04/19/12 — Here's your sign: Bottom line on Secret Service/Washington scandals is ...

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Here's your sign: Bottom line on Secret Service/Washington scandals is ...

There will be much gnashing of teeth and grandstanding over the recent Secret Service debacle in Colombia -- and be prepared for excuse-making and electioneering politicians to turn this into a reason for 700 exploratory commissions.

But the bottom line is pretty simple -- and one that should be printed on cards and passed along to anyone whose employment involves public funds or public favor.

"You can't fix stupid."

Or, if that phrase is a little too vague, try this one: "If you wouldn't do it if a reporter were standing right next to you, it is a bad idea."

It is astonishing how many high-profile men (and some women, too) think that their position or their job title makes them invisible when they decide to make what can only be called profoundly dumb decisions involving scandal and sex.

You can stand on a soapbox and talk about the lack of morality in the world and the evils of temptation, but truth is, this is more about arrogance and bad judgment than anything else.

And, again, it was just stupid.

While there might be conclusions to be drawn about the efficiency of government and the lack of oversight, especially in the wake of the General Services Administration's weekend in Vegas, the bottom line is that people do dumb things that morph into scandals every day. It is just that most of them are not assigned to the most elite security detail in the world.

And if you are accomplished enough to be part of that unit -- or in high-profile positions in the Air Force (and now the Marines) -- you should know better.

So let's look at not just the operation of these agencies, but also what accountability procedures are in place. But let's not turn this into an 18-month study costing millions of dollars.

Otherwise, what we are doing is just sending more stupid after stupid -- and that is why we have a trillion-dollar deficit in the first place.

Round 'em up, get the facts, make the changes and move on. That's how you fix problems and get things done.

Any other way is just politics.

Published in Editorials on April 19, 2012 11:03 AM