The White House Party Crashers and the Separation of Powers

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Liberal legal scholar Sandy Levinson is none too impressed with the White House's decision to invoke executive privilege in order to keep Social Secretary Desiree Rogers from answering Congress's questions about those White House party crashers. In Levinson's view, "the White House is making a big mistake for no defensible reason":

[I]t is literally inconceivable that anyone drafting the Constitution would have imagined the position of White House Social Secretary, paid for with taxpayer funds, and that the majesty of separation of powers rhetoric would apply to a situation like this…. This is simply yet more evidence that all presidents, regardless of political party and ostensible commitment to "transparency," take on royalist airs when taking their oath of office.

NEXT: The Continuing Drama of the Document-Swiping Deputy

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  1. The word is separation. Fear me, for I work for Sheriff Joe Arpiggo of Marikafka County, Arizona.

  2. This is simply yet more evidence that all presidents, regardless of political party and ostensible commitment to “transparency,” take on royalist airs when taking their oath of office.

    Wow . . . I am impressed. And she’s a lib?

  3. I wouldn’t read that much into it. Deseree Washington has no business in the job and appears to have screwed it up. But, she is a friend of Michelle Obama. And they don’t want to embarass her. It is more of a case of transparent ass covering than real constitutional crisis.

    1. transparent ass covering

      Ah, summer nights in Cancun.

    2. This touches on a broader topic no one seems to notice. During the campaign, during interviews of Obama with Michelle, she frequently cut him off mid-sentence and he just looked downward kind of fidgeted around while she finished answering the question. Classic alpha chick, beta (or maybe even gamma) male.

      I have no doubt she has even more to do with making policy decisions than Hillary did when she was first lady and likely even more than Obama does now. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that she smacks him now and then when he doesn’t immediately fall in line. She got those ripped arms somehow.

      1. She definitely wears the pants in that family.

        1. Are you saying the leader of the formerly free world is p****-whipped?

      2. We do know that he is one of those people who makes jokes about how unimpressed his wife is with him. Also, I remember her making strange comments about him early in his presidential campaign. I’m not sure, but I think she may have said that he smells bad. It was something like that.

        The facts fit the theory, at least.

        1. She hates my white half. Nothin’ I can do about that, folks.

  4. Congress’s questions

    Thank you for adding the third “s” after the apostrophe, instead of choosing the safer Congress’.
    Some of us notice these things. Regarding the Salahis, would I be a bad person if I prayed to their imaginary god that an asteroid might crash onto their foreclosed estate, killing them, their pocket dogs and the entire Bravo Network video crew?

    1. First rule on page one in Elementary Rules of Usage. Strunk & White smile on you. Anybody know if the exorcism of the post-apostrophe “s” on words that end with “s” came from the Chicago Manual of Style? I think I picked the latter habit up around the time I learned from Damon Knight that forward and backward require no “s.”

  5. Regarding the Salahis, would I be a bad person if I prayed to their imaginary god that an asteroid might crash onto their foreclosed estate, killing them, their pocket dogs and the entire Bravo Network video crew?

    No, no, no.
    These people are obviously incredibly skilled negotiators; they should be sent to Afghanistan, to deal with the Taliban.

    1. Hmmm…potential for beheadings and blond-chick stump-rape?
      Intriguing, Mr. Brooks. Continue, please.

  6. How can anyone possibly “have no business in the job” of being a fucking court eunuch, John? It carries no requirements other than the ability to pretend to throw a party. Just about every housewife, from the humblest trailer park on up, is qualified to hold the job in question.

    The real royalism on display here is the subtext to the story. Basically, all that happened is that a pair of American citizens walked up to the White House, asked to go in, and were admitted. 100 years ago, before we were an empire, this would not have been news. The misplaced shock and dismay being universally demonstrated over the fact that a couple of commoners escaped the notice of the security state long enough to actually walk up to the Demigod Emperor we now have for a head of state is the real story here.

    1. I’d jes slap the guard and walk on in.

      1. Racist.

        1. That she is, Bill… AND she’s a Jew-hater, to boot.

    2. “How can anyone possibly “have no business in the job” of being a fucking court eunuch, John? It carries no requirements other than the ability to pretend to throw a party.”

      Real simple, you can be an arrogant ass and get in the way of the Secret Service and the professionals doing their jobs. That appears to be what happened here. Washington fired the woman who kept the VIP lists back in June and never replaced her. You are right, it is pretty hard to fuck up the job as court eunuch. But Washington, after getting a job that required nothing more than showing up and staying out of the way, managed to do it.

      As far as your larger point, yeah in some ways I agree with you. Big deal a couple of people got in. I think they are making too much of a big deal about this. But at the same time, there are a lot of people who would like the President dead. It is a real bitch when a President gets assasinated. It leads to all kinds of conspiracy theories and knashing of teeth. It is much better for any President, no matter how bad, to live through his term. And for that reason, they do have to control access to him. And if the system failed here, where else is it failing?

