Remember when Steven Seagal made a whole series of B-movies with titles designed to read with his name above them? Steven Seagal is — Out for Justice! Steven Seagal is — Above the Law! Well, Barack Obama has more in common with Seagal than you might think. According to the Hill, Barack Obama is — Above the Law … at least when it comes to wearing his seatbelt:
Does President Obama wear a seatbelt in his presidential limo? He is supposed to, but there are indications that he doesn’t. …
But it is noteworthy that the Secret Service took more than three years to answer a relatively straightforward FOIA query.
In a heavily redacted eight-page response, the Secret Service states that it is the “driver’s responsibility to ensure that each occupant is provided with a functioning seat belt, and that the belts are securely fastened prior to moving the vehicle.”
But it’s hard to imagine a Secret Service agent ordering the commander in chief to put his belt on. And in a March 2010 photo released by the White House, Obama is clearly not wearing his seatbelt while he talks on the phone in the presidential limo.
Here’s the pic:
The shoulder harness clearly hasn’t been engaged, and it’s unlikely that this action photo was taken in the White House driveway. There are cars visible in the rear window, so the President is in traffic, and he’s not buckled up — which in Washington DC would mean a $50 fine and higher insurance premiums. Of course, Obama could force insurers to accept non-bucklers as a pre-existing condition at community pricing … but I digress.
Certainly this is not the equivalent of Watergate in terms of a President considering himself above the law. However, Jon Corzine nearly died in a motorcade wreck a few years ago while Governor of New Jersey in part because he didn’t wear his seatbelt as required, and both Obama and Biden have had accidents occur in their motorcades over the last couple of years, so it’s not exactly nothing, either. We may not like Obama’s policies and tactics, but we don’t want to see a President end up as a traffic fatality by neglecting something as basic as buckling a seatbelt. Come on, man.
Update: One of our commenters notes that George Bush got caught not using a seatbelt, which is never smart, but it was also on his private ranch. Seatbelt laws only apply on public roads — and for that matter, licensing and registration laws only apply on public roads, too. No one gets $50 tickets and two points deducted from their license for failing to buckle up on private property.
Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at [email protected] with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.
Illustrations by Chris Muir of Day by Day. Be sure to read the adventures of Sam, Zed, Damon, and Jan every day!