Here Come the Stereotypes About Presidential Security

So after lots of hysteria about security breaches, Secret Service director Julia Pierson resigned today, to be replaced temporarily by Joseph Clancy, former director of the Service’s presidential detail.

I don’t know enough about the recent Secret Service “scandals” to know whether Pierson is being held accountable for poor management, or is being sacrificed to howling critics looking for a scapegoat.

But I do hope that in replacing her the administration takes some cognizance of the risk of replacing the first woman to head the Secret Service with a man, reinforcing all the stereotypes of “reliability” and “competence” in security matters. “Affirmative action” in the best and least controversial definition of that term means giving underrepresented communities a fighting chance for equal consideration, and I fear women will be overlooked in this particular job for a long time unless someone’s really trying.

You’d normally be concerned with the assumption that only a white man could return presidential security to “normal.” But then there is today’s WaPo PostEverything opinion piece by a former Secret Service agent proposing Allen West for the gig, for God’s sake.

I devoutly hope the frightening thought of Allen West in a position of any kind of authority does not prejudice the administration against qualified black men, either.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.