The U.S.’s Royal Class

Radley Balko has a good post on how many of our politicians see themselves as being above the “little laws” that the rest of us peasants have to obey. It notes that the Royal Governor of the Principality of New Jersey managed to get himself hurt by having his motorcade blast down the freeway at 90+ miles per hour (Lord Corzine was late for a meeting with Don Imus and the Rutger’s womens basketball team after all). And now how after the accident Lord Corzine had his motorcade zipping away from the hospital at over 70+ miles per hour (posted speed limit is 55).

Following the links we get this blog post about how a DC motorcade caused a pretty bad accident.

There was a motorcade of some sort coming South on 16th Street NW. As it approached the intersection with V St. NW, the light was red for the motorcade. But it didn’t stop. The Cherokee, which had a green light and was merely going straight onto V St. NW, came into the path of the first of the oncoming police cruisers. It collided with the Cherokee.

After the collision, the police car ricocheted off the Cherokee and directly into the light pole. The Cherokee was hit so hard that it spun 270 degrees before lodging itself beneath the Budget truck.

So, basically, government fucks over yet another of its citizens. Just so that Dick Cheney or whomever could get home thirty seconds faster, this motorcade plowed into a citizen who was, unlike our leaders, law-abiding. We started speculating as to whom would pay the claim. Would the city pay the Cherokee driver’s expenses? Would his insurance have to cover it? Would his rates go up solely as the result of the police motorcade’s mistake?

060527royalpain-x.gif

Fortunately the injuries were minor, and in the case of Lord Corzine the only person he came close to killing was himself. But my guess is that sooner or later one of these Royal Motorcades will kill an innocent person who is obeying the law while one our Royal leaders is breaking the law to get to a dinner party or visit his mistress.

Addendum: Just thought I’d add that in the motorcade/accident linked above, the rest of the motorcade sped off leaving the scene of the accident.

FILED UNDER: Humor, Law and the Courts, US Politics, , ,
Steve Verdon
About Steve Verdon
Steve has a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and attended graduate school at The George Washington University, leaving school shortly before staring work on his dissertation when his first child was born. He works in the energy industry and prior to that worked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Division of Price Index and Number Research. He joined the staff at OTB in November 2004.

Comments

  1. While I am sure there are better methods of managing a motorcade than the one you noted, as a practical matter of security it cannot be a good idea for officials above a certain level to be sitting still at any intersection. Needless to say, I don’t think Governor of New Jersey qualifies for such a privilege, though the Vice President certainly does. Of course, when these privileges are seen as rights, it almost doesn’t matter who we are talking about as the privileged begin to conflate themselves with the offices they hold.

    As an aside, my oldest daughter will be graduating from high scool next year and has never not had a president named Bush or Clinton. I wonder if the same will be true when she graduates from college, or grad school, and whether enough people care about what this means for our democracy?

  2. Tlaloc says:

    What do we expect when we fete these people as if they were old world aristocrats.

    The White House has a highly paid chef on staff to make cakes. That’s it, just cakes. Oh sure they’re really nice cakes (judging by the pictures, haven’t been myself). Still you might stop to ask why it is the government feels the need to provide this service.

    Secret Service? Okay that makes sense. Air Force One? Sure, alright I can see a legitimate need in terms of security.

    Super happy fun time cake chef? No, I’m not buying that that in anyway helps the elected president do his job.

    Same thing in Congress.

    Why? Why do we allow this charade to go on? These people are supposed to be our peers, not our lords. Why do we have incredibly extravagent state dinners for foreign dignitaries? Does the posh and pomp really make diplomacy easier or is it simply a hold over from the very traditions of royalty and aristocracy that our country supposedly escaped?

  3. Maniakes says:

    The White House has an office staff of over 400 people, not counting security and household staff. Even apart from state dinners, it’s not unreasonable for them to have an in-house cafeteria staff large enough to have specialized chefs.

  4. Tlaloc says:

    The White House has an office staff of over 400 people, not counting security and household staff. Even apart from state dinners, it’s not unreasonable for them to have an in-house cafeteria staff large enough to have specialized chefs.

    The site I work at has a few thousand employees. We have two cafeterias. That’s perfectly reasonable. We do not have multiple four star chefs on staff. That would be insane. Having one dedicated to pastries would be beyond insane.

