I've lost count of how many times I've heard Old Media bemoaning the cost of President Bush's second inauguration. Pompous Pete Jennings made a point of calling the festivities "expensive" on ABC News last night.
Can anyone tell me the last time we had a cheap inauguration? Does anyone recall a previous president doling out box lunches to his inaugural guests, telling them to grab a soda pop and a seat on a picnic table bench? The problem today is, this was George W. Bush's inauguration, and as anyone in Old Media will tell you, everything the president does is one of three things:
1) just plain wrong, 2) badly wrong, or 3) terribly wrong.
Inauguration Day is an American tradition dating back two centuries. It's always been a celebration of our democratic process, something worth lavishing some money on in the opinion of the vast majority of Americans. Even during the Great Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt enjoyed his Inauguration Day festivities. I've never heard so much whining about the costs until now. OK, so Bill Clinton's $33 million party was less than the estimated $40 million for George W. Bush. Nobody in Mainstream Media likes to mention that the cost of all the parties is privately funded by donors and the Republican party. Neither do they care to mention that Clinton spent more than twice that amount on his joy trips to China and Vietnam. And those were only two of Clinton's "expensive" globe-trotting jaunts.
I'm weary of all the fingers constantly pointing blame at our president, even on a time-honored day intended to be full of joy and hope for him and for our nation. Personally, I don't care how much the privately-funded parties cost--he was entitled to them, and I'm glad he was able to enjoy them.
One other thing, Old Media. Despite your fascination with the protestors, to the detriment of your coverage of the president's inaugural address, that was one terrific speech. The time may soon come when you'll wish you had paid it more attention. According to the plummeting network television ratings, your own exclusive "Day of Fire" is fast approaching.