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Thursday, December 9, 2010

The White House: Efficiency from the Inside Out.

My friend Alec Jacobs is interning at the Daily Caller. They recently sent him on a field trip to the White House to take a tour in order to cover a story on the decorations. As a bonus, they got a funny anecdote:

"The tour lasts about 30 minutes and isn’t guided, though you’re told you can ask the Secret Service guys posted in each room for some history. (Most of them can’t tell you much.)

Such was the case with the guy in the Blue Room, where the biggest Christmas tree in the White House is. The tree had ornaments representing each state, and I was wondering what the ornament for my home state of New Jersey would be? Snooki?!

“Is this, like, the tree?” I asked him.

“Uh…I guess so?”

Okay. But maybe there was a chance he’d been briefed on some key details about what appeared to be the tree. For example, whether or not there was a Snooki ornament!

“Have you been briefed on the ornaments?”

“No…I usually just lie to people when they ask.” Apparently we were buddies, and he felt comfortable telling me he just lies to wide-eyed tourists with questions."

For Christmas, I'd like to meet a helpful bureaucrat.


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  1. Well this one was helpful; he provided a funny anecdote.

  2. Congrats on the 1st post on this blog (and I've read since the beginning) I've found disagreeable. I've toured the WH a few times and never had the Secret Service agents offered up as tour guides or purveyors of knowledge re: the ornaments. Such a shame that they weren't agreeable babysitters/entertainers/bureaucrats to your liking.

  3. For Christmas, I'd like to meet a helpful bureaucrat.

    No, you really wouldn't like that experience one bit.

    The ones who just want to be left alone are the least onerous of the bunch.

  4. Tourists at Obama's WH are told, in effect, to distract Secret Service guys with questions? And here most of us thought they were supposed to keep their eye "on the ball" as an expression, not as ornament docents.

    In this instance, somebody was messing with somebody, probably both.

  5. Could this be a philosophy of governance?

    "Look at the pretty ornaments. Don't ask questions."