Skip to comments.Owner of campaign bus company: Secret Service hurting my business ("The Obama Effect")
Posted on 08/22/2011 2:50:51 AM PDT by markomalley
President Obama took off on a road trip across the Midwest last week in a brand new government-owned bus to talk with ordinary people about getting the economy going again.
But Johnny Williams, an Alabama businessman who makes a living by leasing these kinds of buses to political figures, said the Obama tour was just a painful reminder of how the government is doing things that could hurt his business.
Thats because this is the first presidential election where the incumbent president and the eventual Republican nominee will have the option of using a Secret Service-owned bus for campaign tours instead of leasing one from someone like Williams. Earlier this year, the Secret Service, citing security concerns, purchased two buses of their own for this purpose.
The government went into competition with me, Williams lamented to The Daily Caller. Something is not right, or fair about this.
Williams, whose company John L. Productions has leased buses to presidential campaigns since 1988, fears he could now lose business over it.
This eliminates the need for my services, he said, thus killing off another small business owner.
In the past, the Secret Service would pay to install extra security features on buses candidates under their protection would lease from people like Williams.
His companys history of driving around presidents and presidential candidates span from George H.W. Bush in 1988 to John McCain in 2008. Other candidates who have used his buses include Pat Robertson, Pat Buchanan, Bob Dole, Steve Forbes, George W. Bush, Gary Bauer, John Edwards, John Kerry and Sam Brownback.
In an interview, Ed Donovan, a spokesman for the Secret Service, said the buses were purchased to offer those under their protection the option of using a more secure bus.
Were not trying to hurt anybodys business, Donovan responded.
Donovan also pointed out that its possible for Obama or the Republican nominee to lease a bus from someone like Williams instead of using one owned by the Secret Service.
The President of the United States doesnt have to get into a vehicle we have, he said. I mean, he could say, I want to drive in a convertible. But we have to make recommendations based on our intelligence, our information and our experience. And thats what we go with.
Williams said hell make the pitch to candidates that theres an advantage to leasing a bus from him, instead of using the governments bus. For one thing, they cant display campaign logos on the all-black Secret Service bus, he pointed out.
Its government property, Donovan said. Its the same as one of our limousines. You never see anything on the side of one of our cars.
The Secret Service purchased their two new buses from the Tennessee-based Hemphill Brothers Coach Company. The Daily Caller was unable to reach the owners at Hemphill Brothers, a competitor to Williams business. A woman who answered the phone at the companys office refused to give her name but said the company isnt commenting on the issue.
Watergate on wheels
Utter unfounded speculation on your part.
That makes it even worse — a Secret Service agent suggesting that the President ride in a convertible.
In the past, the Secret Service has leased buses, adding protective armor and advanced communications capabilities that must be stripped from the buses to restore them to their original condition before they are returned. It was an expensive practice, costing tens of thousands of dollars per month, Donovan said, and the Secret Service expects the new buses will ultimately save money over time.
Well, heck yeah. Never mind that the SS offer of this black mortuary can precludes the application of graphics identifying the challenger and making it indistinguishable from Obama's Debt Star. Screw that First Amendment thingie, it's so eighteenth century.
And here's the other thing to keep in mind. Incumbent presidents of both parties have secretly taped conversations with the tacit approval of the Ss. Can you doubt that given the Patriot Act and the current Homeland Security lap dog won't be tempted to bug the opposition bus?
Only the government can figure it makes sense to spend over a million dollars to avoid spending tens of thousands of dollars for a few months every four years.
It warms my heart to see some leech on the government tit fall off. They really squeal really, really loud when it happens.
Then, they are forced to join the COMPETITIVE PRIVATE economy to survive.
Only a Republican who wants to throw the general election would do that. These loser cruisers are now toxic. They are an example of "stimulus spending" gone awry. No Republican challenger who wants to win the election will be in the same state as one of these buses at any point in time.
Ann Archy wrote:
Sooooooo, the Republican nominee gets that Burgundy bus to ride around in??????
By allowing these things to be so purely political and rolling them out so soon, the Secret Service messed up. These things should have been unveiled at the conventions in 2012. They should have been American made, as much as possible with as much domestic content as we can get. They should have been more frugal with taxpayer money, and the actual savings and payback time should be published, and it should make financial sense. Claims that "this will save money in the long run" are so vague as to be meaningless. Over how long a period? The story is that the Secret Service spent "tens of thousands of dollars" modifying leased buses for security. It takes a lot of years, spending tens of thousands of dollars every four years, to burn through $1.1 million. I'm skeptical that this move made any kind of financial sense.
I'd also like to see the request for bids and specifications for the original open bid contract for acquiring these "debt stars." If this wasn't a competitive bid situation, and if the guy complaining in this article was somehow unable to bid on this business, even though he had previously leased his motor coaches to candidates, then something is wrong. This could have been a $2 million payoff to a supporter. If we had any investigative reporters left in the Propaganda Ministry (formerly "the press" or "the media"), some of them would be investigating this. Since they are all Obama cheerleaders, it will not be looked at, except maybe by right wing bloggers.
You're jumping to some conclusions here. Even the article has statements that say you are overstating things.
Obama also saved or created a job in Canada with the purchase of those two busses.
Note, no job in AMERICA was stimulated by Obamas actions in this.
An American company (in Tennessee) did the customization and modifications for the Secret Service. These buses weren't put into service exactly as they rolled off the assembly line in Quebec.
I wonder whether any American companies bid on this deal with American made motor coaches. We do have some domestic producers who compete with Prevost.
That remains to be seen. Unless someone in the Propaganda Ministry (formerly"the press") starts asking real questions, we won't know.
This is one case where theres nothing to complain about.
When the SS rented buses, they would rent the bus, modify it for better security, unmodify it at the end of the campaign, and then turn it back over to the rental company.
Buying the buses saves vast amounts of money over time.
I seriously doubt that the payoff period on these motor coaches, compared to lease/modify/unmodify/return costs, is anything short of decades. It takes a long time, spending $10K to $50K for modifications and restoration, to burn through $1.1 million, which was the cost of each of these loser cruisers.
I've been thinking that exact same thing.
We would probably be surprised by the number of companies that survive off the government.
That’s right! It is Sarah Palin’s FAULT!
I am not surprised at all.
For example...think of how many CPA’s, bookkeepers, Tax Attorneys, software companies, and a whole host of other businesses that would not be in business if it not for the need of their services to comply, report and defend against the pen of government.
As the government creates a single regulation, tens of thousands of new “jobs” are created. The shame is that none of “the new jobs” were needed BEFORE the regulation was penned.
"the Secret Service expects the new buses will ultimately save money over time."IOW, they are much more expensive than lease and mod.
20 years or longer. Which is ridiculous. Because buses in 10 years will be much improved over current, and buses in 20 years vastly improved. But in order to get the pay off from the Obama Mortuary Wagons we'd have to be running these damned buses with 2011 technology in 2031 and maybe even until 2041!
cc2k be didth wroyte:
seriously doubt that the payoff period on these motor coaches, compared to lease/modify/unmodify/return costs, is anything short of decades. It takes a long time, spending $10K to $50K for modifications and restoration, to burn through $1.1 million, which was the cost of each of these loser cruisers.
Leasing makes sense.
Don't tell Obama he could buy an airplane to fly his bus around in...