Monday, January 19, 2009

Inaugural Irritations

I don’t know about the rest of you but I, for one, will be more than happy to see President-Elect Obama finally take the Oath of Office and become President Obama. Not because I think the man is going to be able to perform miracles and fix everything as soon as he sits behind the desk in the Oval Office but because I am sick to death of hearing about his inauguration and how it’s going to be the biggest party ever which comes along with the biggest price tag ever – a price tag four times higher than that of the most costly inaugurations of the past.

Nothing for nothing here, folks, but it doesn't seem right to me that with the entire country in an economic recession and people losing their jobs, their homes, their retirement plans, and everything else in between that over $160 million is being spent on Tuesday’s inauguration. What is wrong with this picture? Am I the only one who thinks this is complete and total craziness?

According to news sources, $35 million was raised by Obama for the inaugural committee - which normally pays for inaugural celebrations - but unless my math skills are even worse than they were in high school, that still leaves about $125 million for taxpayers to pick up the tab on. $125 million for an inauguration celebration in the midst of the worst economic crisis that I can ever remember.

Somehow this whole thing just leaves a really, really bad taste in my mouth and whether this inauguration is “historic” or not there should have been some restraint taken when it came to spending. I get the feeling that everyone is trying to make up for past transgressions where racial equality is concerned by throwing the biggest shindig America has ever seen but one gi-normous party is NOT going to make up for the years and years of inequality no matter who attends the event.

Carole Florman, spokeswoman for the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, told the New York Daily News:
"We're always very budget conscious. But we're sending a message to the entire world about our peaceful transition of power, and you don't want it to look like a schlock affair. It needs to be appropriate to the magnitude of events that it is."
Excuse me?? Is that supposed to mean that past inaugurations were “schlock affairs”? Does that mean you can’t have a really nice inauguration for less than $160 million? Does that mean that we here in America really are all just about appearances? Or is this more of that “we’re going to treat the new First Family like Hollywood Royalty” mindset that we’ve all heard so much about? It seems to me that the real message we’re sending to the entire world is “hey, no matter how broke we are, there’s always money to spend on a good time!”

And some people wonder why other countries hate us … yeah, right …

Regardless of what it means or doesn't mean, though, I will be quite glad when all of the hoopla is said and done and our new President can finally get down to the real business at hand – running the country and maybe digging us a little bit out of the ever-widening hole that we’re in ... a hole that’s apparently NOT deep enough to cause worry when it comes to spending an AWFUL lot of money on a big ole' par-tay the likes of which Washington has never seen.

33 comments:

  1. Well, he did say he'd bring change to Washington. Apparently, that is $160M in change. That's a lot of change.

    Shameful, when you think of how many homeless and hungry and sick people there. It's absolutely shameful and downright embarrassing.

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  2. I completely agree with you. This inauguration spending is out of control. Four years ago when President Bush took the oath of office, he was criticized for spending 1/3 of this year's cost. If this is a sign of things to come, we're in deep trouble.

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  3. Anonymous8:23 AM EST

    I am also anxious for this Wednesday because Obama is going to fix everything that is wrong with America, according to the democrats. This is certainly their big moment with Obama as president and democratic control in Congress. However, I hear they are already fighting among themselves --- nothing is ever new in Washington!!

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  4. I never thought about it that way. I did not even have a time to watch much TV in last couple of weeks so I did not hear the numbers. If that's true, you are absolutely right. It's c.r.a.z.y.

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  5. Anonymous10:13 AM EST

    It is inaugural, not inaugral. Sorry I am a spelling nut. I am hopeful about the new administration, although I know it will take along time to dig out from the current mess. And I know it is too much money, but the pictures I saw yesterday from the Licoln Memorial lifted my spirits(not as much as a job for my unemployed spouse would lift them) but they made me feel good about the country.

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  6. Damn, I thought it was just me and have been silent on the matter.

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  7. BTW, when it was GWB, the press was outraged at about 40 million.

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  8. well i am all for whatever it costs to protect him because i don't want that pantload biden in the office! keep him safe america!

    we don't even have the tv on!

    smiles, bee
    xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

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  9. Anonymous - you're right and sorry about that, normally my spellchecker catches all of those spelling glitches but it obviously missed that one. I shall change it immediately.

    Oh - and $160 million spent on other things would make me feel a lot better about our country than watching a concert in front of the Lincoln Center or the other festivites. I'm not proud of this country at this point, I'm embarrassed but that's probably just me.

