When George Bush spent $40 million on his inaugural celebration he was castigated for his profligacy at a time when we were at wars and the homeless needed cable -ready television sets. The Messiah’s party will cost $150 million, we’re still at war, the economy isn’t doing so well and now the homeless need digital conversion boxes, but that’s okay because he ain’t the ol’ Debbil’ Bush.
In 2005, Reps. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., and Jim McDermott, D-Wash., asked Bush to show a little less pomp and be a little more circumspect at his party.
“President Roosevelt held his 1945 inaugural at the White House, making a short speech and serving guests cold chicken salad and plain pound cake,” the two lawmakers wrote in a letter. “During World War I, President Wilson did not have any parties at his 1917 inaugural, saying that such festivities would be undignified.”
The thinking was that, with the nation at war, excessive celebration was inappropriate. Four years later, the nation is still at war. Unemployment has risen sharply. And Obama pressed Congress to release the second half of a $700 billion bailout package in hopes of rescuing a faltering banking industry.
Obama’s inauguration committee says it is mindful of the times and is not worried people will see the four days of festivities as excessive.
“That is probably not the way the country is going to be looking at it,” said committee spokeswoman Linda Douglass. “It is not a celebration of an election. It is a celebration of our common values.”
Douglass said the campaign sought to keep costs down by having the same decorations at each of the 10 balls, eliminating floral arrangements and negotiating prices on food.
Wow; if this is what they call being careful with our money, just imagine how they’ll care for the extra trillion they’re taking from us this year.