Things seen and unseen

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How a picture is framed largely determines how it’s viewed. 

The media manipulate that, to the degree we buy into their picture.

The Inauguration of Barack Obama has been going on for three days now. It finally comes to its peak and culmination Tuesday. Among all the other firsts and records being set at this time, apparently one of them is that at this point….there is no such things a excess and hyperbole. Enough is never enough. It’s like moving the goal posts.

Just one aspect of this (never mind the media special pre-emption coverage), is its cost. In a time of economic crisis.

The total cost of the inauguration of the 44th President of the United States will likely top $150 million by the time the galas and streamers and porta-pots are all cleaned up.

The reason it’s hard to know how much this – or any of the other 55 presidential inaugurals – costs is that there’s no one entity overseeing all of the related events. The $150 million is an estimate, and it is compiled from other estimates, so the figure is fluid.

So it could be higher.

A Google search turned up a Washington Examiner story called “Obama inauguration cost” with this little teaster from the article…

OK, step two would be to consider the going rate for these affairs – what did George W. Bush’s second inauguration cost, for instance?

But oddly, the link was broken by the time I clicked on it.

Okay, here’s an answer.

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.

Much about the incoming president has been over the top, even a few tv analysts were willing to say today. Some dared use the word “arrogance”, reluctantly, in his decisions to go with the train trip Saturday to mirror Lincoln’s, and to be sworn in on Lincoln’s Bible, just to name two.

Everyone wants to be broadminded and reflect goodwill right now. At least most or many people do. And frankly we want America to be at her best right now for this momentous occasion of the transition of power from president to president.

But the office of the presidency itself deserves honor and dignity and grace. No way, for his detractors. To the very end of the Bush administration, the late night comedians trashed George W. Bush, not able to rise above the temptation to take one last shot.

If we’re about to show what a nation of goodwill and harmony and unity we are, it doesn’t happen overnight. As the power shifts, recognize what good George W. Bush did with it, while it was in his hands.

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