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  10. Anonymous11:56 AM EST

    Why should we have to pay for him to have a huge party?? He is no different than any other president elect than we have ever had. I did not vote for him because I don't believe that he is experienced enough to lead this country. Four years in office and he thinks he can run this country?? Well, he sure is starting out on the wrong foot, in my opinion. Use that money he's spending on his inauguration to keep the homeless off the streets, the hungry children in this country fed, etc. It would be much better spent than on a dang party. All this for someone whose wife, who in her own words, wasn't proud of the United States UNTIL her husband was running for president. Sounds like the country made a wise choice!

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  11. Susan, no longer anonymous12:07 PM EST

    Linda, I think it reflects well on your writng ability that I enjoy your blog so much, because based on the other comments, I am one of the few Obama supporters among your commentors. So thanks for welcoming diverse opinions and thanks for fixing the spelling.

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  12. I'm sick of hearing and talking about this. Have a terrific day Linda. Big hug. :)

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  13. Here in Canada if our Prime Minister ever spent that much money when he was sworn in, I think there would have been a lynch mob after him! lol I agree with you, it doesn't make sense that so much is being spent on the inauguration when the whole country is in so much trouble economy wise!! xoxo

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  14. I sure do want to leave a comment. When I read about the cost of this side-show, I WAS OUTRAGED!! How can anyone, in good conscience, spend that much money on a party when his country is in such economic turmoil. I will watch the actual ceremony ONLY... the rest be damned!! We need to let our congress people know how angry we are over this.

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  15. It's the same over here Linda. We're expected to struggle, tighten our belts, turn the heating down whilst the politicians are living on easy street. They wouldn't know a hard time if it bit them on the leg!

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  16. I'm right with you, Linda. Why in this time of economic problems can $160 million be justified? A good example would be to have as low key as possible. If only he realised it, Obama would be praised more for doing that.

    Is this the party that had the nerve to criticise the money spent on Sarah Palin's wardrobe?

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  17. You know I'm on the other side. Marching for change can do that to you. What you wrote is well written and certainly there is a lot of truth to it.

    But as I read your Republican mouth pieces claim that "this could be the start of trouble." I say, what?

    More trouble than a President who took over the country with a surplus and left its economy and stature in the world in ruins? I stand here to say "no".

    I agree any money spent today should be scruitinzed. But this is BIG. We've lived to see it. Can we just lighten up and let people celebrate?

    God bless President-Elect Obama. God bless America.

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  18. Hi again Susan, no longer anonymous! Thank you for your kind words regarding my writing. I think it's important to allow differing views and opinions of those who leave comments as I know that not everyone shares my view and that is as it should be. I prefer not to let people leave comments that are insulting and nasty, though - that's where I draw the line.

    And Bud - I have no problem with people celebrating, I really don't, but I do have a problem with the price tag of this particular celebration in a time when the country is really, really, really hurting.

    I know at least three people who have been laid off due to the economic crisis in this country - one of them being my ex-husband and the girls' father. My retirement plan is in shreds - along with many, many others - and most of us are barely keeping our heads above water. Given the circumstances I think they could have toned it down a bit and still had a phenomenal celebration.

    Nothing against the new First Family but something like this really is a bit of a slap in the face to those who are struggling. It's almost like saying "oh well, we don't care - let's party!"

    I really do hope that our new President can make changes that turn our country around from the downhill slide it has been in but I also know it will take time and a lot of arguing with the other powers-that-be in Washington for that to happen. He really is just one man and never has just one man run this country - our government is not designed that way. Just as one man (George W.) is not entirely responsible for the mess our country is in, just one man (Obama) will not be entirely responsible for cleaning up that mess. I hope that people remember that.

    And I really do wish our new President luck and success. He's going to need it.

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  19. The price tag on the parties is really high...it would look better if the costs were lower, although that wouldn't affect me directly.

    The peaceful change in power, the hallmark of our democracy, is itself something to behold. The world sees it as well. So it is an important day despite the other costs.

    I'll be at work, so will miss the events live, and I'll be tired and probably miss the party coverage as well!

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  20. It is certain, it is a sign of the things to come... Spend Spend Spend. We as a Nation need to get control of all this over spending. No matter what it is on...

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  21. People are going to believe whatever they choose. But for those who are interested in another perspective, you can check out these links that may correctly compare the costs of 2005 and 2009.

    http://mediamatters.org/items/200901190004?f=h_top

    http://mediamatters.org/columns/200901170003?f=h_top

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  22. Well, as another one of your Republican "mouth pieces," as Bud put it... I don't mind the spending - when we can afford it! Dems love to spend our money, don't they? When it's one of theirs, dontcha know.
    The pundants (sp?)on the "other side" last time, had a conniption fit because it was during a war and "Land 'o Goshen," it's in such poor taste to throw a big party.
    Crap! Politicians only say what is expedient for them - both sides - but the left is a little "mouthier" in their hatred. Get over the damn thing, would ya? Bush is out of office, now - shaddup!

