Strip Joe Biden of His Motorcade?

Vice-President Joe Biden's motorcade has been involved in at least five crashes.

Forbes’ Daniel Freedman asks, “Strip Joe Biden of His Motorcade?

Vice-President Joe Biden’s motorcade has been involved in at least five crashes. That’s an unusually high number for such a motorcade.

In August, after Mr. Biden met New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg at Gracie Mansion, two New York City police motorcycles escorting the Vice-President were involved in an accident. That followed a high profile crash in February, in which figure skating Olympic gold medalist Peggy Fleming and former bobsled champion Vonetta Flowers were injured. The two athletes were riding in the Vice-President’s motorcade at the Vancouver Olympics when the rear vehicle of the motorcade hit the back of a second vehicle, knocking it into a third car.

Last November, while Mr. Biden was on his way to appear on “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart, a police car escorting him collided with a cab, injuring officers and occupants of the other car. (While the Vice-President didn’t mention the crash during his appearance, he did joke that having roads cleared for him was a big perk. “Hell, I’ve never driven in New York with no traffic before,” he told Mr. Stewart.)

That November, cars from Mr. Biden’s motorcade were also involved in two other reported accidents: A Bernalillo County Sheriff’s deputy escorting the motorcade was injured in a collision; and in Maryland two cars that were part of the Vice-President’s security detail hit (and killed) a pedestrian. These five incidents are just the reported ones; it’s possible that there are others as well.

Do I think the vice president should be stripped of his motorcade privileges?  No.  For one thing, I’m pretty sure Joe Biden wasn’t driving any of the cars in question, so it’s unreasonable to blame him. And, despite my general distaste for VIP motorcades and the inconveniences they pose for The Little People, there are legitimate security concerns for someone in Biden’s position.

But there is something odd going on here.  At very least, an investigation ought to be launched to figure out why this is happening.

via Glenn Reynolds

FILED UNDER: US Politics, , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Alex Knapp says:

    Looks like every single accident involved the local law enforcement escort, not the motorcade. I’m not sure how the Feds play in here.

    Also, is this actually an unusual number of accidents? How many motorcades has Biden been a part of? What’s the average rate of accidents/use of motorcade?

    Some more facts, I think , are needed before even saying this rises to the level of “weird.” I mean, for all we know, Biden’s rate is LOWER than comparable motorcades. Without any basis of comparison, how can we say?

  2. Rob in Denver says:

    Maybe they should let him drive his Trans Am…

  3. JKB says:

    Seems like they need to ask for an upgrade in the driving quality of those assigned to the motorcade. Perhaps the top performers aren’t being assigned to this largely ceremonial duty that takes officers away from real police work.

  4. Art says:

    I disagree that motorcades for VIPs should continue. If the people with the authority to fix traffic problems are never stuck in traffic, then they will not think it is a pressing problem worthy of their attention. Nothing like a traffic jam to bring home an infrastructure bottleneck to someone who could actually encourage a solution. It worked in Ike’s case.

  5. Kaitian says:

    When Biden came into town to campaign for Patty Murray, he went across the I-205 bridge to get to Pearson Airport from Portland International Airport. The problem with this is the I-205 is one of the two bottlenecks between Oregon and Washington (I-5) being the other. They shut down traffic for over 10 miles and I’m amazed that they didn’t have any accident. They could have used one of the Coast Guard Black Hawks (That was providing air cover) to transport him but they didn’t.

  6. Estragon says:

    Spending all the money we do for “official travel” is ridiculous. Security costs are out of this world. Decades ago, some foreign travel was necessary for diplomacy, but there are easier ways of communicating today.

    Nearly all domestic travel is political, the rest being free vacations.

    So I propose the President, Vice President, Congress, Cabinet, and civil servants all pay for their own travel expenses. Make them tax deductible within the same limits private businesses must observe. Then we shall just how “necessary” all that travel really is.

    The fact is we probably fritter away several $billion per year on unnecessary federal travel.

  7. Robbins Mitchell says:

    Maybe Dopey Joe ought to start wearing one of those ‘retardo’ helmets when he’s out in a motorcade…come to think of it,maybe he ought to just wear one full time.

  8. Fighting Joe Biden says:

    I’ve got about 200 Billion cars in my motorcade, and I tell ’em all to go at ramming speed. Ramming Speed!

