Don't get me wrong: I don't want anybody to come and steal our dear Ben Carson.
But is this really necessary?
With an ever-dwindling chance to win the Republican nomination, Ben Carson is pledging to stay in the race for the long haul, without any apparent consideration for the tens of thousands of dollars his Secret Service protection is costing taxpayers everyday.
Along with Donald Trump, Carson was awarded Secret Service protection in early November, around the time the famed pediatric neurosurgeon was riding high in the polls, even topping the billionaire real estate mogul in some national and Iowa surveys. But since then, Carson’s fortunes have fallen considerably, culminating in his distant fourth place finish in the Iowa caucuses and an even more distant eighth place finish in the New Hampshire primary.
During testimony before Congress in 2008, then-Secret Service director Mark Sullivan reported that protecting a presidential contender, like Carson, can cost $38,000 a day or more at this stage in the campaign. Former Secret Service director Ralph Basham told The Washington Post in September that the cost was likely now more than $40,000 a day. At that rate, if Carson decides to stay in the race all the way to the Republican National Convention, even with no chance of actually winning the nomination, it would cost taxpayers around $6,000,000 to protect him.
I'm glad the issue of costly security for a Republican has come up. With a Democrat in the White House, I've hesitated to blog on the excessive costs of what seems to me excessive security.
Speaking only for myself and not issuing an IWF policy statement, I want to say that we have too much security. We want our leaders to be safe, but surely we overdo it. We want to guard against reasonably assed threats, but in my opinion we go to extremes.
I was talking about this with a friend who is very plugged into policy and Hill circles, and she said that everybody on the Hill knows this but is afraid to say so. If somebody spoke up and there was an incident, it could be a career ender.
Not referring to Ben Carson, who seems like a down-to-earth sort of fellow, but I suspect there's a status angle to all this. Having a security detail makes a politician look important. Elected officials like to show up with a flurry of aides. I've seen relatively obscure congressmen show up at studios for relatively low-level TV shows with an aide. Can't our employees even drive themselves?