Tim Wu is alarmed at the number of attempts (of varying degrees of credibility) against Barack Obama, which is six and counting. I actually think that six is a really small number, all things considered. All in all, it’s actually quite amazing to me that there haven’t been many more. Truthfully, it’s kind of a surprise that none have succeeded in over fifty years, and none have reached the point of a gunshot in over thirty.

I mean, rationally, it rarely makes sense to kill a president. They picked their vice president, after all. Removing somebody that you see evil while they are running may make sense, though at that point you have to worry about martyrdom and backlash.

Leaving aside the sheer number of enemies a president makes, and the average number of completely crazy people in a nation of over 300,000,000, if nothing else you’d think by the law of numbers some wacko would be jumping the fence every few days. It seemed something like that, for a brief interval during the Clinton years, though Wikipedia only shows two in proximity.

Or, given that there are tens of thousands of suicides each year, it’s a little surprising that none of them try to go out in a blaze of glory for an instant entry into the history books.

Perhaps it’s that the likelihood of success is considered so small.

If you were to ask me what bothers me most about the guy who jumped the fence, it’s that. At least the illusion of a real possibility of success. And some crazy guy out there.

Category: Newsroom

About the Author

8 Responses to A Strange Lack of Assassinations

  1. fillyjonk says:

    the thought of “President Biden” is why I hope and pray for the continued safety of President Obama…..

    • trumwill says:

      This reminds me a bit of the “Dick Cheney as the ultimate insurance policy” meme last decade.

      An interesting aspect of a hypothetical Obama assassination is that it would change the dynamics of the 2016 race a lot. Taking what looks like a great chance of a Democratic victory to a Democratic primary battle between Biden and HRC that the former would have a good chance of winning, leaving the Democrats weaker in the general election (I’d think).

  2. fillyjonk says:

    And also, beyond not wanting to see anyone die violently and before their time, the kind of instability an assassination would plunge the US into at this point – we’re so polarized NOW.

  3. Dave Pinsen says:

    I question how real those alleged attempts were. If anything, the recent revelations of Secret Service sloppiness suggest to me that, in fact, there are virtually no real threats against POTUSes, and the level of security they’ve had since Reagan has been unnecessary and detrimental.

  4. Peter says:

    I am of the opinion that presidents are completely replaceable, just like everyone else, and that the level of protection they get is excessive.

    • trumwill says:

      I disagree. Presidential continuity is pretty important to our system, given the power that they have. Assassinations would have a significant destabilizing effect.

      In 24, they cycled through eight presidents over four terms (David Palmer, Keillor, Logan, Gardner, Wayne Palmer, Daniels, Taylor, Hayworth). Leaving aside the perpetually higher terror threat, that alone would be… pretty horrific.

      On the other hand, it’s possible to have an assassination every twenty years or so without reaching that point.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

If you are interested in subscribing to new post notifications,
please enter your email address on this page.