Alternate title: WWLD? (What Would Lincoln Do?)
It's a passing of the torch, literally in Iran, where they've switched out their Bush effigies and have set fire to new Obama ones. Here, preparations are underway for the most expensive inaugural celebrations in our country's history: the swearing-in of Barack Obama.
Sister Toldjah writes:
I can appreciate a well-planned, well-orchestrated presidential inauguration as much as the next person, but things are getting out of hand and over the top.
Her list of what she deems as out-of-control, Lincoln-obsessed details is impressive, as is Jules Crittenden's list of all things Obamauguration.
The price keeps increasing and today it was reported that while Obama has managed to raise $30 million to cover the costs of the affair, other monies will come from private donors, but the American taxpayer will be picking up the bulk of the tab, $50 million dollars. The gross cost is $150 million dollars when the public and privately-funded balls are factored into the equation.
Wait - aren't we in a recession? Dire economic times? Isn't the environment hurting? I'm just wondering about the flight tabs, gas bills, tickets for trains, buses - not to mention the resources used to get everyone there.
Bush had to declare a state-of-emergency just to appropriate more funds to cover the soaring cost of increased transportation and security.
Wall Street, automakers, and even porn lined up for a bailout, why not the inaugural committee? Perhaps it's all part of the "Spend Our Way Out" economic bailout stimulus plan. Though, oddly, that exact approach was criticized when it was presented as a way to sustain our economy post 9/11, but I digress.
Lizzi at The Bitten Word notes the irony:
See that big red banner up there reflecting an estimated [sic] of our national debt? Yeah, that one.
Bush's 2005 inauguration cost $40 million in comparison, and I am not exaggerating when I say that the media lost their minds over it. Some of the many choice quotes:
“Many have wondered whether, given the war and all of our security challenges right now, it’s appropriate to have a lavish and expensive inaugural celebration?”
— ABC’s Claire Shipman to Laura Bush in a taped interview shown on the January 20 Good Morning America.
“President Bush’s second inauguration will cost tens of millions of dollars — $40 million alone in private donations for the balls, parade and other invitation-only parties. With that kind of money, what could you buy?
■ 200 armored Humvees with the best armor for troops in Iraq.
■ Vaccinations and preventive health care for 22 million children in regions devastated by the tsunami.
“On World News Tonight/Sunday,President Bush prepares for his second inauguration. In a time of war and natural disaster, is it time for a lavish celebration?”
— ABC’s Terry Moran on World News Tonight, January 16.
The Associated Press wasn't to be left out:
The questions have come from Bush supporters and opponents: Do we need to spend this money on what seems so extravagant?
Not to be outdone, Salon ballyhooed the security concerns and absolutely tore Bush's inauguration to shreds:
And it might have been helpful in the limited media debate that did take place about the inauguration's costs to point out that if the $40 million to $50 million raised for the GOP's parties had been donated to the war effort, as some have suggested, the money would have covered only about six hours of the U.S. military's operations in Iraq.
Oh, and don't forget ABC's dirty trick:
“For a possible Inauguration Day story on ABC News, we are trying to find out if there any military funerals for Iraq war casualties scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 20. If you know of a funeral and whether the family might be willing to talk to ABC News, please fill out the form below.”
—Announcement posted on the ABC News Web site on January 19 and captured by blogger John Hinderaker.
Because our media and related criticism are borne of a desire for fairness, I expected nothing short of the same critiques for this, a financially record-breaking inauguration at a time when we're fighting a war on terror, when our economy is sluggish, when Gaza is exploding.
Tuesday's AP headline by Laurie Kellman:
“For inaugural balls, go for glitz, forget economy." [via]
For crying out loud. Journalists are usually such famewhores; they're willing to shortcut their way to super bylinedom by writing some acidic prose on the heinousness of governmental excess instead of toiling in the trenches and building up skill and cred; I've been hard-pressed to find any of those lot on the subject of the 2009 inauguration costs.
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