In 2005, the Associated Press (AP), as well as many other mainstream media outlets, reported that President Bush's inauguration party, which cost $42.3 million as being excessive and in poor taste. To add further perspective, the Partying President, Bill Clinton, only spent $33 million in 1992.
Prior to the last inauguration in 2005, following the 2004 victory of G.W. Bush, the media was saying the money could be better spent on armoring Humvees in Iraq, helping victims of the tsunami, or paying down the deficit. Will Lester, the AP writer on the 2005 article asked, "The questions have come from Bush supporters and opponents: Do we need to spend this money on what seems so extravagant?"
Presently, unlike the other during two inaugural examples, we are fighting a war on terrorism in two countries, our financial system is on shaky ground, and the unemployment rate is increasing faster than you can say, "Big Government." The deficit is projected to be over $1 trillion (that's with a "T") and that is before PE Obama's massive "stimulus" plan. One would think that it would be considered inappropriate to hold such a extravagant, over-the-top event when so many people are in distress. After all, what kind of message is this sending to the non-attending citizens who can't afford the reported $10,000 tickets?
Well, apparently, $42 million for George W. Bush was excessive for the AP, but $150 million for Barack Obama is applauded. On Tuesday, January 13th, they ran an article entitled, "For Inaugural Balls, Go For Glitz, Forget Economy," which actually attempted to make a case for the largest amount ever spent on a inaugural party--by far! I'm no bean-counter, but I'd have to think that $150 million would even pay down more national debt than $42 million would, and probably buy more Humvees.
A spokeswoman for the joint congressional committee on inaugural ceremonies, Carole Florman, said: "We are always very budget conscious. But we are sending a message to the entire world about our peaceful transition of power, and you do not want it to look like a schlock affair. It needs to be appropriate to the magnitude of events that it is."
They should be able to pull that off for $150 million. That is, if they're "budget conscious." I don't happen to know (or really care all that much) what is considered excessive for an inauguration for the President. What bothers me is another example of the two-face, double-standards, and lack of objectivity of the mainstream media that seems to have one set of rules for conservative politicians and another one for liberal ones.