This really has gone from a bizarre, comic sideshow to a serious scandal, albeit still hilarious. How in the world was this allowed to happen? What the hell is going on with the Secret Service?
It’s bad enough that Fake Sign Language Guy was allowed to make a mockery of the memorial service. That’s something Obama himself tried hard to do with his frat-boy selfie antics, but his political operation desperately wanted this to be a Big Huge Statesman Moment for him. It certainly hasn’t been. I don’t think even the most Obama-friendly media outlet made any effort to paint the Mandela event as a milestone in the Obama presidency, or make any hay about his big speech. I don’t think they’ve even bothered trying to quote from his speech.
Most of what we’re getting is walkback and spin from a White House that seems to be wishing that Obama had never gone to South Africa, and the sooner everyone forgets about it, the better. But they sure didn’t go into this thing believing it would become a massive P.R. liability. A fake sign-language interpreter is the sort of thing a reasonably savvy advance team would be on guard for, no matter how inept the local government might be. Is part of the problem here that everyone merely assumed the sanctified government of post-Mandela South Africa must be competently managed?
But now we learn the guy was potentially dangerous, his criminal case files “mysteriously empty,” with a tendency towards hallucinations and violence by his own account… hired by a shadowy fly-by-night firm that promptly flew by night and disappeared… and yet he managed to get onstage with the President of the United States. The Secret Service must be having some interesting closed-door meetings right about now. Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit wonders if the advance team was off chasing hookers again. I can’t remember a time when the Secret Service did this many faceplants.