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A tale of two scandals

The Sunday shows featured quite a bit of discussion yesterday on two ongoing controversies: the Secret Service's Colombian prostitution scandal and the General Services Administration's lavish conference spending. What I found interesting, though, was how differently Republican guests treated the two subjects.

On the GSA matter, Republicans, like Democrats, are outraged, but unlike Dems, GOP officials are eager to push the blame up the ladder. Despite the fact that it was the Obama administration that launched the investigation that uncovered the wrongdoing, and despite the fact that GSA's reckless conference spending began during the Bush era, Republicans like Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) are eager to pin the blame for the GSA's mismanagement on President Obama.

GOP talk about the Secret Service, however, was very different on the Sunday shows. NBC's "Meet the Press," for example, featured interviews with two lawmakers -- Republican Pete King of New York and Republican Darrell Issa of California -- both of whom said largely the same thing: Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan shouldn't be held responsible for what transpired.

Issa, for example, called the prostitution scandal an "aberration," while King said he has "full confidence" in the Secret Service's leadership. Even Mitt Romney said on Friday that he blames those "at the top" for the GSA controversy, but when it comes to the Secret Service, "it was not a matter of the senior leadership of the organization."

Why are Republicans so eager to see heads roll at the GSA but not the Secret Service? One could probably make the argument that the right disapproves of prostitution, but is far more outraged by wasteful government spending.

I wonder, though, if GOP support for the Secret Service director has something to do his background: Sullivan was appointed by President George W. Bush and then retained by President Obama.