COMMENTARY | According to ABC News, the White House has responded to former Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin's criticism of President Barack Obama in the wake of the growing Secret Service scandal. Palin and others have claimed the General Service Administration and Secret Service scandals are reflective of Obama's lack of oversight.
The GSA scandal erupted over publicity of the agency's lavish and excessive spending, while the Secret Service scandal continues to grow after a dozen agents and a small group of military personnel were implicated in hiring prostitutes in Cartagena, Colombia, ahead of President Obama's recent visit.
It is ludicrous to think the president, charged with being Commander in Chief of the world's most powerful military and a CEO who oversees a complex network of organizations entrusted with trillions of dollars per year, can personally oversee the behavior of a handful of federal employees.
Do Republican critics of the president think he should have been ranting and raving over the $800,000 tab for a GSA training conference in Las Vegas when he has Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and North Korea and the entire federal budget to worry about? Is the president supposed to keep tabs on the countless Secret Service agents who are not in his personal protective detail?
Government employee greed and misbehavior occur continuously under every presidential administration. The heads of government agencies, not the president, should be expected to police employee behavior. Palin's assertion the president should start "cracking down" advocates an enhancement of presidential authority, something which violates the Republican Party's small-government stance.
Palin wants "heads to roll" and see the president "get rid of these people," which smacks of the spoils system under President Andrew Jackson in the late 1820s and early 1830s. The president should remain focused on governing the nation, not personally investigating and meting out punishment to rank-and-file federal employees who become embroiled in scandal.
If the head of the federal agency in question fails to handle the errant workers, the president might be judged for failing to discipline that individual. He should not be expected to waste valuable time handling Human Resources problems best left to localized supervisors.
Stay the course, Mr. President, and focus on the big picture. That's what you're paid for.