Well, I didn’t coin the term, but “felony stupidity,” as coined by former Homeland Security adviser Frances Townsend, certainly seems to fill the bill. It covers the possibility that the actions of Mr. Louis Caldera, director of the White House Military Office, were simply the result of not having thought it through (this would be the “stupidity” part of the title), or were in fact ulterior (to which the “felony” part would apply after, of course, the application of suitable due process).
In some cases, people deserve a second chance. In others, they don’t. The risk is too great. With such an egregious display of poor judgement, Mr. Caldera should not be allowed to remain in his position. Even though I have come to be more and more of an Obama supporter myself, this poor level of performance on the part of one of Mr. Obama’s key staffers calls into question the entire staff.
And for those nay-sayers out there – by and large, people who do not live in NYC, or did not live here through 9/11/2001 – it is a big deal. We do not like large aircraft flying low over our city, period. It will be decades before that reality wears off. The sight of a really large aircraft – a Boeing 747 – being followed by a couple of military jets is something that would put panic in the heart of any but the most unimaginative.
Finally, almost as bad a performance regarding this incident was handed down today by White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, who bumbled and fumbled his way through what all present expected to be a White House response, but clearly was not, with such cleverly wrought phrases as, “I have seen some news reports, but… I don’t know,” and “I was working on other things,” and “You might be surprised to know that I don’t know every movement of Air Force One.” We saw a lot of shoulder shrugging and head shaking and just a lot of hubris at a time when a more conciliatory and understanding response would have been called for. Where is Allison Janney (as “The West Wing” press secretary, C.J. Gregg) when we need her?