All number of misleading headlines and tweets today about an incident involving Vice President Joe Biden's motorcade in New York yesterday.
First, the facts. The car in question was a "route" car driven by a police officer. In large motorcades, "route" precedes the "command" car and "lead" car by about five minutes. (In Washington, D.C., officers call it the "Five Minute Car.")
Inside the route car were two police officers and two members of Vice President Biden's political advance team. There were no United States Secret Service agents involved. And a cab driver is said to have caused the crash.
Earlier this week, a woman drove her car into a police car that was providing intersection control for a Biden motorcade in Albuquerque, NM. A deputy was injured.
A week ago, two Secret Service employees were driving the Biden motorcade limo and the armored follow-up suburban back from Andrews Air Force Base. One of the cars struck and killed a pedestrian. Biden had already motorcaded back home. These employees were not agents; there were not driving in a motorcade; they were simply rebasing the cars.
What do these three incidents have in common? Well, they are connected through Joe Biden in name only. Motorcades are unusual and confusing even in New York City, and accidents, usually involving police escorts, can happen. Some of them have been fatal.
To blame Joe Biden for any of this -- to suggest that he is guilty of "vehicular homicide" -- is transparently absurd. (The Weekly Standard's Michael Goldfarb tweeted: "Glad Joe Biden has time to do the Daily Show between managing the war in Iraq, the stimulus, and the vehicular homicide.")
Criticism of the VP's schedule is fair game. But to imply that his political campaigning is responsible for causing mayhem makes less sense than an episode of FlashForward and is dubiously provocative simply for the sake of being provocative.
It's also wrong to "blame" the Secret Service for somehow causing three accidents in the space of a week and a half. The Service was involved in precisely one accident -- a horrible accident -- but it had nothing to do with the process by which Biden is afforded security.
The media might try to find a pattern here, but there is no pattern -- no single strand that links these incidents together, other than unfortunate happenstance.
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