    You can read about the previous Pastry chef (and his dedicated pastry kitchen!) here:

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/chef/

  5. I don’t really mind high officials having motorcades and jets. However, I think it might be a good idea to put a minimum-wage worker in the seat begind the high official, and have him whisper stuff in his ear like “Remember that you put your pants on one leg at a time too.”

  6. Wayne says:

    I agree that the government especially the congress and the executive branch have gone overboard on many of these extravagant spending habits.

    An emergency vehicle or motorcade going through a red light is not necessary against the law. Neither is having a green light means someone can blast through an intersection without caution. It is a driver responsibility to watch for emergency vehicles among others things. Who was at fault or was law-abiding at this particular accident? There is not enough information to know. Anyone with the given information who claims otherwise is full of B.S.

    To vary the speed of a motorcade is a wise security measure. To constantly break the speed limit is not. My gut feeling is it is done more from elitist attitude than security reason.

  7. Steve Verdon says:

    I don’t really mind high officials having motorcades and jets. However, I think it might be a good idea to put a minimum-wage worker in the seat begind the high official, and have him whisper stuff in his ear like “Remember that you put your pants on one leg at a time too.”

    I don’t mind motorcades either…when they are reasonable. The President, Vice President, and possibly some others…okay. I can see the security issue. But blowing through a stop light? Sorry that is just moronic and abuse of power. Whomever was in that motorcade should be publicly flogged and if not that then stripped of his/her office. There is no excuse to flagrantly put other peoples lives in danger like that.

    I don’t mind a pastry chef either for the POTUS. I like pastries, and I imagine the POTUS can’t just go to his favorite pastry shop and pick up a box. So, okay no problem there. Beyond that it gets ridiculous when the Mayor of a city thinks he can ignore the law simply because he is the mayor.

  8. Steve Verdon says:

    Wayne,

    I agree in general, but I’ve seen emergency vehicles approach intersections with red lights. They slow down, they too look. Blowing through a red light at a high rate of speed even with sirens blaring and flashing strikes me as highly irresponsible and questionable. Given that most streets in DC probably have speed limits between 25 – 35 mph, it seems somewhat likely that the motorcade was going quite fast. As such, even a prudent driver might have gotten T-boned by a cop cruiser going 55 + mph.

  9. Michael says:

    To constantly break the speed limit is not. My gut feeling is it is done more from elitist attitude than security reason.

    Indeed, thats the reason all of us speed, isn’t it?

    Seriously though, for an article attacking politicians for acting different than us common folks, you managed to come up with them doing something that all of us common folks do almost all the time.

    Bravo.

  10. Wayne says:

    Micheal
    If I get caught speeding through a red light by the police, I get a ticket. I tend not to do that. Yes, I speed sometimes. The 70 in 55 didn’t seem like that big of deal to me except the hypocrisy considering the speech the politician just gave.

    Steve
    I don’t agree that 25 — 35 MPH is that fast but you may have just been referring to how fast you thought the motorcade was going. I once saw a fire truck slow down then proceed through an intersection then get hit near its tail end by a driver who had no excuse for not seeing it. I’ve seen inexcusable speed by emergency vehicles going through intersection as well. In the case stated above, I simply don’t see any solid facts one way or the other. Spinning a vehicle 270 degrees is not that hard.

  11. Steve Verdon says:

    Michael,

    It isn’t the speeding, it is the notion that they feel they can speed and that it is their right. As Wayne says, if I speed and get caught I get a ticket, they just add another cop car to their motorcade.

    Wayne,

    No, I wasn’t saying 25 – 35 was fast, but that was likely the posted speed limit. Usually in urban settings like DC, and based on my memory of DC most streets probably had speed limits in that range. Hence going 55 mph in such an environment would be reckless, IMO. At any rate I’m sure that is what I’d probably get nailed with it if was me blasting through a red light like that. Granted I’m not a police officer, but a motorcade isn’t an emergency either. Sending a couple of cars or motorcycle cops ahead to handle such situations would seem like the best solution.

  12. Arcs says:

    You can read about the previous Pastry chef (and his dedicated pastry kitchen!) here:

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/chef/

    I especially liked the Barney as Dessert video.

    As for speeding motorcades, I would personally hope they would be speeding. I only lived in NoVa for a year, driving the Leesburg Pike from Reston into McLean for my daily commute but that was long enough to know this: a motorcade driving the speed limit during normal traffic flow is an impediment to normal traffic flow.