To the People

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or TO THE PEOPLE.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

You Never Forget Your First Motorcade

Every Washingtonian, admit it or not, thinks the motorcade is cool. It is a pain when you are stuck in traffic, but instead of worrying that a piece of the Big Dig will fall on your car or idling on an LA or Dallas freeway you see the president or vice president zoom by.

My first motorcade was in in 1998 when I had just moved to the District. I stood on the median on Connecticut Avenue, waiting in anticipation to see why the police had closed all of the streets, and saw Bill and Hillary ride by lit by their backseat light, chatting merrily on their way home from some embassy dinner, Hillary in a red dress and Bill in a tux. My first motorcade. In the Clinton days, motorcades were frequent, as Bill was social and was as likely to be having dinner on my block as he was to be eating at the White House. Plus, my office was on the 1700 block of Pennsylvania so I saw all the comings and goings.

Then came Bush. Bush does not socialize and with 9/11 the Secret Service seemed to prefer Marine One. I did see Cheney once, his tell-tale Bill Cowher-esque jaw jutting from the limo on Pennsylvania Ave, but only got my first Bush sighting last year. Tonight I had another one, on Connecticut Avenue, so now they are two.

The presidential motorcade is awesome. The MPD (not the underworked, overpaid and incompetent Capitol Police but the underworked, overpaid and incompetent MPD) come out in force and close all of the nearby streets. Then the motorcade comes roaring down, first six MPD motorcycles then two black sedans, then the presidential limousine, then a couple of black Town Cars with aides or security, then the scary black box truck with a SWAT team and surface-to-air missles, then the ambulance. The ambulance gives it away, as no one else gets that. It is sort of creepy, like who would want to be president if you had to be followed by an ambulance?

I would make a good terrorist, if only I had the inclination, as I have had some amazing proximity. In my two Bush motorcade stops, both times I was the first car before the cop car block. The Secret Service wisely made me kill my engine but the MPD did not and I could have easily gotten around them. Also, I literally bumped into Rumsfeld one night at Smith & Wollensky and got into a jam with Paul Wolfowitz a month or so ago at an ATM. I could have killed them in an instant had I been a terrorist. Plus, Marine One flies over my yard every Friday at 3 and returns every Sunday at 3 (I wish we could all cut out at 3 on Friday). All I need is a Stinger missle, but usually I am too busy watching football.

Do you think this post will make the Secret Service chase me?