Friday, April 4, 2008

Secret Service Protection: McCain, Clinton, Obama

Is it Stylish? Clean-cut crews in sunglasses and the soft bulge of Glocks or Sig-Sauers in the outline are my dream! But it costs about 39, 000 dollars per day for secret service coverage of the political candidates. As the wife of a former president, Hillary Clinton already had secret service protection mandated to her by law. Having a Secret Service squad paving your way through crowds is a sure way of looking presidential. Barack Obama asked for secret service protection long ago, in February of 2007, for precisely that reason. The last thing America would want would be for anything bad to happen to Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, or John McCain while they campaign for the presidency.

In light of the MLK assassination, one could advance the argument that Barack Obama might be more vulnerable to violence by virtue of his half-African ancestry, but that would not be true. President Reagan took a wing shot and nearly died, Kennedy was murdered, Ford was shot at, and these events are not the only ones. Malcom X was prematurely cut down by violence in a Harlem church and his assassins were African-American members of the Fruit of Islam church. Fact is, there are plenty of nut cases in America, plenty of misogynists, and hatred enough to go around for everyone, so there is no reason to think that one candidate needs protection any more than the others.

That said, I don’t know exactly what to think of John McCain, who declined Secret Service protection because of the illusion of power and inaccessibility it creates. McCain doesn’t have to “look presidential” and his campaign style is completely open and accessible. If he worries at all about an assassin’s bullet, he doesn’t show it, nor does his wife, who often travels beside him. Saving the taxpayers $39,000 a day isn’t the only reason to admire John McCain. McCain’s not perfect and he’s not Superman, but one gets the idea sometimes that Superman might want to adopt some of McCain’s qualities and imperturbability in the face of danger.

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