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.

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....