      1. I wasn’t aware of this woman’s existence before this whole Salahi thing so I might be wrong, but isn’t her name Desiree Rogers? Where’s this Washington stuff coming from?

        1. It is Rogers. I am just not thinking. Good catch.

        2. For the record, Desiree Washington was another strong woman who knew how to keep men in line: She put Mike Tyson away for three years for rape.

    3. No kidding. I seem to recall that, during the Civil freaking War, people would just wander into the White House to buttonhole Lincoln.

      1. I thought he only did that in his log cabin.

      2. Yeah and turned out so well for Lincoln.

        1. Having an open White House didn’t seem to do him any harm, John.

          1. But having terrible security and letting anyone and everyone have access to him did. He just happened to be killed at Ford’s theater because Booth was an actor and knew the place. He just as easily could have been murdered at the Whitehouse.

        2. Sick tampon Uranus.

    4. We were an empire 100 years ago. Fresh from adventures in cuba and the pacific, if memory serves me correctly.

    5. How can anyone possibly “have no business in the job” of being a fucking court eunuch, John?

      Anyone who has held a job has known people who were worse than useless, who did more active damage than if they had done absolutely nothing at all.

  7. In other news, Lew Rockwell throws a punch at Cato and Reason:

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/blo…..44218.html

    Tyler Cowen has taken time out from making excuses for the “global warming” frauds (he says the fraud might be excusable if it turns out that global warming is worse than we think) and defending central bank bailouts of corporate welfare-seeking plutocrats to make some stupid comments about “Ron Paul/LewRockwell libertarianism,” as Tom Woods discusses today. Perhaps the most preposterous comment by Cowen is his ridiculous assertion that we Ron Paul/Lew Rockwell libertarians are somehow associated with the Republican Party of Dick Cheney, Dub-Yuh, Paul Wolfowitz, etc. You know, the same people who smeared us as “Unpatriotic Conservatives” at the outset of the Iraq War in their flagship magazine, National Neocon Review, which has nothing but utter contempt for all of us.

    In reality it is the Cato Institute, where Cowen made his remarks, that has always been linked to the Republican Party. The founding funder of Cato is Charles Koch, who also happens to be the largest single contributor to the Republican Party. Gee, I wonder if this has anything to do with the reasons why people associated with Cato, like Cowen, are constantly smearing those of us who call for such things as ending the Fed, and spend their time defending the Fed and the regime that it finances instead?

    Cowen also claims that Ron Paul/Lew Rockwell libertarians are socially intolerant. Nonsense. It is the libertine, Koch-funded “libertarians” like those at Cato and Reason magazine who are the intolerant ones. As Steven Greenhut explains, it is the Ron Paul/Lew Rockwell libertarians who believe in a live-and-let live philosophy; it is the Cato/Reason “libertarians” who are intolerant of this traditional libertarian position.

    The Cato/Reason crowd launch their petty insults at us, like Cowen’s puerile remarks, precisely because they are intolerant of this traditional libertarian viewpoint. To them, one must not merely be tolerant of (or simply don’t care about) all possible “alternative” lifestyles; one must be a champion of all such lifestyles. That’s why Reason included among its “heroes of freedom” such people as Larry Flynt, Dennis Rodman, Madonna, and a number of other very bizzare and freakish characters. To them, it is not sufficient for a libertarian to say: “So, you want to have sex with chickens. Well, good luck with that.” No, one must champion the cause and become and advocate of (or community organizer for) poultry fornication to be a genuine, “socially tolerant,” Cowen/Palmer/Cato/Reason libertarian.

    I haven’t read yet any article in Reason or the Blog advocating for poultry fornication, though.

    I think Lew is exaggerating when saying the Reason crowd openly advocates for this or that odd or crazy behavior – I don’t know for a fact that Reason does this. I did find it outrageous when Reason reported on the silly note regarding the Ron Paul Newsletter of yore, precisely when the man was running for presidential candidate and causing such a big interest in Libertarianism. I considered that strange act the greatest example of “shooting oneself in the foot.”

    Now… Dennis Rodman???

    1. In other news, Lew Rockwell throws a punch at Cato and Reason

      Since when is that news?

  8. Ed, yes you would. I can’t wait to see the footage of them at the Congressional Black Caucus fund raising dinner. Besides, I am throwing a party at the White House next year and I need all the tips I can get.

    1. Worry not, Mary. There are more. There will always be more.

  9. I haven’t read yet any article in Reason or the Blog advocating for poultry fornication, though.

    Can you imagine the comment thread on that one, though? Talk about a missed opportunity.

    Besides, I am throwing a party at the White House next year

    I will totally be crashing that, thanks.

    1. Make a mental note: Do not eat chicken at the White House next year.

        1. I don’t know how you prefer your chicken but I prefer it without sauce ? la Xeones!

          1. I can help with that.

  10. Oh, goody, Murray has been dead lo these many years, but the Kochtopus bashing goes on. Aren’t there enough enemies outside the fort without those on the south wall firing at those manning the north wall?