  9. Pat Patterson says:

    I’m not too sure about the reasoning behind doubting if VP Biden was driving. It seems thay anybody that thinks a Pontiac Trans-Am with the belching bird on the hood is the coolest car ever can’t be trusted for one minute.

  10. tim maguire says:

    What need has a vice-president of a motorcade? Surely no more than a mere congressman has of air force escort. The competition to show how much better they are than the people they represent has gone quite far enough.

    I suggest we remove “Entourage” from congressional cable packages. It gives them too many ideas.

  11. willis says:

    Could this be what is prompting that car-in-the-ditch Obama keeps going on about. Maybe he’s trying to get a message across to Joe.

  12. davod says:

    Didn’t Biden’s detail hit a blogger in DC some time ago?

  13. egoist says:

    The control-freaks want to choke off our usage of the evil green-house-causing gases by imposing new laws of physics; farting around with gas formula; making all of us pay to crush some cars in favor of purchasing others; swapping Edisons for CFLs; and on & on… All while everything they do, ever move they make, is 100x as consuming (and disruptive to the rest of us) on our dime.

    Us F’n little people just don’t get the formula: who works for who.

    I say keep the motorcade up – expand / increase frequency if possible, then someday…

  14. Tolbert says:

    Interesting photo.

    There are ,at least to my eye, three Mecedes Gelanden Wagens as part of the motorcade.

    I’m curious if this photo was taken in the U.S. If it was, then Joe “Lucy” Biden has some splaining to do.

  15. Wade says:

    This is the U.S. We should not have kings. Let the civil servants drive in regular cars and regular traffic like everyone else. We have yet to have a president (let alone a VP) whose life is more valuable than the rights of citizens to use their roads unimpeded.

  16. Bob in Texas says:

    Why does the Vice-President need such an overwhelming security presence anyway? How would the national security of the United States be affected if something were to happen to the VP? He has no constitutional duties (unless there’s the rare tie in the Senate). Seriously, he needs “protection” no more than a cabinet secretary at best and probably lower than that provided to Supreme Court justices.

  17. Holdfast says:

    Tolbert – look at the markings on the street – that’s not in the USA or Canada for sure. It could be Germany, but the G-Wagon is popular with law enforcement and para-military forces all over.

  18. Jeffers son Ian says:

    New bumper sticker;
    “Joe Bidens motorcade has killed more people than my guns.”
    Too soon? Not soon enough?

  19. former DC resident says:

    Living in DC close to the VP’s residence, we used to suffer through the motorcade frequently, as it blazed past our building, sirens blaring. After Cheney went off to retirement, I was hoping Joe Amtrak would have something more modest. After all, who wants to off uncle Joe? Certainly not as many as want to do away with Cheney. But alas, money, and carbon footprints, only matter for the little people.

  20. Some Angry Commuter says:

    Biden is INFAMOUS in DC for driving his motorcade through the middle of the city (say, all the way down Pennsylvania Ave) during RUSH HOUR. You see, when he drives by, the police block every intersection he is going to cross, for 10 minutes before and after. Result? It takes the average commuter an hour to get through the gridlock. It’s ok, Joe, you take your 5:30 joyride, we didn’t want to see our families before 8:00. Oh, and in case you were thinking, “Doesn’t WTOP report all those intersections are closed?”, the answer is no. See, the Secret Service (SS) don’t want Mr. Big Time’s location reported, so the commuters are thrown into a sprawling maelstrom of traffic because Biden is so full of himself, he has to shut down the roads hundreds of thousands of people commute on so he can make a Hill visit.

    It warms this Dem’s heart to remember that nothing is permanent in this city.

    In case you didn’t catch my drift, Joe Biden is an asshole.

  21. Tulsa Jack says:

    Motorcades should be for ceremonial occasions – parades only. A train of fancy cars and motorcycles is not for routine travel. So-called “public servants” like Plagarizin’ Joe Biden, not to mention the Exalted Kenyan, who obviously revel in this grand display of power and privilege at taxpayer expense, are warped egotists with delusions of grandeur. They think winning a democratic election grants them a patent of nobility. Not in America it doesn’t. Don’t know what it’s gonna take to rein in these upstart puppies, but it sure is time to tighten the leash.