Limousine Liberals: Why Has the Number of Government-Owned Limos Jumped 73 Percent in 2 Years of Obama?
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To save some face, the State Department released a statement that limos, many of which protect against attack, are deployed by overseas diplomats and in the United States by Secretary of State Clinton and "distinguished foreign visitors." While it may seem intuitive that the use of limos in countries with anti-Western sentiment could strengthen this animosity, the department said its Obama-era increase in armored limos is "both in proportion to the increased threat to diplomats serving overseas and is in proportion to the increase number of diplomats we have serving in high-threat environments."
Instead of defining a limousine as an extraordinarily long vehicle with tinted windows and champagne on ice, the State Department said it calls any vehicle that carries a VIP or "other protectee" a limousine. Cars considered limos based on this functional definition do not, however, lack luxury. The State Department also said most of its limos are Cadillac DTSs. Pre-government pimping, these sexy VIP transporters cost taxpayers more than 60,000 for a 2011 base model. Why not Plexiglas a Kia?
The State Department also takes good care of ambassadors in countries where vehicles are right-hand drive. For them, the department said it a purchased a limited number of 7-Series BMWs, without which, adjusting to opposite-side driving must be impossible.
The increase in limos comes just as the Obama administration is working to up its green energy credibility by focusing on the federal fleet. On Tuesday, Obama released a presidential memorandum that requires agencies to purchase only alternative fuel vehicles by 2015 and limits executive fleets to mid-sized and smaller cars.
Because the government can slap a safety clause on pretty much anything, do not expect to see a federal fleet of used Hondas anytime soon. Exceptions like "where larger sedans are essential to the agency mission" and the exemption of law enforcement and security vehicles (those mentioned above) leave plenty of room for limousines. According to a March report by the GAO, in 2009, the federal government used 963,000 gallons on its 600,000 vehicles a day, and spent $1.9 billion on new rides that year.
In a nod to the government's serial justification of spending with terrorism and security, Paige, of CAGW, called the new federal limos "one more reason why there is so much cynicism in the public about what goes on in Washington." The VA and Government Printing Office did not respond to calls for comment, and the Obama administration has yet to respond to the report.