Incompetent Sex Trumps Incompetent Governance
Randy Randy is gone, an instant casualty of the Religious Right’s intolerance of anything to do with sex except outlawing it.
Randy Randy is gone, an instant casualty of the Religious Right’s intolerance of anything to do with sex except outlawing it. Glenn Kessler over at the Washington Post reports,
Randall L. Tobias, the deputy secretary of state responsible for U.S. foreign aid, abruptly resigned yesterday after he was asked about an upscale escort service allegedly involved in prostitution, U.S. government sources said.
Tobias resigned after ABC News contacted him with questions about the escort service, the sources said. ABC News released a statement last night saying Tobias acknowledged Thursday that he had used the service to provide massages, not sex.
They’re not crazy about massage either, Randy. You should know that, as a promoter of AIDS recovery in Africa by the abstinence method. The ‘if they didn’t have sex there would be no problem’ advocates and the ‘AIDS is God’s punishment for unnatural sex’ contingent are united in their belief that ‘laying on of hands’ is the stuff of miracle instead of massage.
Tobias has been Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's point man in an ambitious effort to overhaul how the U.S. government manages foreign aid, a key part of her "transformational diplomacy" agenda. Just two days ago, President Bush lauded Tobias for his work in the administration leading "America's monumental effort to confront and deal with the HIV/AIDS epidemic on the continent of Africa."
Ah, this president has such perfect timing. What a difference a couple days makes, as another Bush monumental effort comes a cropper.
Tobias’s immediate resignation, dropped in the 5pm Friday afternoon dumpster, brought no assurances this time of the president’s ‘complete faith and confidence.’ Paul Wolfowitz and the self-destructing Alberto Gonzales got that, but their phone numbers are not (so far) showing up on an escort service list.
This administration will weather the seas of incompetence, move boldly where no resume is too thin, no ignorance too profound and no conflict of interest too blatant, as long as no one gets laid.
A horseman running FEMA? No problem. Twenty-somethings with no experience re-framing the constitution in Iraq? Have a seat. A non-banker sent over to kick ass and run the World Bank? Hey, you never heard of on-the-job training? A sycophant to toady up the Justice Department? No injustice there.
But even this administration has some standards.
No matter that Tobias had prior service as Chairman and CEO of AT&T International. He got a call-girl massage. To hell with his wide business experience as Chairman, President and CEO of Eli Lilly. The man got a call-girl massage. Sure, he was on the boards of Chemical Bank of New York, Agilent Technologies, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, Knight Ridder, and ConocoPhillips. Yeah, he served 12 years as a trustee of Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, and longer than that as a trustee of Duke University, including 3 years as chair of the Duke board. He got a call-girl massage.
Competence, no matter the level, does not trump hooker sex. Sorry ‘bout that, Randy, you’re out. This isn’t private industry, where they care about whether you can do the job—it’s Washington, where you can be an idiot (it sometimes helps) but you can’t get caught with a girl.
Bush lies about affairs of state, Clinton about affairs. Clinton’s the one who gets impeached.
In an unusual statement issued at 5 p.m., State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Tobias informed Rice "today that he must step down as Director of U.S. Foreign Assistance and U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator effective immediately. He is returning to private life for personal reasons."
You can’t get any more ‘personal’ than "having gals come over to the condo to give me a massage." But tastes change and of late, Randy now says he prefers a new ‘service’ with “Central American gals for massages.” An example of his skills as an ambassador, no doubt.
Tobias is, as far as we know, the first victim of the Pamela Martin Agency bust that has big names in Washington all on the alert.
There is no Pamela Martin, but there is a Deborah Jeane Palfrey, who owns and runs the escort service bearing the Martin name. Busted and waiting trial, Palfrey dumped her extensive record of phone numbers on ABC’s 20/20 show and they are said to have the technology to find names at the other end of numbers--ten to fifteen thousand numbers. Over a hundred $300 an hour girls on her payroll and a thirteen year history in Washington, if you're clever, you end up with a bunch of numbers.
It’s hard to imagine what could possibly go wrong next for this president, but the human mind and human endeavor has few limits. Republicans are an enterprising bunch.
Palfrey's flamboyant attorney, Montgomery Blair Sibley, said Friday that he has been contacted by five lawyers recently, asking whether their clients' names are on Palfrey's list of 10,000 to 15,000 phone numbers. Some, Sibley said, have inquired about whether accommodations could be made to keep their identities private. ABC is expected to air a report on Palfrey and her clients on "20/20" on May 4, during sweeps. (Washington Post)
Accommodation skates dangerously close to bribery and I would guess that Tobias’s resignation pretty well puts the lie to any deals being made. The deal, if there was to be a deal, would have come ahead of Palfrey’s indictment. She is now a woman scorned and hell hath no fury, etc., etc.
ABC is said to be grappling with whether to air a report or identify some of those on the list. "We can't comment on ongoing reporting," ABC News spokesman Jeffrey Schneider said.
Sweeps-week makes all that nasty old grappling much easier to deal with and I imagine ABC will milk this one for all it’s worth. Who’s on that list is the biggest question in Washington tonight and many, many sweaty fingers are dialing lawyers.
Last year, Rice tapped Tobias to be the first director of U.S. foreign assistance, with the rank of deputy secretary, giving him the task of both running USAID and coordinating all foreign aid so that the delivery of aid would more closely follow the administration's policy goals. Under Tobias, for the first time, the State Department produced documents showing exactly how much aid was going to each country. He has proven so essential to Rice's plans that she had refused to let him leave even though officials said he had wanted to resign from the high-pressure job for at least six months.
Some people are just not cut out for government. Tobias had the USAID job for exactly a year, six months of which he spent (between massages) wanting to resign. Now, as 20/20 gets their sweeps-week machinery oiled-up and running, there may be a number of people who hope and wish and plead not to resign.
Some folks are never happy.