  11. I often try to stick up for Lew, who I think gets a bad rap sometimes [although I still lay the Ron Paul newsletter disaster at his feet].

    But why the fuck is he taking shots at Larry Flynt? Larry Flynt stood up against unconstitutional law and fought it on the pages of his magazine and in the courts, both criminal and civil, at non-negligible personal risk.

    1. Yeah, Flyn did do that. But he is an awful person beyond that. REally bad. As in sexually abuse his daughter bad.

  12. The other day, that drooling imbecile Chris Matthews was bleating about the “incredible danger” faced by the Ascended One because these two peasants had dared to come into his presence unbidden.

    There was some sacrificial “former secret service agent” on the show to be used as a whippingboy. The guy managed to stammer something about how “the risk really wasn’t all THAT great, evidently”; Matthews cut him off and went swooning off into a hypothetical worthy of MaunderingNannyGoat.

    The risk obviously wasn’t great. They were there, and nothing happened.

    All these people working themselves into a frenzy about the security breakdown are missing the point. A highly trained secret service agent looked these people up and down, and looked into their eyes, and judged, CORRECTLY, that they were just two more of the starstruck dimwits (bearing ready money) who routinely parade past him.

    Cancel that panic.

  13. Awkward Fluffy,because he was shot and he can’t stand up

  14. So:

    “Larry Flynt stood up sat in his wheelchair against unconstitutional law and fought it on the pages of his magazine and in the courts … ”

    ?

  15. Is it just me or does the email trail with Michele S. Jones demonstrate that the Salahis are guilty of nothing worse than being American citizens who were a bit pushy in their efforts to gain admittance to the seat of their government? They tried like hell until the last minute to get an invitation. They went to the gate, as committed partiers do, in the hope that they had made it onto the list or could get somebody to wave them in. And it worked. Good on them.

    And in the interest of Lonewackoing myself, here’s a link to my findings on the Salahis’ gate-crashing history.

    1. No, they were going there anyway, hell or high water, and they faked a “dead cell phone battery” to cover their tracks. Low-life poseurs. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

      1. I am completely persuaded that they did in fact fake a dead cell phone battery just as you say. Isn’t this too something millions of Americans do every day, for tactical reasons of their (our) own?

    2. Tim,

      Back in the 80s there was a guy who made a career of this kind of stuff. I forget his name. But he did things like get backstage at some Hollywood MGM night of a 1000 stars and get in the picture of the 1000 stars. He also was able to play a practice round at the Masters as an imposter golfer. He sat on the bench at the NBA All Star Game and warmed up with one of the teams before he was discovered if I am not mistaken. He did all kinds of things. He was so well known he got on the Johnny Carson show. I wish I could remember his name.

      There is a long history of this kind of stuff back when the world was more innocent.

      1. Barry Breman (b. June 30, 1947) is a West Bloomfield, Michigan, insurance salesman and marketing executive known in the sports world as The Great Imposter. From the period 1979 to 1986, the 6’4″,”lean” Bremen posed as a Major League Baseball umpire in the World Series, a player in a Major League Baseball All-Star Game, a player in a National Basketball Association All-Star Game, a referee in the National Football League, a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader, and a professional golfer. He also posed as an Emmy Award accepter.

      2. Actually, this Detroit News article goes right down the same track as you did, John. Bremen “retired” in 2005, citing concerns that our society doesn’t tolerate imposterism anymore and he didn’t want to get tased.

        1. Good find. I remember this guy and always thought he had a cool “job.”

  16. Make a mental note: Do not eat chicken at the White House next year.

    Don’t worry, i’m not bringing Warty.

  17. He just as easily could have been murdered at the Whitehouse.

    He could just as easily have died from blood poisoning after getting a splinter in his ass sliding down the banister.

    1. Owwww! That just made me clinch to the fully locked position. I’m gonna need a laxative to recover from that image.

      1. Ooops, meant clench. I have to step out for a minute…

  18. I do not read Lew Rockwell’s writings. Does anyone who has read some of them know whether he has ever stated what “alternate lifestyles” he believes Reason has actually advocated (and insists that others advocate)?

  19. I’d bet if Ol’ Man McCain had won, and this had happened, Dems would’ve been hoping the Salahis were armed.

  20. You can’t fake transparency. Unless the transparency is government mandated like GAAP and reporting standards.

  21. Well the Framers also didn’t think the Commerce clause would be abused and tortured in such a way as to make every damn thing under the sun a federal issue.

  22. [I]t is literally inconceivable that anyone drafting the Constitution would have imagined the position of White House Social Secretary, paid for with taxpayer funds, and that the majesty of separation of powers rhetoric would apply to a situation like this….

    Somehow I think the people drafting the Constitution could have conceived the President would need a staff, including some sort of social secretary, if only to keep track of appointments, and if they conceived of executive privilege at all, it would extend to members of the President’s personal staff.

    1. Agreed. I don’t think Levinson’s argument holds water.

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