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May 22, 2010

Great party, Mr. President. Oh, and you're welcome.

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After President George W. Bush won a second term, the press sulked in defeat. To assuage their disappointment, they tried to find any excuse to snipe at the re-elected president and eagerly seized on the price tag of the inauguration. Take it away, Will Lester:

President Bush’s second inauguration will cost tens of millions of dollars — $40 million alone in private donations for the balls, parade and other invitation-only parties. With that kind of money, what could you buy?

■ 200 armored Humvees with the best armor for troops in Iraq.

■ Vaccinations and preventive health care for 22 million children in regions devastated by the tsunami.

■ A down payment on the nation’s deficit, which hit a record-breaking $412 billion last year....

The questions have come from Bush supporters and opponents: Do we need to spend this money on what seems so extravagant?

Now fast-forward a few years. The new president, Barack Obama, is welcoming the president of Mexico to the United States. A state dinner should be a formal, celebratory affair. But, given the recession, should it be an extravagant one?
Of course state dinners are supposed to be special. But where the Obama/Calderon affair really hit the heights was in the festivities after the dinner, which took place in a huge tent — the word “tent” doesn’t quite do it justice — set up on the South lawn. As the AP reported:

"R&B diva Beyonce topped the entertainment bill for the dinner, taking place in the East Room of the White House, with the action later moving to a luxury marquee on the South Lawn of the presidential mansion. The marquee, the size of two-thirds of a football field, decked out in elaborate black decor and nightclub-style lighting, featured a stage and baskets of flowers and models of Monarch butterflies dangling from the ceiling."

Please note the descriptive and decidedly non-judgmental tone the Associated Press takes in reporting on the Obama state dinner/nightclub party.

Despite what the Obama administration may claim, this country is in the midst or tail-end of a rather severe recession. There are a lot of people out of work who have to deny themselves much smaller luxuries than the Obamas gave themselves a few evenings ago. Those of us who are employed see a president who has already spent too much for policy spending only for his own pleasure, and we know who is ultimately paying for his parties. Obama doesn't seem to realize, or more likely care, that our hard work pays for his ability to eat Wagyu beef and set up a nightclub on the White House lawn.

The extravagance of the Obamas is bad, but what's almost worse is the double standards of a press corps who only seem capable of outrage when a Republican president is in office. Their unwillingness to highlight or criticize the Obamas for behavior that horrified them when Bush was in office is not surprising, but it is pathetic and infuriating.

(h/t: Hot Air)

Update - Great point by Decaf in the comments: you paid for a party that celebrated the visit of a foreign leader who insulted one of our states in front of our Congress.


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posted by Slublog at 08:24 PM

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