ISIS Threat Is An Unwinnable Holy War

Sep 19, 2014 6:39 AM PT

So, who doesn't agree with me that this so-called Syrian civil war and ISIS threat is really a broader and generational holy war that we have no chance of ever winning?

 Obama's failed foreign policy, and tepid air war against ISIS will only go so far, and will eventually call  for American combat troops to be deployed to help mop up the mess.

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Rand Paul: Obama Starting An Unconstitutional War 'Not An Unusual Thing For Him'

Sep 18, 2014 9:12 PM PT

Speaking at the Liberty Political Action Conference in Alexandria, Va, Thursday night,  Senator Rand Paul had scathing words for President Obama's "unconstitutional war" effort against ISIS.

"So we just finished celebrating Constitution Week," he said. "One congressman tweeted out the Constitution 140 characters at a time. That was kind of creative. Barack Obama celebrated by doing one more unconstitutional thing. He started an unconstitutional war this week...but that's not an unusual thing for him because he can do many unconstitutional things in a week, really sometimes. I mean whether it's amending legislation, creating legislation -  doing things by executive order that were really not intended to be done by the president."

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Begich Saves The Day For Obama's Amnesty Efforts

Sep 18, 2014 5:41 PM PT

Alaska Democrat Mark Begich cast a critical vote to protect Barack Obama’s post-election amnesty in what ultimately proved to be a 50-50 vote blocking an effort by Senator Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.) who wanted to offer an amendment opposing the orders. Senate Democrats effectively blocked the attempt thanks to Begich.

“Begich saved the day for Ds,” Politico’s Manu Raju tweeted, referring to Senator Mark Begich (D., Alaska), a vulnerable Democrat who voted with Democratic leadership.

“I am going to make a motion that would allow this Senate to block the President’s planned executive amnesty,” Sessions said Thursday afternoon. “This is a common Senate action. If you believe we are sovereign nation, with the right to control our own borders, then you must vote ‘yes.’ If you believe America is an oligarchy, run by a group of special interests meeting in the White House to rewrite our immigration laws, then vote ‘no.’”

Fifty senators voted for Sessions’ motion and fifty voted against, so the proposal failed.

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