AP finally gets around to criticizing Obama’s glitzy inaugural festivities

Maybe the AP’s been reading Newsbusters, the blog that was the first to notice the hypocrisy between how the AP treated Bush’s 2005 inauguration and Obama’s. AP writer Matt Apuzzo makes up for lost time in a piece published today with the headline “Obama hosting pricey party in a dicey economy” (via Wizbang):

WASHINGTON – Unemployment is up. The stock market is down. Let’s party.

The price tag for President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration gala is expected to break records, with some estimates reaching as high as $150 million. Despite the bleak economy, however, Democrats who called on President George W. Bush to be frugal four years ago are issuing no such demands now that an inaugural weekend of rock concerts and star-studded parties has begun.

Obama’s inaugural committee has raised more than $41 million to cover events ranging from a Philadelphia-to-Washington train ride to a megastar concert with Beyonce, U2 and Bruce Springsteen to 10 official inaugural balls. Add to that the massive costs of security and transportation — costs absorbed by U.S. taxpayers — and the historic inauguration will produce an equally historic bill.

In 2005, Reps. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., and Jim McDermott, D-Wash., asked 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.

Obama’s inauguration committee says it is mindful of the times and is not worried people will see the four days of festivities as excessive.

“That is probably not the way the country is going to be looking at it,” said committee spokeswoman Linda Douglass. “It is not a celebration of an election. It is a celebration of our common values.”

Douglass said the campaign sought to keep costs down by having the same decorations at each of the 10 balls, eliminating floral arrangements and negotiating prices on food.

What’s hypocrite “Baghdad Jim” McDermott’s camp have to say in response to the news of the price tag for Obama’s days-long inaugural?

“Those at the Obama administration are trying to be reflective of the climate,” McDermott’s spokesman, Mike DeCeasar, said Saturday.


The only thing more pathetic than McDermott’s hypocrisy is the fact that so many Obama worshippers who continue to descend on the Capitol in advance of PEBO’s inauguration are the same types who slammed John McCain as an out-of-touch rich guy living off his wife’s mega-wealth, so out of touch that he couldn’t remember how many houses they owned, and also criticizing Gov. Palin for spending decisions on her’s and her family’s wardrobes that she did not make, while at the same they painted Barack Obama as a humble guy who “gets the common man.” How many of these same people (including those in the mainstream press) would be looking the other way if it had been McCain/Palin holding this big, expensive Lincolnesque inaugural ceremony in the middle of this bleak economy?

The numbers would be in the single digits, I suspect.

Related: The Donors Who Gave Big, and Often – Obama’s $100,000-Plus Backers Were Able to Contribute to Several Entities

So much for that “responsible only to the people” garbage we heard from him all through the campaign, in spite of hard facts that indicated otherwise.

Cross-posted to Right Wing News, where I am helping guestblog for John Hawkins on Sundays.

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