You've probably heard about the Politico Magazine column in which Ronald Kessler argues that an assassination of President Obama would be necessary to change the culture of the Secret Service in a positive way, the current culture being President Obama's own fault:
Agents tell me it's a miracle an assassination has not already occurred. Sadly, given Obama's colossal lack of management judgment, that calamity may be the only catalyst that will reform the Secret Service.Josh Marshall is right:
So Obama is at fault for his inevitable assassination, or he's the only thing standing in the way of cleaning up the agency responsible for his inevitable assassination.There's a lot packed into that two sentence flourish. But all of it is deeply f'd up.Marshall explains, though not in great detail, why Kessler was a dubious choice for this gig:
Kessler is a legitimate expert on national law enforcement and intelligence agencies. He's written many books on these topics. I actually interviewed him a couple times for pieces I wrote just after 9/11 on post-attack preparedness, intelligence sharing and related topics. But over the last decade he's made a hard veer to the right, with a heavy dose of Obama-hating conspiracy mongering.Well, yes -- I'd call Kessler yet another mainstreamed extremist. From 2006 to 2012 he was a regular columnist for the wingnut site Newsmax. When he was hired, he told us this:
Since I first learned about NewsMax, I've admired how, in order to tell the truth about subjects ranging from politics to medicine, it presents factual material that the rest of the media ignore. I'm proud to be associated with an operation that practices journalism honestly and fairly.(Newsmax's commitment to medicine is exemplified by its relationship with Russell Blaylock, a vaccine skeptic.)
One of Kessler's 2008 Newsmax columns, titled "Obama Attended Hate America Sermon," asserted that Barack Obama was present in Reverend Jeremiah Wright's church when Wright delivered a 2007 sermon on "white arrogance." When it was determined that Obama was en route to Miami during the sermon -- as even Fox News acknowledged -- Newsmax posted a "Clarification" to the story, and Kessler tried to edit references to the misinformation out of his Wikipedia entry.
Kessler's Newsmax columns weren't always quite so scurrilous, though he often reached similar pinnacles of inaccuracy. Among the pieces he published in 2012, for instance were "Democrat States Moving to Romney," "Romney Hits Bull's-Eye with Paul Ryan," "Why Romney Will Win Decisively," "Intensity for Mitt Romney Equals Ronald Reagan's," and "Expect a Mitt Romney Landslide."
Kessler loathes Hillary Clinton -- just as her 2008 campaign was getting under way, he described her as "two-faced and perpetually angry," and just as she's probably about to embark on another campaign, he's describing her as having "an unstable personality." Snopes offers a couple of choice (and, of course, unverifiable) Hillary quotes from Kessler:
"Where is the G-damn f**king flag? I want the G-damn f**king flag up every f**king morning at f**king sunrise."On the other hand, Kessler adores Laura Bush -- he wrote a fawning biography of her in 2006, and told National Review this when he was promoting the book:
(From the book "Inside The White House" by Ronald Kessler, p. 244 - Hillary to the staff at the Arkansas Governor's mansion on Labor Day, 1991) ...
"Come on Bill, put your dick up! You can't f**k her here!!"
(From the book "Inside The White House" by Ronald Kessler, p. 243 - Hillary to Gov. Clinton when she spots him talking with an attractive female at an Arkansas political rally)
She is more versed in literature than most English professors or any previous First Lady, including Jacqueline Kennedy.No hyperbole there!
How admirable is Laura Bush? Let Kessler explain:
Kessler: It's hard to overestimate Laura's modesty.... She instructs her speechwriters never to use the personal pronoun "I."Um, really? Here's the start of her speech to the 2000 Republican convention:
I am honored -- and a little overwhelmed -- to help open the convention that will nominate my husband for President of the United States. You know I am completely objective when I say ... you have made a GREAT choice.Here's part of her speech to the 2004 convention:
George and I have been blessed throughout our 23 years of marriage with many interesting opportunities. Our lives have changed enormously in the last six years. He was elected Governor, we moved to Austin with our then 13-year-old twin teenagers, and since then, we’ve been through dating, drivers licenses, prom night and just a few weeks ago, high school graduation.
Now we’re helping our daughters pack for college and we’re preparing for our next life crisis ... empty nest syndrome. They say parents often have to get out of the house when their kids go off to college because it seems so lonely. Everyone deals with it in different ways. But I told George I thought running for President was a little extreme....
I am so proud of the way George has led our country with strength and conviction. Tonight, I want to try to answer the question that I believe many people would ask me if we sat down for a cup of coffee or ran into each other at the store: You know him better than anyone -- you've seen things no one else has seen -- why do you think we should re-elect your husband as President?Need I go on? There's your expert, Politico.
As you might imagine, I have a lot to say about that.
I could talk about my passion, education. At every school we visit, the students are so eager. Last fall the President and I walked into an elementary school in Hawaii, and a little 2nd-grader came out to welcome us and bellowed, "George Washington!" Close, just the wrong George W."
I could talk about the small business owners and entrepreneurs who are now creating most of the new jobs in our country ... women like Carmella Chaifos — the only woman to own a tow truck company in all of Iowa. The President's tax relief helped Carmella to buy the business, and modernize her fleet, and expand her operations. Carmela is living proof of what she told me. She said: "If you're determined and you want to work hard, you can do anything you want to. That's the beautiful thing about America."
I could talk about health care. For years, leaders in both parties said we should provide prescription drug coverage in Medicare. George was able to bring Republicans and Democrats together to get it done.
I could talk about the fact that my husband is the first President to provide federal funding for stem cell research. He did so in a principled way, allowing science to explore its potential while respecting the dignity of human life.
I could talk about the record increase in home ownership. Home ownership in America, especially minority home ownership is at an all time high....