Tales from the Trail

Looking under the hood of “Cadillac” usage in healthcare debate

For car buffs, “Cadillac” and healthcare are probably not a natural mix, even in the context of financing.

For healthcare debaters, “Cadillac” has come to describe high-end insurance plans that either need to be taxed or left alone depending on the viewpoint. GERMANY/

Well, according to several (online) dictionaries, the word Cadillac used in this manner is actually slang.

Cadillac, those dictionaries inform, is the name of the French founder of Detroit — Antoine Laumet de La Mothe Cadillac — after whom the luxury car was named.

Cadillac in the American psyche conjures up a symbol of success and luxury from a time when the long cars roamed the streets without worrying about gasoline prices — so perhaps the word has a bit of an old-fashioned ring now.

Is it a car, is it a tank? No, it’s the presidential limo

It’s one of the world’s most highly visible vehicles, but paradoxically also one of the most secret — the U.S. president’s armored Cadillac limousine.

USA/The Secret Service said on Wednesday a new presidential limousine would make its debut at President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration on Jan. 20. The car will likely take the new president from the U.S. Capitol down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House after the swearing-in ceremony.

“Although many of the vehicle’s security enhancements cannot be discussed, it is safe to say that this car’s security and coded communications systems make it the most technologically advanced protection vehicle in the world,” Nicholas Trotta, assistant director for the Office of Protective Operations, said in a statement.