Even though it will take Barack Obama less than a minute to recite the oath of office, his lavish celebration will cost more than $160 million and required a state of emergency to be declared in the District of Columbia.
In 2005, the International Herald Tribune (the “global edition of the New York Times) found spending $40 million for President Bush’s second inauguration to be “disquieting“:
Still, aspects of the inaugural are disquieting. For instance, historians have noted that the ceremonies have frequently been muted in time of war, notably by Woodrow Wilson in 1917 and Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1945. Two Democratic congressmen have informed colleagues that Roosevelt gave a short speech in the White House and served guests “cold chicken salad and plain pound cake.”
The Associated Press reminds us that in 2005, Democrat Congress critters Anthony Weiner and Jim McDermott, asked President 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.
Where are the disquiet and the demands to be more circumspect now? We are still at war, and as Obama likes to say we are “in the midst of a crisis unlike any we have seen in our lifetime.” Do we hear calls for a short speech and cold chicken salad? No, instead the Democrats’ Obamafest requires a state of emergency and $170 million. As for the recession, the Democrats’ solution is the same as their solution for every problem — throw more money at it.