It turns out to be shockingly easy to assassinate President Barack Obama.
In a fabulous show of security, it emerged late Wednesday that a pair of reality show contestants succeeded in crashing the Obamas' first state dinner. One posted photos of the couple with Vice President Joe Biden and White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, who she referred to as "Ron," on her Facebook page.
Amusing though it may seem, this situation is very serious, and totally unacceptable. Heads should roll over this.
President Barack Obama hosted Prime Minister Singh of the Republic of India at a State Dinner on November 24, 2009.
It's great that his Secret Service detail liked Obama enough to give him the watch they wear for his 46th birthday two years ago, a watch he wears constantly -- it's a terrific watch, I have one -- but this is ridiculous.
Especially since Obama, the first black president, assailed by right-wing extremists as illegitimate, gets far more death threats than any previous president.
The guy, who easily penetrated White House security, looks like a total dweeb. Not that appearances mean much. But the reality is that the woman, who also easily penetrated White House security, could have been a serious threat, too.
Let me tell you a little story.
As a political writer, I have frequently penetrated various security schemes to get to a principal. I'm recalling now a cover story I did for the LA Weekly a decade ago on Michael Milken, the infamous global financier. His handlers, Democrats all, imagined I was out to demolish him. Not exactly so. I viewed him as a flawed genius. But they granted no access. So I took to finding out where he would be, showing up there, and chatting with him.
A spokeswoman for Bravo says the couple who crashed a White House state dinner were trying to get on a reality TV show.
In the end, I easily penetrated his big dinner at the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles, despite not having an invitation. What I did have was one of my Armani suits and an authoritative yet polite attitude. Even though Milken's security was seemingly everywhere.
It was child's play, actually, and, notwithstanding his vaunted, and very high-priced, Hollywood security detail, I ended up talking with Milken for 20 minutes as his handlers looked on in dismay.
A skilled person can nose around any situation. It's the role of security to minimize the ability to do that.
It's never occurred to me to penetrate a state dinner at the White House, where I've been several times with appropriate clearance during the Bill Clinton days. I've been to a great many snazzy events, and my observation is that they generally do not live up to their billing, though of course it's always nice to be there. Except when it's a bore.
But if I lived on the East Coast rather than the West Coast, and cared about not being invited to the first state dinner of the Obama era, I see now that I've been missing out.
Evidently all you need is a very nice suit, a pretty blonde, and a bit of attitude. None of which are all that hard to pull off.
So, how could this go very badly for America?
Let's count the ways.
Death threats are mounting against Obama and liberal Democrats. Watch Fox News commentator Glenn Beck "role play" an assassination of Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
One could deploy a biological weapon such as anthrax or a radiological weapon. Yet, the reality is that one would not have to be able to do any of that to assassinate President Obama. A fairly pudgy far right blogger, or a benighted admirer of Al Qaeda, would still be able to pull that off.
All that is needed is to get within a few feet of the president.
And it does not require a gun.
Frankly, even the yutz who accompanied the blonde in crashing Obama's first state dinner could have wreaked havoc. We see pix of the couple with Biden and Emanuel. Their deaths would have been disrupting enough.
Now, the White House says that there was no danger for the president because everyone went through a magnetometer.
That's actually rather amusing.
You don't need a gun to kill the president. You don't even need a fork or a knife -- and those were available on every table at that state dinner -- to pull off an assassination. All you need is a few feet of access and a pair of strong and knowledgeable hands.
Now, I don't want to unnecessarily alarm people. But this president has done any number of things to seriously piss off a great many folks.
From the international far left, in the form of Islamic jihadists who have designs on Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, to the domestic far right, which feverishly imagines that Obama isn't really an American at all, but is instead a fraud who owes his election to the manipulation of ACORN and answers to radical Islam. It's all nonsense, but it's dangerous nonsense.
The couple who crashed a White House dinner shouldn't need legal help, an attorney who knows them said Thursday, as the Secret Service remained quiet publicly about the incredible security breach.
I worry about Obama. The far right in this country -- which increasingly dominates the Republican Party (over 40% believe that Obama isn't really an American, and that the relatively powerless ACORN, somehow, bizarrely, stole the election for him) -- is bent on painting him as a "Manchurian Candidate" other.
The jihadist far left -- or is it really far right? -- is coming to realize that Obama is their worst nightmare. He is America's first black president, with an unusual name and an obvious affinity for the "other." Since he is the "other."
As Rachel Maddow pointed out a few months ago, when she merely replayed an assassination fantasy of an increasingly famous broadcaster, the notion of violence and even assassination is being played up in our political "discourse."
Both extremes -- the Glenn Becks and the Osama bin Ladens -- want this president gone. Both extremes are, whether they acknowledge it or not, setting the stage to rationalize an assassination.
If I were in the White House, given the overall situation and the extraordinary security lapses of this first state dinner, I would be sending some folks to guard snow plows in Antarctica this weekend. The snow plows that aren't being used in vain to try to stop ice shelves from breaking off into the ocean, that is. The stakes are simply too high to be nice about this.