Thursday, January 15, 2009

President-elect Obama's inauguration will be the costliest in history

"It is believed President-elect Obama's inauguration will be the costliest in history — around $50 million — despite the recession. President Bush has declared a state of emergency to free up federal funds to help the district cope with the soaring cost of the event.

There has been little outcry over the hefty price tag so far — unlike four years ago when the cost of President Bush's second inauguration provoked liberal outrage. described the event, in an piece by Eric Boehlert on Jan. 20, 2005, as "Bush's overblown celebration," the think tank Center for American Progress called it "lifestyles of the rich and heartless," and an article in the London Guardian by Paul Harri on January 9, 2005, said it was "an unashamed celebration of red America's victory over blue America. ...

Inaugural planners are trying to create the most environmentally-friendly event to date. The Hill newspaper reports the committee plans to deploy 6,000 volunteers to pick up recycling along the parade route. The oath of office will be recited on a recycled carpet.

And there are even plans to recycle the manure from horses walking in the parade. But Brian Darling of the conservative Heritage Foundation says, "you're going to have people flying in on their private jets, limousines and SUVs cruising around Washington... the recycled carpet and all of that probably makes everybody feel better and they can feel like they have a green inaugural ceremony, but in reality it's not."

from Fox News

"Four years ago, the Associated Press and others in the press suggested it was in poor taste for Republicans to spend $40 million on President Bush’s inauguration. AP writer Will Lester calculated the impact that kind of money would have on armoring Humvees in Iraq, helping victims of the tsunami, or paying down the deficit. Lester thought the party should be cancelled: “The questions have come from Bush supporters and opponents: Do we need to spend this money on what seems so extravagant?

Fast forward to 2009. The nation is still at war (two wars, in fact), and now also faces the prospect of a severe recession and federal budget deficits topping $1 trillion as far as the eye can see. With Barack Obama’s inauguration estimated to cost $45 million (not counting the millions more that government will have to pay for security), is the Associated Press once again tsk-tsking the high dollar cost?

Nope. “For inaugural balls, go for glitz, forget economy,” a Tuesday AP headline advised. The article by reporter Laurie Kellman argued for extravagance....

....."This is a time to celebrate. This is a great moment. Do not dress down. Do not wear the Washington uniform," said Tim Gunn, a native Washingtonian and Chief Creative Officer at Liz Claiborne, Inc.

"Just because the economy is in a downturn, it doesn't mean that style is going to be in a downturn," agreed Ken Downing, fashion director for Neiman Marcus.

And if anyone does raise an eyebrow at those sequins, remind them that optimism is good for times like these. "Just say you're doing it to help the economy," chuckled good manners guru Letitia Baldridge. .....

To get a real feel for the contrast, here’s an excerpt of Lester’s January 13, 2005 piece (as recounted in the MRC’s CyberAlert), starting with a lede designed to rain all over Bush’s parade and including the suggestion from two liberal Democrats that Bush eat cold chicken salad and pound cake instead:

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.

■ A down payment on the nation’s deficit, which hit a record-breaking $412 billion last year....

...."As a country, we face huge deficits. We face a declining economy. We have service people dying. We face responsibilities to help those suffering from the...devastation of the tsunamis," he wrote on his blog, a Web journal.

Cuban challenged Bush to set an example: "Start by canceling your inauguration parties and festivities."

Obviously, that’s not the media’s message to Barack Obama this year. And no one in the press is going to argue that, with the nation at war, the new President should be satisfied with cold chicken salad and pound cake."

from: Newsbusters

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