Something about this bugs me a bit:
SANTA MONICA, CALIF. — When Barack Obama’s White House campaign learned last week the candidate would get Secret Service protection, “one of the first questions,” said spokesman Robert Gibbs, was whether they could provide “a flexible fuel car.”
It’s not clear yet if the Secret Service will insist on gas guzzlers. “We’re working with the Secret Service to find out what the possibilities are,” Gibbs said.
If it can work out, fine. But I’m pretty sure the Secret Service operates with one primary goal, high above all others: Protect the lawmaker. That means bulletproof doors and windows, an engine powerful enough to go real fast when necessary, and presumably, enough weight to crash through a barrier if necessary. I don’t mind if the Service can get all that and fuel efficiency, or eco-friendliness. But how long until there’s a technological development that calls for a trade-off? A little less speed, a little less weight?
How long until some environmentalist calls on those with Secret Service protection to sacrifice a little security for some green benefit? How long until there is pressure on, say, Al Gore to make that trade-off?
UPDATE: Of course, a reader notes, Obama is holding the Secret Service to a higher standard of environmental compliance than… (ahem) Mrs. Obama.
OBAMA: Well, no, it’s more in my campaign. It’s the car that I drive around with for the most — I only have one personal car. That’s Michelle’s car. And the car that we drive most of the time that I’m in is a flexible fuel vehicle.
QUESTION: OK, Michelle’s car is not?
OBAMA: It’s an old one.