Monstrous $1.1 million bus for Obama campaign

Folks in the Midwest are lining up along highways to catch a view of the most sought after vehicle of the week. It’s not a souped-up sports car or the latest in biofuel engineering. It doesn’t even have a sick spoiler.

It’s Obama’s million dollar tour bus and it’s making people think twice about the president’s plan on saving America.

Despite ongoing acknowledgments that the country is on hard times and millions are without jobs, US President Barack Obama is in the midst of a Midwest tour this week in the luxury of a $1.1 million behemoth of a bus outfitted with the bells and whistles that’d make even the most royal of rock stars blush.

Funded by tax payer dollars, “Ground Force One” is a bulky bus outfitted with dark tinted windows, flashing sirens and a not-so-nighttime-friendly paint job of jet black. Hemphill Brothers of Whites Creek, Tenn. manufactured the bus for the White House, and though details about the interior aspects of the righteous ride — as well as the security features — go undisclosed, Ed Donovan of the Secret Service tells The New York Times, “You can assume that most of these things have a security component.”

Gizmos and gadgets for sure, but is it more Batmobile or Popemobile for Barack and his crew as they cavort around the Midwest this week as part of a caravan that calls for other cars to protect the president from campaign stop to campaign stop? Between the $1.1 million price tag and having to pay preposterous prices at the pumps, is it the best idea for the president to be parading around in his personal stagecoach?

And if you thought $1.1 million was bad, double it; the US government has bought two of these vehicles. The other will serve as a transport for the Republican presidential candidate that vies for the 2012 vote.

Donovan adds to The Times that the Secret Service was “overdue” for having an asset like “Stagecoach,” the big-brother to the presidential limo “The Beast.”

Speaking of overdue, how is that road to recovery coming, Obama? I suppose it’s not as long as you might think when you’re riding in the equivalent of a Learjet on land.

To put that price tag into better perspective, the town of Waveland, MS is making plans to disband their police force for the rest of their year due to a fiscal shortfall of, you guessed it, $1.1 million. Or the president could have coughed up $1.1 million instead on perhaps a thriftier ride. For that price, the commander in chief could have chartered a fleet of over three hundred 2000 Geo Metro two-door hatchbacks.

Then again, a copy of Spider Man #1 also sold for $1.1 million recently, so I suppose there are worse things the government could be spending American money on.

The Hemphill Brothers have previously outfitted touring busses for clients such as Aersomith and Nsync, as well as the likes of Ricky Martin, Britney Spears and “Weird Al” Yankovic. While those entertainers might have been afforded the lap of luxury by way of million-copy selling records and Grammy awards aplenty, they also weren’t boasting that they could save a nation from the brink of bankruptcy.

Meanwhile on the right, Republican contender Michele Bachmann is taking a tour of her own in a custom-fitted bus. Her ride, however, is a leftover from last election’s campaign; Bachmann is bussing it in the vehicle that John McCain used while parading around in 2008.

Though it might cost a pretty penny, “Stagecoach” isn’t the most extravagant of cross-country couriers. Classic rockers Led Zeppelin invested $230,000 into leasing a Boeing 720-022 back in 1973 to get them through two tours of the States and outfitted it with televisions, a wet bar and an electronic organ. Adjusted for inflation today, that price tag oddly enough comes to just over $1.1 million.

And to think: Obama didn’t even write “Stairway to Heaven.”

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