Social-climbing the White House gates

Let’s face it, Tareq and Michaele Salahi have left a lot of powerful figures bent out of shape and looking for some way to punish them for their embarrassing stunt Tuesday night. There’s even talk of legal action.

What will the charge be, Ruining Thanksgiving for Secret Service Officials? Or maybe Pulling off a PR Coup?

C’mon, people, you were had, and by a couple that succeeded in realizing the American Dream: getting on television. They are probably the most ridiculous personalities to dominate political news since Joe the Plumber or Sarah Palin.

In fact, one could argue that instead of prosecuting these two, they should be given a medal. After all, they did reveal how porous the security around the president can be, and they did it in a harmless way. Unless you include all the heartburn at Secret Service headquarters.

It also illustrates how all of us can get sucked in by our fascination with someone’s preposterous behavior. Why else would the bookers be begging them to appear on their morning programs and the other tabloid shows? For that matter, why else would saps like me be writing a column about them?

Because it’s funny. That’s why. This husband-and-wife duo, she a former Washington Redskins cheerleader, who has little to cheer about these days, he a man who stages controversial polo events … these guys have managed to get the attention they desperately and constantly need.

By now, everyone is likening them to the Balloon Boy, and perhaps it’s appropriate, since they did manage to deflate all those who were putting on airs. Whether they meant to or not, the Salahis made a mockery of all the intrigue that goes with this most precious invitation, a joke out of the elbowing and groveling and sneaking we will do just to flit near the reflected prestige of the rich, famous and powerful.

On Tuesday, they were UNauthorized social climbers. And really good at it. Check out their Facebook page to see just how good.

It’s important to note that they are angling to be included in the Bravo Channel’s new “reality” program “The Real Housewives of Washington.” Who knew there was such a thing? But if they’re successful, they will get more than the usual 15 minutes of fame.

Even if they do, don’t expect them to get an invitation to a state dinner anytime soon. At least until they’ve sent their Thank You notes for the last one, and political writers everywhere send ours to the Salahis.


Visit Mr. Franken's website at www.bobfranken.tv.