Barack Obama thinks he’s worth $160 million. That’s how much he’s spending on his inauguration. To put this number in perspective, it’s 4 times the amount spent on President Bush’s 2004 inauguration. Granted, Bush’s numbers don’t include money spent on security, but his security certainly wouldn’t have come close to what Obama is spending since he has opened up the National Mall to the public. From the Guardian:
President Barack Obama’s inauguration next week is set to be the most expensive ever, predicted to reach over $150m (£102m). This dwarfs the $42.3m spent on George Bush’s inauguration in 2005 and the $33m spent on Bill Clinton’s in 1993.
Part of the spending includes emergency funding announced by the White House on Tuesday to help with the soaring costs. Most of this new federal funding will be to deal with the huge influx of people, estimated 1.5 million to 2 million.
A White House statement said that President Bush “declared an emergency exists in the District of Columbia”.
If there is snow, the costs will grow higher. The long-term forecast suggests there is a chance of snow on Sunday and again on the day of inauguration, on Tuesday.
And take a look at the explanation for this massive amount of spending:
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.”
Every presidential inauguration is an event of great magnitude because it celebrates the peaceful transition of power. Obama’s inauguration is not any different in that regard. Carole Florman is simply justifying this outrageous amount of money because Obama is her guy and she is excited that her guy has won. In her mind and the minds of other Democrats, spending this kind of money is necessary. Of course, if president Bush had spent this kind of money, she and Senate and House Democrats would have issued press releases to the entire world expressing outrage that Bush was spending taxpayer money on his silly inauguration that they were certain no one of any consequence really cared about.
So, after $160 million, will the Obamaphiles with disabilities have access? Not so much. Ms. Florman thinks it would be best if those with disabilities witnessed this very non-schlocky affair at home on television. So to all those with disabilities: no live inauguration for you!
Barack Obama is the $160 million man. And he’s not even bionic.
Update: Old Glory has been redesigned in Obama’s likeness as well.
It’s Obama’s world. We just live in it.
Update II: Let’s flashback to January 2005 and take a look at what the folks in Democrats said about President Bush spending $43 million on his second inaugural.
From the The New York Times
ENJOY the party!” a protestor shouted in cheerful greeting to Republicans arriving at a pre-inaugural party here. “People are dying in Iraq. Enjoy the champagne!”
To many Democrats, images of Republicans in sequined gowns and designer tuxedos nibbling roast quail and twirling the Texas two-step in last week’s $40 million-plus inaugural extravaganza seemed inappropriate, unseemly, even unpatriotic, when American soldiers are dying in Iraq.
“Precedent suggests that inaugural festivities should be muted – if not cancelled – in wartime,” Representative Anthony Weiner, a Democrat from New York, chided in a letter to President Bush. Citing Franklin D. Roosevelt’s austere fourth inaugural in 1945, Mr. Weiner suggested that the money would have been better spent on armored Humvees and pay bonuses for the troops.
Oh, really, Congressman Weiner? Inaugurations during war time should be muted if not canceled? Well, sir, we still have the same wars going on right now in both Iraq and Afghanistan and on top of that countless number of Americans have been thrown out of work due to the recession we’re now facing and Barack Obama is throwing an uber-extravagant $160 million inauguration. Yet, I haven’t heard a peep from you. How come?
For more examples of the Democrats’ whining about President Bush’s paltry $43 million inauguration back in 2005, head on over to Sierra’s place. She’s got a lot more.