Not Down and Out in Paris and London


This website, not noted for its reliability, yet has an interesting item about the cost of vice president Joe Biden’s recent trip to London and Paris where it says that the cost for two nights came to $1 million. Why so high? Because he had an entourage that required 136 rooms in London and over 100 rooms in Paris and they were staying at expensive hotels to begin with.

I am not interested in the actual numbers but I was reminded of the 1962 film Advise and Consent that I watched just a couple of months ago. In one scene, we see the vice-president returning to Washington DC after giving a talk in New York City. He travels alone on a commercial flight and sits with all the other passengers. When they reach DC, he carries his own stuff and gets his own car from the parking lot to go home.

That seemed like a different world. I have no idea if that was a realistic portrayal of the state of affairs in 1962 though there was no reason for the filmmakers to not be realistic. This was, of course, just before the assassination of president Kennedy and it may be that that event triggered a massive increase in security for all manner of people. But we now have the spectacle of all manner of people going around with large entourages, as if the size of it was a measure of one’s importance.

This is why the behavior of the president of Uruguay and even pope Francis in cutting back on these things is a welcome development.

Comments

  1. slc1 says

    Unfortunately, Prof. Singham is correct that the assassination of President Kennedy led to a massive increase in security for both the president and vice-president. This is particularly true for the current incumbent against whom the threats of assassination fueled by racism are, it is my understanding, the most numerous in history. They apparently exceed even the threats against President Johnson because of the very unpopular Vietnam War. Before he bowed out of the 1968 race, he was virtually confined to the White House in DC and his Ranch in Texas.

    Before making judgments on the vice-president’s entourage, I think we would have to know who all accompanied him and what service they performed.

    By the way, I expect that the security for the president during his recent trip to Israel and Ramallah probably was the highest in history. Just think of what the consequences would be for the PA or the Government of Israel if he had been assassinated in either of their jurisdictions. As I understand it, the Government of Israel mobilized some 10,000 police and military personnel while the PA mobilized almost their entire police forces to insure security.

  2. Seeing/analyzing says

    Has anyone else noticed that the same wingnuts screaming about applying “second amendment solutions” against our POTUS are also the ones screaming about the cost of his security detail to keep him alive?

  3. northstar says

    Way back when, as part of my job I had to scope out secure limo service for a visiting Russian diplomat. So I tried to find which one the President would use when he came to town. To my surprise, I found the presidential limousine is specially made and armored, and flown from location to location with the President. I would imagine this goes for the VP as well. The cost for this has got to be enormous, and I have recently heard flogged on conservative sites the outrageous travel costs of the President and VP. I have to think that these costs are probably absolutely typical, as my experience predates Obama by about 20 years.

    Oh, yeah, here’s something from fact check org to that effect:http://www.factcheck.org/2011/07/the-traveling-president/

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