I read a story this week, about how the Secret Service is asking Congress for money to build a fake White House. (I’ll pause for a moment, while you ponder the idea that we’d need a pretend White House to go along with the guy who’s pretending to be the President. Moving on…)
When not chasing prostitutes and driving drunk, the Secret Service is charged with protecting the President. (One wonders if that mission statement includes protecting him from himself, and I wonder who’s charged with protecting us from him.)
I’ve heard that the morale at the Secret Service is at an all-time low. Given the administration’s disdain for law enforcement, this is, perhaps, not too surprising. However, I am a little taken aback, in that you’d think the one group you would try to avoid demoralizing would be the guys standing near you with guns, charged with keeping you safe.
When you think about it, the Secret Service request makes perfect sense. If you go to a shooting range for training, many places offer what’s generally called a “fun house” – a place where you can practice clearing a room of home invaders, zombies, or terrorists. It makes a huge difference between training with actual rooms, doors and windows, versus tape on the floor and a couple of barrels representing a make-believe wall. Hell, the SEALs built an entire fake compound for the Bin Laden takedown – it would make sense for the government to do the same for the White House. (Although the whole concept of allowing the SEALs to use it brings up all sorts of interesting scenarios, none of which I’m advocating. Still.)
Of course, when you start talking about spending $8 million dollars to do it, it gives you pause. Or at least it should. Then again, just the cost flying Air Force One to Hawaii and back would pay for the Faux White House. But the government never seems to think outside the box. Why not build it, but do it right? I mean, down to the nth detail. Then, when the Secret Service isn’t using it for training, the administration can rent it out to Hollywood, for cinéma vérité, Oval Orifice style. And why stop there? You can only rent out the Lincoln bedroom for 365 nights a year, right? This would double the occupancy rates. Granted, you’d have to blindfold or drug the guests before they look out the limo windows, but do it right, and they’d swear they’d stayed at the real thing. Is it live or is it Memorex?
Pity Memorex isn’t really around any more as more than just a mostly-forgotten brand name. They could buy the naming rights. Then again, why not? If we can have a Presidential nomination acceptance speech at Bank of America Field, why not sell the naming rights to the Faux White House? The “Maxwell (White) House” has an interesting ring to it, n’est pas? Or “Eli Lilly-White House” perhaps. “Martha White House” for the baking flour giant? Or just paint the whole exterior, for the premiere of the sequel to “50 Shades of Gray.”
But if we want to really monetize the idea, you’d have to start selling each room’s naming rights. The “Dolly Madison Kitchen” would be a natural. “The Ovaltine Office” is a slam dunk. But I’m not sure if the “Lincoln Log Bedroom” sounds like as good a fit as “The Ashley Madison Lincoln Bedroom.”
So, hey…what’s another $8 Mill among friends, right? Faux Haus, here we come…