Obama’s huge inauguration party

19 01 2009

I haven’t been writing about politics lately, and I’ve been enjoying the break from it.  But I just read something that I want to share.  I’ll get my rant on (in condensed form, hopefully), and you can share your rantings on it also.

President-elect Barack Obama is having a crazy-huge inauguration party.  The U.S. federal government budgeted $49 million for it, but that’s not gonna be anywhere near enough:

President Barack Obama’s inauguration next week is set to be the most expensive ever, predicted to reach over $150M. This dwarfs the $42.3M spent on George Bush’s inauguration in 2005 and the $33M spent on Bill Clinton’s in 1993.

Carole Florman, spokeswoman for the joint congressional committee on inaugural ceremonies, told the New York Daily News, which estimated the cost at $160M: “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.”

Did she say they’re “budget conscious” while going some $100 million over budget???  That sure seems like a contradiction of terms to me…

Do you think the news sources will be critical?  Should they?  Let’s look at what they said about the last inauguration with George W. Bush.  In 2005, an AP article said, “The questions have come from Bush supporters and opponents: Do we need to spend this money on what seems so extravagant?”  Fair enough, I think.  To me, $40 million plus is a LOT for an inauguration party / ceremony.  So surely the press will complain about Obama’s estimated $150 million ceremony, right?  An AP article this week said, “For inaugural balls, go for glitz, forget economy.”  Never mind that the economy is in even worse shape now, and yet they’re exceeding the inauguration budget by some $100 million.

In 2005 a couple of liberal Democrats suggested that Bush should serve cold chicken salad and pound cake instead of having a big party, and they listed ways the money could be better spent to help the military and our economy.  Couldn’t $150 million have an even bigger impact?  (You can read more on that here.)

Obama’s inauguration committee says it is mindful of the times and isn’t worried that people will see the festivities as excessive.  The spokesperson for them, Linda Douglass, said, “That is probably not the way the country is going to be looking at it.  It is not a celebration of an election.  It is a celebration of our common values.”  So to celebrate “common values”, we have a $150M party?  I must not be part of that group, because that’s nowhere near common for me!  Another spokesman, Mike DeCeasar, said, “Those at the Obama administration are trying to be reflective of the climate.”  Really?  What climate?  Has anyone informed them that our economy is about to go under?

The Presidential inauguration party wouldn’t be complete without performances by Sheryl Crow, Stevie Wonder, Garth Brooks, Denzel Washington, Queen Latifah, Miley Cyrus, the Jonas Brothers, Beyonce, U2, and Bruce Springsteen, among others.  There will also be 10 stadium-sized screens, so people can see what’s going on.  That’s some party!

If you can’t tell, my opinion is that this is very excessive, and the money could most certainly be put to better use.  I know, it’s a historic election, and Obama is a celebrity now (try to deny it), and so it’s a big event.  But why can’t they have a super-huge party with the budgeted $49M?  I can envision an awesome party with that budget!

BTW, the government is trying to save money in one area: the amount of portable toilets they are renting.  There are laws governing how many you must have, but the government is estimating the crowd size at 1.5 million instead of 4 million (like most guess), so they can save some money.  So they aren’t being totally wasteful… although, there may be quite the line at the port-o-potties…

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2 responses

29 01 2009
justin

I was at the Western Ball, and I don’t know where the money went because the food was a joke. A couple bowls of pretzels and potato chips!

J-Lo was there though…she probably cost a pretty penny…lol

30 01 2009
Beppo

I also wondered where all the money went. I wasn’t there, but just reading about it, I don’t know how they spent that much money.

On my other blog, I explored just how much could be done with that much money. One could throw a crazy-huge party, and yet have a lot to show for it afterward.

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