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  23. Linda-
    We agree on most points. But I do think Geotge's lack of accountability did cause most of this. And whole I see no evidence thus far that Barack can fix this mess, let's pray he can...

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  24. Gracie-
    Who put is in this mess? I think Bush is a Republican. Hello. And after Iraq, the failing of our economy...if I've got this right...This big party will be our downfall. Geez. The "other side" is always "mouthier" and mean spirited. I am independant. I think all politicians are too mouthy... And thank God, Cheney is gone.

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  25. I am with you Linda....I will be glad when the ceremony is over...and the real work begins.

    I read the donated amount was significantly more....and the security costs to the taxpayers is well spent for the reason Miz Bee mentioned!

    I think it is important to mention that while almost 70 million Americans voted for Obama, just about 60 million did not. Personally I did not...however..

    Tomorrow Obama will by my president of my country. And I will support him as if I had campaigned for him.

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  26. brace yourself.

    This is the beginning of 4 long years.

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  27. First off, sorry if I offend anyone with this, but hey, it's my opinion...

    Naahhhh, let's not make a big deal out of this historic day. Let's just have the usual inaug-party, forget the 300+ years of slavery, forget the civil rights movement, forget Rosa Parks, forget the countless harrassment, beating, and hangings. And forget Martin Luther King Jr. even though just about everyone had a day off from work because of him on Monday. Forget the fact that hardly anyone ever thought that there would EVER be a black president. I'm sorry people, but I think more people would be upset if they didn't make a big deal out of it! Especially the minorities...

    I'm sorry, but I don't care what the price tag is, today is one of the most historic days to EVER happen in this country's history, and it needs to be special. It just sounds to me like a bunch of sore McCain voters complaining about the Democrats and "all their Democrat spending." Proof positive because 8 years of Bush was SOOOOOO much better than the 8 years of Clinton! HAHAHA, peace in the Middle East, dwindling deficit, thriving economy, booming industries, low unemployment, the list goes on. How quickly people forget, and how dare those Democrats!!!

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  28. My other brother Gary is a letter carrier in Crystal City Virginia. He's upset cause they are closing the bridges for the inauguration and he was complaining he couldn't do his job.
    "But Gary Tuesday is your day off."

    "That's beside the point."

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  29. I totally agree with you, Duchess Linda. I love the way you can express your point of view so clearly.

    They could have put on a slightly smaller party. Some of those tens of millions could definitely be better spent helping people in need. I also agree with Bee, I don't want Biden in there.

    I just want all this to be over so that our new President can get down to the enormous task facing him. I hope he succeeds.

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  30. Thank you for the links, Travis. It's so hard to believe anything the media puts out there anymore. I remember when we got the news from the likes of Harry Reasoner and Walter Cronkite and you could BELIEVE what they were telling you but now ... apparently not so much.

    Bud, you make some very valid points and I am really hoping that political discussions in the future can contain more "that's great!" versus "that's business as usual in Washington".

    Katherine, I'm with you in that I will support and stand behind our new President 100%. He has one very tough row to hoe and I hope that people aren't ultra-critical when it takes longer to hoe it than the think it should. We didn't get in this mess overnight, we won't get out of it overnight.

    Boukie, I'm not offended but here's the thing - I really, really don't want to look at this as a race issue as it has never ever been a race issue in my mind and it never should have been. It should have been about who was the best and most-qualified candidate period regardless of gender, race, or religious affiliation. I would like to think that Obama won this race not because he was a black man but because he was the man that people felt could best lead our country.

    Race will always be an issue if people keep bringing it up and don't stop looking at the color of people's skin. I don't care if our President is black, white, Hispanic, Jewish, male, or female - I just care that he or she can lead.

    And I still think that it would have spoken volumes for our new President to have said, "You know, folks, this is great but all things considered perhaps we should tone it down just a little bit." How can you tell the nation in a radio or internet address that everyone "needs to tighten their belts" and then justify this amount of money spent? You can't and that's the whole point of this post.

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  31. I totally agree with you that Race will always be an issue if we keep making it an issue.

    and to other comments...It is indeed a pretty big deal to have a black president...and we should not forget the 300 or 220 or however many years of slavery, segregation, violence and prejudice...

    HOWEVER... that does not erase the way we have treated other minorities....an example would be native american indians...NOR does it make right the previous and continued less than equal treatment of women we allow in this country.

    gently stepping down off Linda's soap box

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  32. Very well said, Linda. I agree with it all and will be so glad when things settle down.

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